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16lb turkey

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I found a 16lb turkey in the freezer yesterday so I'm going to smoke it this weekend. I've never done a whole turkey, only turkey breast. I remember something about doing ones this big at a higher temp so it doesnt stay in the danger zone too long?? So what is a good temp, 325? 350? I dont think I'll brine it since I dont have anything big enough to put it in and still get it in the fridge, so I thought I'd try doing it beer can style. Any tips on that?
post #2 of 13
You can do a big bird like that still at the normal temps of around 265 or so. If you want to brine it set it in a cooler lined with a plastic bag and toss in some ice, it'll be fine as long as you have ice cubes in the brine.

As for doing it beer can style, a turkey canon might be the way to go.
post #3 of 13
I pop mine up a bit around 300. Frozen, I brine it with a temp probe in the bucket (home depot). Once it drops I then add ice, but the frozen bird keeps in cool enough as it thaws.

It then gets my butter/cheesecloth wrap after a rub-down then in the smoker.
post #4 of 13
Use an ice chest to brine, do not fool around with keeping the water tepid to make sure it will thaw, thaw first and then brine, or at least get it to about 75% thawed. When you put the bird in the brine, it should be very icy water. I use a trash compactor bag and put the turkey and icy brine in that before putting in the ice chest, this way if you Ice chest is big you can put something along side the bagged turkey to keep it submersed. Once you have the bird submersed use a tie and close the bag. Now put ice around and over the bag. Close the lid, it should keep at the right temp, as long as you keep the ice chest away from any heat source, consider covering it. Brine for 24 hrs min. You should check the water temp in the bag a couple times during the brine. If you need to add ice , do not add ice to the water in the bag (that will dilute the solution), drain the water around the bag and add ice.
post #5 of 13
Yep brine that baby up and throw it on the smoker. I alway brine mine in a 5 gallon bucket and just set it out in the garage if it is cool enough (depending on the time of year) if its summer then I just clear a spot in the fridge and put the 5 gallon bucket with lid in there for the night. Good luck with the smoke. I usually smoke mine around 275 depending on the size if its bigger then I will kick it up higher to make sure I get out of the danger zone in 4 hours.
post #6 of 13
twistertail-Folks gave you some good tips on using a cooler and a plastic bag to brine your bird. Brining is a must do when I do turkeys.

Turkeys don't really benefit from the "low and slow" so I bump my smoker up to about 325°F. Plus the higher temps will crisp up the skin better.

On turkeys larger than 12 lbs, I spatchcock them-I find that they cook just a bit quicker that way.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips guys. I'll brine overnight on Friday and it'll go in the smoker Saturday morning. One more question, I'm using a GOSM so I dont have enough room to spatchcock and lay flat. Should I leave it whole and try to sit on my beer can cooker, or maybe try to cut the whole thing in half and lay a half flat on 2 seperate racks?
post #8 of 13
I've had to cut them in half to fit my Big Block GOSM. The Big Block rack will hold a spatchcocked turkey, but it's a tight fit. I place each half on it's own rack and whenever I need to add wood chunks to the pan, I switch the rack position just to make sure one half doen't cook faster than the other.
post #9 of 13
In my GOSM I just leave them whole and kick the heat up into the 325-350 area
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
My gosm is the small one so it might be a tight fit even if i cut it in half. I'm not sure what the size of the rack is, I'll have to take a look at things tonight.
post #11 of 13
You can try cutting it differently too:

Leep frog tutorial:

Mine turkey smoke:

I did this on a 16 lb turkey last year worked great and helped get an even cook on white and dark meat, as well as shaved off some time I think.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
thanks a lot guys, you've all given me some good ideas. So right now here is the plan. I'll try that leap frog method and then cut it in half, should be able to get the breast on one rack and the legs on another rack. I do have one question though, should I cut it tonight before I brine, or brine it whole then cut it tomorrow before I put it in the smoker?
post #13 of 13
I did the leap frog cut and then into the brine. I figured more surface area = getter brine time. Plus its easier to get in and out of a container, or put the two pieces into 2 different containers.
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