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Suggestions for a BIG turkey

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I have been a looooong time reader of this forum and have gotten many great tips from you guys. I could use some suggestions and ideas for a turkey smoke I want to do on Sunday.

I picked a monster 23lb bird just after Thanksgiving at $.40/lb (which I was pretty jacked up about). I do turkeys all the time but mostly in the 14/15lb range...never this big. What I'm mostly concerned with is getting out of the danger zone within the 4 hour time frame. So here's what I'm thinking....

I've got a Browning Smoke Vault and can get it to hold at 350 degrees...which is what I'm thinking I'll have to do (basically cooking it at oven temps). What I'm not sure about is how to prep this birdy. I have a beer can chicken stand that has an attachment for a turkey, I can smoke it straight on the rack, or I can even debone this guy and lay it flat so it'll hopefully cook through even. I typically brine my birds but I can also inject as well.

So that's what I'm rolling with.....what do you guys think?

Oh and I'll make sure to throw some qview your way also.
post #2 of 14
I'd vote for laying it flat. That'll help you get her up to temp quicker.
post #3 of 14
I got to go with the Dude on this one. Your bird is big, if it fits laying flat then I'd say try that.

To me it's either brine or inject, I wouldn't be much into doing both. I still like turkey the way it's suppose to taste.

Inject might tend to extend your internal cook time, brine won't.
post #4 of 14
If you can hold 350* you would be close on the safety range if your therms are accurate, with a sesame street bird I'd spatchcock it and not worry myself. You could get some additional seasonings and flavors into the meat. I did a 20# pounder myself last year and will spatchcock my bird this year myself. UPDATE>>> I found my X-TRA large up the yahoo beer can smoker thing. icon_smile.gif
post #5 of 14
I second this suggestion. I spatch them all these days; no matter the size. That way if the breast comes to temp before the dark meat, snip the skin, pull the breast and wrap it with foil. Keep everhting else on the heat until they are done. It's the only way to fly.
post #6 of 14
We get fresh birds every Thanksgiving. I order two, one whole and one that they cut in half for me...reason being is they are 25+ lb birds. cut in half and lay down on cut side is the size of a normal bird! It's also easier for brining and last time I did two different flavorings for each half.
post #7 of 14
Yea like they all have said. Cut the bird either in half completely or just spatchcocked it by cutting the bottom half out and laying the bird flat. It would be hard to get it to temp fast enough so you don't have to bacteria growing. Remember the 40 to 140 in 4 hours thingy.
post #8 of 14
Those are oven temps so I would do it like I do in the oven. Cut out the backbone, brine overnight, rinse, dry, rub and cook ....brush with butter last hour or so so that the skin gets crispy.

Will be waiting for the pics.

Mine look like this when done inside...

post #9 of 14
I smoked a 17-lb turkey last spring without sectioning it by doing it beer can style. Here's the link to how I did it. You try it . . . worked great for me.

post #10 of 14
Never spatchcocked a bird myself so i can't comment on how well they turn out BUT if you can hold oven type temps in your smoker then if you did decide to keep it whole it should be perfectly fine and get through the danger zone in an acceptable amount of time.
post #11 of 14
I agree and was thinking about why I butterfly or spatchcock and it is to keep the bird at one height so breast and legs/thighs get done at same time. I wonder id in the smoker with more even heat if this will still apply?
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm leaning towards laying it flat but I might just go and debone the whole thing. I'm trying to avoid drying out the breast waiting for the thighs to get done. Do you think laying it skin side down would make a difference? Any ideas on roughly how long of a smoke this would be?
post #13 of 14
Personally I would spatchcock it brine it and smoke it at 300-325 and I would guess it would take about 4-5 hours but use a thermo to know for sure when its done
post #14 of 14
Brine it and keep it skin side up, I think that the thighs might be done first. Get yourself a cooking therm, nothing wrong with the analog ones.
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