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Question about smoking a 20 lb turkey

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I have a 20 pound turkey that I wanted to smoke next week. I began reading on here , looking for an estimated time to expect. That is when I started seeing the warnings about the 40-140 in 4 hours danger zone. I read so many threads about this that I forgot why I started searching to begin with. It appears 50/50 opinion about the "danger zone" , some say they have been smoking 20 pound birds for 30 years and never had an issue and others say they got sick after one attempt.

 

The settings on my MES40 will go up to 275 , so I'm thinking that if I set it at 275 it , might reach 265 or 270.....maybe. In the end I will smoke it until it reaches the desired temp but can someone please tell me how long to expect it to get to temp using 275 as my goal box temp for a 20 pound bird?

 

I might try spatchcocking for the first time , so what temps and time should I set as my goal if I try it this way as well? Either way I pick to do it , the turkey will be brine the day before.

 

Thanks for the input

Rick

post #2 of 4

Spatchcock or halving is the safest way to go, with birds over 16lbs, that will be smoked at temps under 300-325 as in an electric smoker. Most folks don't worry about the Norman Rockwell show at the table other than Thanksgiving, so probably no reason not to cut the bird. The issue is most store bout birds are enhanced, injected, at the processor. This can introduce bacteria to the meat. At lower temps large whole birds can take a long time, 5+ hours, to get above at IT of 140, risking bacteria producing toxins that can make you sick. You will probably be fine smoking at 275 but if it is not necessary, for whatever reason, to smoke a whole bird, why take a chance that you may have an issue?...JJ

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

Spatchcock or halving is the safest way to go, with birds over 16lbs, that will be smoked at temps under 300-325 as in an electric smoker. Most folks don't worry about the Norman Rockwell show at the table other than Thanksgiving, so probably no reason not to cut the bird. The issue is most store bout birds are enhanced, injected, at the processor. This can introduce bacteria to the meat. At lower temps large whole birds can take a long time, 5+ hours, to get above at IT of 140, risking bacteria producing toxins that can make you sick. You will probably be fine smoking at 275 but if it is not necessary, for whatever reason, to smoke a whole bird, why take a chance that you may have an issue?...JJ


Chef JJ,

 

I'm going to spatchcock it then just to be safe. Knowing that what is a good temp and estimated time to smoke it then? Would I be OK by smoking it around 245 250 and if so for how long?

 

Thanks for you help, its much appreciated.

Rick

post #4 of 4

At that temp you can figure about 20 minutes a pound based on a 10 pound bird. The skin will not get crisp. If you plan on eating it, pull the bird when the breast reaches 145° and toss the bird in a 425 Oven until the IT is 165 and the skin crisps...JJ

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