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Should I Spatchcocked Turkey or not Spatchcocked and cooking temp.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm new to the site and new to smoking. Tomorrow I am going to smoke my first turkey.i have a master built 30" gas vertical smoker. I was originally going to smoke it at 275 but after reading and searching through This site, I saw Spatchcocked and thought that looks like it would smoke / cook more evenly.

With my 30" and a 20 lb turkey, would I be better off leaving it whole or Spatchcocked? Would it even fit if I Spatchcocked? If not, can I just finish splitting it and put it on 2 different racks? Or just leave it whole?

Also with cooking temperature, I have read people doing from 225 and then crisp it in the oven on down to 300 - 325 so the skin is crispy. What would give me the best results with this 20lb. Bird?

Some people also say brine it and some say not to. Is there a huge Difference since most frozen turkey are brined in the package?

Is dry smoking better vs water / juice in the pan?

Lastly, when I have oven roasted turkey, I put olive oil and butter on the skin for crispness and taste but, reading here it seems people just leave it dry? What is the better way?

Thanks everyone. I have a lot to learn!
post #2 of 11
I would spatchcock the bird for a more even cook. I put butter on the skin and under the skin. I use Jeff's rub and smoke at 300* or higher if I can push it. Jeff has a great buttermilk brine for turkeys. Look it up in the newsletter archives.
post #3 of 11

I doubt a 20lb bird would fit in the MES if spatchcocked...too wide. That's a whole lotta bird for a small grate space. You may as well spatch it out and cut the dark meat away and smoke those on separate grates.

 

Cook to a minimum of 165* IT, but I cook the dark meat to 170*+ for less pink around the bones, and 168-170* in the breasts...same reason.

 

 

Eric

post #4 of 11

Some people also say brine it and some say not to. Is there a huge Difference since most frozen turkey are brined in the package?

 

I brine turkeys that are 100% natural.  If it has any solution already included, I wouldn't brine it.  I season the turkey inside and out, with my dry spices and smoke at 300.  The skin isn't really crispy, but it's good.  I take the thighs to 170 and the breast to 165.  

 

Mike

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for the replies. I picked up a wireless thermometer that has a rack and food probe. I am going to try apple with it. I will look up Jeffs rub. I never thought to use butter or rub under the skin. The more I think about it the more it makes sense!
post #6 of 11

Let us know how ti turns out!

 

Al

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erniejade View Post

Hello, I'm new to the site and new to smoking. Tomorrow I am going to smoke my first turkey.i have a master built 30" gas vertical smoker. I was originally going to smoke it at 275 but after reading and searching through This site, I saw Spatchcocked and thought that looks like it would smoke / cook more evenly.
 

 

Even if you don't spatchcock it, so long as you open up the cavity and the neck to allow the heat to pass through it will cook evenly whole. Don't be tempted to stuff it with anything - except maybe a cut lemon/lime or an onion as you need to get the heat flowing freely through the cavity of the bird.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erniejade View Post

Also with cooking temperature, I have read people doing from 225 and then crisp it in the oven on down to 300 - 325 so the skin is crispy. What would give me the best results with this 20lb. Bird?
 

 

I find that poultry cooks better slightly hotter. I go to 300 F (150 C) and take it up to 165 - 170 F - (75-77 C). With large birds it is often best to cook the legs separately as they will cook at different rates to the breast meat. Yes you will need to crisp up the skin afterwards.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erniejade View Post

Some people also say brine it and some say not to. Is there a huge Difference since most frozen turkey are brined in the package?

Is dry smoking better vs water / juice in the pan?
 

 

I prefer not to brine but it is personal preference. If you are considering brining then Mike is right - do not brine a pre-processed bird.

 

You will not notice a great deal of difference in the meat whether you use the water pan or not. The water pan does help to smooth the temperature in the cooking chamber though.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erniejade View Post

Lastly, when I have oven roasted turkey, I put olive oil and butter on the skin for crispness and taste but, reading here it seems people just leave it dry? What is the better way?
 

 

If you want to add flavours then oil and butter the skin as you would do in the oven. You can even separate the skin from the meat with your fingers and add flavoured butter underneath. Oiling and salting the skin before will help at the crisping stage.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
I removed the legs as suggested. When I put it in, the temp was 325. Now the temp is at 234. How long after opening the door does it take the inside to get back up to temperature? It's been 20 minutes. I opened up the lower vent but no change. I turned up the gas and still no change. How to I get this master built hotter?
post #9 of 11
Are you using the stock therm? Or a remote therm
For pit temp?

Propane smokers usually recover pretty fast. With that said a large amount of cold meat can take a while to come back up.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wireless for the temp. Took the front off cleaned the tube and all is back up and hot again.

Next dumb question. This is my second time smoking. The smoker layed dormant for not even a month. Spider web in the tube caused it. Not a big one but just enough. Anyway to clean it without having to take the front plate off everytime? What do others do to keep them from forming?
post #11 of 11

If critters are a problem in your area just wrap the gas venturi intake with a small piece of foil. You'll know when you light it up the next time if you forgot to take the foil off...ask me how I know that...nice BIG amber, sooty flame. It keeps them out if wrapped tight enough.

 

 

Eric

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