First time smoking a stuffed turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jesse624, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. I am a new member, and have noticed many members in the forum advised against smoking a stuffed turkey.  I had cooked stuffed turkeys on my Weber kettle for many years now, with turkeys weighing as much as 22#, and never had any problems with the stuffing not getting cooked in a timely manner, to avoid salmanila problems.  However, I was somewhat concerned about smoking the stuffed bird in a smoker for a more extended cooking time in my new Weber smoker.  I believe the rule of thumb was to allow roughly 30 minutes per lb of bird, while maintaining 250 F.

    I decided to raise the cooking temp. up to 300-320 F, and I smoked a 18 1/2 lb stuffed turkey in a little under 5 hrs.  The turkey was brined, and it turned out be the best smoked turkey I've ever had.  The first 2 hrs I had the turkey with the breast meat down in a rack, then turned it over so the breast meat was on top for the next 3 hours, at which time I saw the bird was approaching 175 F internal temp.  I removed the bird and wrapped it in foil till we ate it an hour and a half later.  The bird cooked much faster than I expected. 

    So I do recommed stuffing the bird, even if it is going to be cooked in a smoker.  Even all my in-laws and out-laws at our Thanksgiving dinner gave praise on how tastey and juicey the turkey & dressing turned out, and requested any future turkeys to be prepared the same way.  I quote, "Don't change a thing". 

    Just thought I would pass it along.
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    As long as you get it thru the danger zone in time stuffing it is great! Some of the guys have smokers that won't run at the higher temps you were running at & can't get a bird that big thru the danger zone quickly enough. You gotta love a WSM!
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Jesse, Welcome to the SMF Family....Congratulations on a successful smoke....For the benefit of our members I have to say, While Roasting/Smoking Stuffed Birds is frequent...It requires extra effort to make sure you are very careful to avoid Bacterial Growth...Thoroughly Wash the Bird, and once stuffed get into the heat immediately...Smoke or Roast at 325*F, to an Internal Temp of 165*F in the Center of the Stuffing!...The Breast will be higher and not the main concern here... Unless Cure is used in the Brine, Low and Slow is not a good idea...JJ
  4. neighbour

    neighbour Newbie

    Hey JJ, what is the danger zone temp and how quick do we need to get through it?
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The Danger zone is the temps that bacteria can multiply so we avoid those temps with meat. The DZ is 40°F to 140°F with about 80 to 100, warm room temp, being when you have very rapid growth. As far as our meat goes, with the exception of a roast you want Med/Rare, we go from the refer to the smoker. There is no benefit to warming meat that will be well done or pulled. Intact meat, whole muscle, that which is not boned, rolled and tied, injected or had garlic or anything else punched in to it, only has bacteria on the surface and placing in a 225+ smoker kills that bacteria fairly quickly, less than 30 minutes and then you no longer have to worry about the DZ and you can take many hours to cook the meat and it will be safe. Non-intact meat, above and Ground Meat like sausage, meatloaf and such, has had bacteria mixed all throughout the meat. We ALWAYS, keep this refrigerated until cooking at 225+ and our goal is to get the Internal Temp (IT) above 140°F, out of the DZ, within 4 hours. This is generally known around here as the  40 to 140 in 4 Rule. This a good guideline to follow. In the event you can't get above 140 in 4 +/- depending on the situation, with " NON-Intact Meat Only " there may be bacterial growth and/or Toxin production that can make you sick if you eat the meat. If you keep stuff clean, preheat you smoker to 225°F, Monitor and maintain the smoker temp, most meat we cook has no issue getting out of the Danger Zone...With Thanksgiving coming, there will be lots of Turkey smoking. For smoking at temps under 300°F, whole turkey's should be 14lbs or less. If you have a bigger turkey it needs to be halved or spatchcocked, backbone removed and laid out flat. Stuffing Turkey and Smoking low and slow is a Bad Idea...JJ
  6. neighbour

    neighbour Newbie

    Thanks for this JJ!
  7. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Fanatic

    Wow, I didn't realize a twenty-two pound turkey would fit in a Kettle. That's good to know next time I do a turkey. Thanks for the info.

  8. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Smoking Fanatic

    oops sorry I just noticed this is an old thread.

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