13 lb. turkey in 3 hour.. possible at 280*?

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Brined a 13 lb turkey (my first) for 12 hrs and put on the smoker using hickory and apple at 280* Thursday a.m. and went hunting.  Came back 3 hrs. later and the calibrated temp probes in each breast read 175 and 165 respectively.  I had also put on a breast at the same time and it read 155 at that time. (Makes sense since it was further from the firebox).  I finished the breast to 165 and served it for lunch. 

The 3 hrs. of smoke time on the whole turkey made me leary and the fact that the little "pop out when done" thingy had not yet popped out made me afraid to serve it.  Also, the legs and thighs didn't seem as though they might pull off added further concern.  Being the idiot that i am, i didn't cut in to the turkey but placed it in the oven at 300 while we ate the breast.  Cooked it until the "pop out when done" thingy popped out.  The legs were tough, the thighs were moist and tender, the breast was dry, and the very outside portion of the meat was generally tough. Flavor was just ok.  Probably because of smoke time. 

QUESTION:  Was that turkey done after only three hours? (as my temp probes indicated)  Since I didn't cut in to it I'll never know.  Just wondering what you guys think.  Again, I had calibrated the probes just the night before.  As I write this i'm thinking I should have trusted them.  What do you think? 

Please jump in.                         

Thanks, Mike


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Sep 24, 2009
Independence Mo
Just thought I would pass on the fact that my wife's bird finished fast as well. The dark meat was like rubber, almost couldn't cut it, The outer breast was tough and dry but after the outside ¼" , it was moist and juicy.

I think my turkey had to many steroids among other additives.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Sep 13, 2009
i go by 2 things.........

my probe that i trust...........

my sight that i trust even more.........


Oct 14, 2007
Newton, Alabama
My 14# turkey was done in 3hrs also. Took it out and foiled it and wrapped in towels and put in cooler till it was time to eat. Used apple and hickory at 280. After unwrapped went to transfer to platter  the breast separated from the legs thighs and wings, All the meat was tender and moist. It was the hit of the dinner.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Oct 18, 2007
West Fargo, ND / Northern MN
I agree its possible that a 13 lb bird can get done in 3 hours. My 15 lb birds were done in 4 hours last week. They were actually over done as I though they would go longer so I didn't probe them until  4 hours and they were already at 175. Out of the 9 birds I did only one of the pop out thermometers in the birds actually popped. I am guessing when you brine them the liquid must effect them. I was going to start a thread on that but forgot. Anyone else have issues with the pop out thing after brining? I don' t go buy that but still it was an observation I had. I always go by my thermometers which I know are dead on.
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Fire Starter
Original poster
Thread starter
rbranstner I agree on the pop out thing.  I actually had pd it no attention until the other variables were going on.  I was glad to hear of your quick smoke.  It will give me more confidence the next time that happens.  Thanks, Mike
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