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17lb Brined turkey for thanksgiving too big???

hawkerdude

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So I wanted to try my first brined turkey smoke. Wife picked one up today and I started looking over a couple recipes on Jeff's main site. Looks like 17lbs is a bit too big. If I'm going to do the 17 pounder and brine it I will need to begin the fridge thaw tomorrow.

I'm using a Yoder 640 pellet smoker and it can hold a consistent 240-250 degrees as Jeff recommends.

Has anyone smoked one that big? If I really should do a 12 pounder (its just us a family of 5 this year), we will need to pick it up tomorrow.

Any recommendations appreciated!
 

whistlepig

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If you thaw in the fridge starting tonight you should be OK. Brining speeds up the thawing process. Temps are subjective. More smoke flavor 225 degrees. Crisper skin = 400 degrees. And a good remote thermometer. Foiling, wrapping in two towels, and resting in a cooler will give you extra time. Resting adds flavor.
 

hawkerdude

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Thanks for the quick reply. I figured that the brining would help with the thawing process. I was also concerned about how long the smoke time would be just doing a whole bird. I started digging around and read about doing larger birds (over 12-14 pounds) by first brining, and then spatchcocking them and then smoking at a higher temperature of about 325. I think thats how I'll smoke it. I can put in my shorty tube smoker to add smoke since the temp will be on the higher side. Thanks again.
 

whistlepig

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Resting wrapped in foil, in two bath towels. and tucked in a cooler will give you the edge you may be wanting. As much as two to three hours. Even if t gets cold while waiting that is better than shorting a good smoking recipe.
 

tallbm

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So I wanted to try my first brined turkey smoke. Wife picked one up today and I started looking over a couple recipes on Jeff's main site. Looks like 17lbs is a bit too big. If I'm going to do the 17 pounder and brine it I will need to begin the fridge thaw tomorrow.

I'm using a Yoder 640 pellet smoker and it can hold a consistent 240-250 degrees as Jeff recommends.

Has anyone smoked one that big? If I really should do a 12 pounder (its just us a family of 5 this year), we will need to pick it up tomorrow.

Any recommendations appreciated!
Hi there and welcome!

I usually smoke 20-22lb birds (big family events).

Smoke at 325F or higher and you will be fine.

Thaw now, 24 hours before. Mix your brine solution and inject that into the bird all over as well and you will get the brine in everywhere on the bird, that is key :)

You should have no issues spatchcock or not if u go 325F smoker temp.
 

SmokinEdge

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25# bird this year for me. Into brine on Monday. Out of brine on Tuesday night, air dry for smoke Wednesday morning all day. Finish Thursday morning and serve. You should be fine. Post up your results.
 

chef jimmyj

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I agree with all above, with one exception...
IF Crispy Skin is important, it gets Fought over in my house, Do Not cover with foil and only rest 20-30 minutes on the Counter!
If the Skin's Crispness don't matter and simple Bite Through is fine, the foil and cooler rest is an option...JJ
 

TuckersBarbeque

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Agree with everyone here as well, especially Chef Jimmy. Crispy skin is important in this household so it rests 20 min on the counter before I start carving.
I also agree with the smoking on the 325-350 range. I do not understand how people can smoke a turkey at 225 and NOT have a dry turkey 6 hours later. There just doesn't seem to be enough fat in the breast to make that work, and injections just serve to drag out the stall. I've tried all sorts of injections, brines, etc... smoking a turkey, especially a large one, at less than 300 is a dry wreck waiting to happen.
If someone knows the magical secret, please share!
 

pineywoods

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Unless they have changed it the USDA recommends to not smoke a turkey over 12 lbs HOWEVER this is using a smoker temperature of about 225. When you crank the smoker up to 325-350 your now into what are normal range for oven cooking a turkey and as you are no doubt aware they don't restrict the size of birds using those temperatures. Spatchcocking the turkey is a way of speeding up the cooking time that many people use with a bird over the 12 lbs in a 225 degree or so smoker if your going to crank the smoker up to 325-350 then it's more a matter of choice whether to spatchcock or not.
Of course Chef Jimmy is right as usual if you want that crispy skin don't foil or don't foil for very long or you loose that crispness. Usually I'll just lay a piece of foil over the bird then a towel over that on the counter for 10-15 minutes to rest it before slicing
 

SmokinAl

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I did a 21 pound turkey that I parted out in just a little over 3 hours in my Lang running around 270-280. Here’s the thread.
 

Bearcarver

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Unless they have changed it the USDA recommends to not smoke a turkey over 12 lbs HOWEVER this is using a smoker temperature of about 225. When you crank the smoker up to 325-350 your now into what are normal range for oven cooking a turkey and as you are no doubt aware they don't restrict the size of birds using those temperatures. Spatchcocking the turkey is a way of speeding up the cooking time that many people use with a bird over the 12 lbs in a 225 degree or so smoker if your going to crank the smoker up to 325-350 then it's more a matter of choice whether to spatchcock or not.
Of course Chef Jimmy is right as usual if you want that crispy skin don't foil or don't foil for very long or you loose that crispness. Usually I'll just lay a piece of foil over the bird then a towel over that on the counter for 10-15 minutes to rest it before slicing

^^^^^What Piney said!!!^^^^^

Bear
 

hawkerdude

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Thanks for all the tips an encouragement! I’m now confident this is going to turn out FANTASTIC! Pics before the “Walkers” tear into the feast!! ;-)

Cheers!
 

Rysil

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25# bird this year for me. Into brine on Monday. Out of brine on Tuesday night, air dry for smoke Wednesday morning all day. Finish Thursday morning and serve. You should be fine. Post up your results.

I too have a 25 pounder this year, easily the biggest I've ever smoked. Meal is at 11 AM Thursday. I have an electric smoker that probably will be a 275 max temp consistently. When do you think I should start it?
 

SmokinEdge

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I too have a 25 pounder this year, easily the biggest I've ever smoked. Meal is at 11 AM Thursday. I have an electric smoker that probably will be a 275 max temp consistently. When do you think I should start it?
After thinking this threw, I have decided to part the bird into, the whole breast, leg quarters, wings and the back. Mostly because of the projected cook time ( 30-40min per pound at around 250* that’s 15-16 hrs if all goes well and outside temps aren’t too cold) nothing perfect ever happens when you need it to, especially on Thanksgiving day anything involving the big bird. So like I said, I parted out my bird and injected. I have a 10# breast, 9.5# leg quarters and wings with about a 4# back. I feel this gives me a much better shot at finishing the bird on time and not have to start at 9:00 pm tonight. 4hrs cook time is much more reasonable. YMMV.
 

tallbm

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I too have a 25 pounder this year, easily the biggest I've ever smoked. Meal is at 11 AM Thursday. I have an electric smoker that probably will be a 275 max temp consistently. When do you think I should start it?
Hi there and welcome!

If you brined or injected the bird I would start it at like 8pm today and let it go overnight with your smoker on max. Chances are your smoker will not actually get to 275F very quickly or at all if like most electric smokers so your smoke will go way longer than you think.

When the IT of the breast hits 160F-162F pull the bird and depending on what time it is you have 2 options.

1. If it cooked really fast you put the bird in the fridge and reheat in the oven in the morning
2. If the bird finishes close to your eating time you can hold it in the oven or in the smoker at 170F smoker/oven temp until time to eat

These would be my approaches with it :)
 

Rysil

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Hi there and welcome!

If you brined or injected the bird I would start it at like 8pm today and let it go overnight with your smoker on max. Chances are your smoker will not actually get to 275F very quickly or at all if like most electric smokers so your smoke will go way longer than you think.

When the IT of the breast hits 160F-162F pull the bird and depending on what time it is you have 2 options.

1. If it cooked really fast you put the bird in the fridge and reheat in the oven in the morning
2. If the bird finishes close to your eating time you can hold it in the oven or in the smoker at 170F smoker/oven temp until time to eat

These would be my approaches with it :)

Thank you. I was starting to stress, and convincing myself I was overthinking this, so about 20 minutes ago I came to a conclusion. And, thankfully, it was exactly what you just said. Just start it at 7 or 8 and if it got done early, it got done early and I can just oven it before we eat. I did brine it, and do have an injection ready to go.


Makes me feel a lot better :)
 

tallbm

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Thank you. I was starting to stress, and convincing myself I was overthinking this, so about 20 minutes ago I came to a conclusion. And, thankfully, it was exactly what you just said. Just start it at 7 or 8 and if it got done early, it got done early and I can just oven it before we eat. I did brine it, and do have an injection ready to go.


Makes me feel a lot better :)
Have you considered Spatchcocking the bird? That is where you cut the back out and the bird will lay flat and cook more evenly and faster. YOu can still cook the back too.

The nice thing about that approach is that if it finishes early you can probably reheat on a hot grill skin side down and get the skin to be edible and behave. This also means you don't have to compete for the oven to reheat it :)
 

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