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Not my first Turkey smoke...but did I mess up on this one?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Howdy all. Been a long time lurker. You all have helped me since I got my first smoker, and through till now (custom built offset smoker) - you just don't realise how much you have helped. I know I should have started off it the Roll Call section, and I promise I will. However I think I have a problem that I need some help/info on.

I've done one turkey in the past on my Char-griller, and it turned out wonderfully. While I was at Wal-Mart the other day, I noticed they had turkeys on sale for .60/lb. So I snagged the 2 biggest ones they had. I had forgotten that for smoking, ~10lb is ideal. I ended up getting a 17lber and a 21lber

Of course I am supposed to be smoking one of these birds tomorrow (dry run on my new smoker), and the other for on turkey day. Is it possible to split the birds? I understand why the larger ones aren't ideal (temp danzer zone), but are good results achievable with splitting the bird? Any ideas on time/temp variations if you split it?

Thanks to everyone that I've stole ideas from so far.....errr...I mean thanks for the reference material. ;)

Here's a pic of the smoker I build. 48" long, 20" wide. Weights what seems like a frickin ton!
post #2 of 15
I don't see why you can't do the whole turkey as is. It may take longer due to the size/weight but should be fine. As far as the temp. rules I believe the intact muscle rule would apply here.

This is for beef.
The "intact muscle" rule for commercial USDA products allows an intact muscle to be cooked to rare using low temp. Provided it has not been punctured.

(Unpunctured, intact muscle need only have the outside 0.5 inch pass through 140 degrees within 4 hours. Something easily done at temps of 200 F or more).

Don't insert a probe for a couple of hours until the turkey has had a chance to reach the 140 degrees on the outside 1/2 inch.
I would think the same rule applies for Turkey except you need to fully cook the bird to I believe 165 degrees internal temp.
Do not cook the bird rare!!!!! It must be fully cooked!!!!

Good luck with the smoke.......gobble gobble.....PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #3 of 15
Personally, I like to spatchcock birds if they will fit on the smoker. Just cut out the backbone, break the sternum until, and apply pressure until the bird lays flat. It will cook a whole lot more even and then the size won't be an issue. I don't usually completely debone them at this point, but I at least cut out the ribs and any other small bone that I can easily remove.
post #4 of 15
If you smoke at 300' or higher you shouldn't have a problem. You can always lower your temps after you hit 140'.

I don't like cutting them in half, it gives it a place to lose juices. I did one and it was dry.

Good luck whatever you do.
post #5 of 15
Its not recommended to smoke over a 12 lb bird. That being said I have smoked larger birds but I smoke them at 325-350. In my opinion poultry is different than beef and pork and the high temps work well with it. You may not get as much smoke flavor but its still there and the skin comes out crisp and edible.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the quick replies. I think I will just smoke it with out splitting it. I've got mesquite, apple, pecan and cherry. How does apple and cherry mix sound? 2:1 apple to cherry.

post #7 of 15
I would recommend the higher temps or spatchcock the birds. Apple or cherry or any mix of the two are very good in my opinion.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
The first one I did, I don't remember how much it weighed, but I did it around 325 and it didn't take very long. I know it didn't take 30min/lb. Maybe 3-4hrs. Is the 30min/lb for lower temps?
post #9 of 15
Always to temp and not time but smoking at about 225-240 it would normally take about 30-40 minutes per lb of course the higher temps would be faster but I don't have the info on how long it usually takes mine with me right now
post #10 of 15
Spatchcock or
Leaping Frog:

I did the leaping frog on a 16-17lb bird and it worked great.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Spatchcock or Leaping Frog info on 'smoking meats forum'?!?! LOL Something dirty about all of this. Never realized I was going to get a karma sutra lesson. :)
post #12 of 15
Just like when my wife was into yoga. I told her, "I don't know what the hell you ladies are learning in there - but please let me know if you want to practice this position they call, "downward facing dog".

HAHA! She takes it in good spirit cuz she's always known I'm a perv. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif

OK - back to the smoke...

I did a 15 pounder last month, and it came out great. I was up to 140° in just over 2.5 hours.

Let me tell you though, it was hard keeping my 24 x 36" offset at 320° for the first 90 minutes!

Here are the notes from that day:

320° for 90 min.
275 for 90 min.
250 until internal temp hits 160 (ended up being another 30 - 40 min. I think.
post #13 of 15
Like piney said you should not smoke but it doesn't mean you cann't but it could turn out alittle drier then if it were a smaller bird. So I would just maybe put lay some bacon over the bird and let it smoke away. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #14 of 15
Gonna smoke a bird myself this T-Bird day. Have a ? Breast side up or down or drunken turkey style? Whats the favorite?
post #15 of 15
This shoul help you a bit as far as getting the bird to cook a little faster.
You should be able to fit it on a chargriller no prob.
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