20 pound turkey and scared to death!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dingbatdinah, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. dingbatdinah

    dingbatdinah Newbie

    I have a 20 pound turkey to smoke tomorrow (our thanksgiving is on Friday) and I'm scared to death to cook it! LOL  I have the MAS 30 that I just got earlier this month.  I've had good luck with all the other stuff I've smoked, but this humongous turkey has me skeered~!~  Any tips would be appreciated.  I plan on brining it in salt over night tonight.cook it at 225 till it reaches 160 right?
  2. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I assume you meant MES 30?   If i were you i'd feel safer going in the oven so you can cook it hotter (325-350) but if you go in the smoker get it as hot as possible and spatchcock the turkey so it cooks faster.   It has to get through the danger zone fast as possible and it has to cook to 165 in the breast.
  3. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    +1 what FWI said.  225 won't be enough to get it through the danger zone.  You could spatchcock the bird, but 225 also presents another issue...it will cause the skin to be rubbery.  For folks that don't eat the skin anyway, that's fine, but if you can get it up to 325, it'll be crispy AND safe.
  4. dingbatdinah

    dingbatdinah Newbie

    thank you for your response.  I may very well do it in the oven then.  Don't want any sick people!~  and yes, I meant MES, not MAS.
  5. I was a bit nervous about doing a bird so big too, but I have been able to hold 250-275 so far and I'll be well out of the danger zone.
  6. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Info above pretty spot on. Most would agree with turkeys maximum weight should be about 12-13 pounds for the smoker. Better to do 2 smaller birds than 1 huge one......Willie
  7. bkleinsmid

    bkleinsmid Smoking Fanatic

    Dinah.......Chef Willie is right. Put your big one in the oven........have fun....enjoy the day. Then try a smaller bird at a later date to learn with.

    Have a great Thanksgiving Day.......

  8. mike65

    mike65 Meat Mopper

    I would remove the backbone and spatch smoke the Turkey. I did a 12lb Cranberry Brine Turkey in a Weber Silver Grill. Smoked it for 4.5 hours .. Was AWESOME  [​IMG]
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I don't think a Spatched 20 pounder will fit too well in a MES 30. You do have the option too cut it in half then smoke the halves on 2 shelves. You can smoke them at any temp from 225-275°F until an IT of 150°, then finish in a 425° Oven until the IT reaches 165°. You will have crispy skin and no issues doing it this way. Put a Drip pan with some veggies under the birds and try the recipe below...JJ

    Smokey Turkey Gravy

    1- Lg Onion,

    4-5 Carrots,

    3-4 Ribs Celery

    3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

    Toss them in a pan under the Turkey, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

    THEN add 4-6 Cups Chicken Broth,

    1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)

    1/2tsp Dry Sage (2 sprigs Fresh)

    1-2 ea Bayleaf

    Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want.

    While the Turkey is resting, dump the pan juices, veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus, quickly removed, take off the last little bit of fat.Bring the Jus back to a simmer. Mix 2T Flour and 4T Chicken Broth for each Cup of defatted Jus. Whisk together to make a Slurry with no lumps, add a little additional Broth if needed. Whisk the Slurry into the simmering Jus, bring back to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes to cook out the flour taste and fully thicken the Gravy. Adjust the seasoning with Salt and Pepper and serve.

    The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

    Serve the sliced Turkey with plenty of Gravy and Enjoy...
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  10. lips

    lips Fire Starter

    I do a 20 #er every year because I love leftovers.  Here is my method that works for me and my turkeys are never dry.  I brine it on Wed for 8 to 18 hour depending on how "salty" you like your bird.  I did it for 17 to 18 first year and loved it but wife said it was to salty for her likin.  So you know what that means, I now do it for around 8 to ten depending on how late I want to stay up tonight.  I take it out before bed and rinse and give it a good massage.  Yes, a massage as you rinse.  Then I put it in the pan and rack I will be cooking it on and rub it down inside and out with just salt and pepper and finally with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap and into the fridge overnight.  This "drying in the fridge" makes the skin so crispy.  An hour before I put it in oven I set it out to come up to temp and add carrots, onion, celery to cavity.  Done stuff with stuffing unless you want moist stuff and a dry bird because all juices go to stuffing. then into the oven at 500* with the legs to the back for half and hour.  Legs take longer and you will get some smoke doing it this way as fat starts to drip, just open a window.  After 30 minutes, bring it down to around 300.  After about 2/2.5 hours, the skin starts to get very brown so at this point I make a tinfoil triangle and cover the breast meat and start checking temp in breast.  Once it reaches temp I check the legs by pulling on them and if they give way, I'm done.
  11. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    +1 anything Chef Jimmy says on the subject.  He's never steered me wrong, and I can tell you from experience that any recipe he posts is golden.
  12. dingbatdinah

    dingbatdinah Newbie

    thank you all for your input!  I did brine it over night, but didn't stick it in the fridge. (no room!)  I washed it and patted it dry and let it sit for about an hour.  I used a rub that a buddy of mine told me about and it's in the smoker now.  Almost done after about 5 hours.  the first 3 hours I had the smoker sitting on maximum heat of 275, and then turned it down to 230.  I was told if I wanted the skin crispy to crank it up again for the last hour.( just did that with the remote but not sure I trust that thing!.)

    Next I'm smoking a smoked ham shank, 12 pounder, with mustard bbq sauce.  I think I'll wait till tomorrow to smoke the mac and cheese.

    happy turkey day everybuddy!
  13. dingbatdinah

    dingbatdinah Newbie

    I think I did good!! Almost time to take it out.
  14. piaconis

    piaconis Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Nicely done! How did it taste?
  15. dingbatdinah

    dingbatdinah Newbie

    haven't tried it yet.  my tgiving is tomorrow. both my kids and my ex are coming in around noonish tomorrow.  I'm having trouble finding room in my fridge for this massive bird!  I don't want to cut if off the bone yet.  I want everyone to see it first! LOL!
  16. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

     Pretty bird!     Did you get it to 140* with in the 4 hours?   Also even though that's the maximum time to be in the danger zone it's best to be much less time.    Less time for that bad bacteria to build up the better. 
  17. dingbatdinah

    dingbatdinah Newbie

    I started it at 275 and it was about 150 within the 4 hours easily.  I lowered the temp to 230 at about 4 hours and cooked it another 2.  it looks and smells fabulous, but next time I'll try to buy smaller birds
  18. dingbatdinah

    dingbatdinah Newbie

    Just wanted to share that my family loved the turkey.  it was moist and very flavorful.  I had never brined before and will definitely use this method again!  The ham was awesome too, but for some reason I could not get it to 165.  Thank goodness it was already a smoked ham so we had it anyway.  by far the best ham I've ever done.

    Everything was so delicious that my sons what ribs and pulled pork for Christmas!

    Thanks for all your help and advice.
  19. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Dinah , just an FYI ...with a cooked ham , you are basically reheating. Since you don't want to dry it out , You are far better off to take it out of the oven or whatever when it hits about 140....
    I think the 165 number you had in your head was for the turkey breast. Glad your Thanksgiving was successful. :grilling_smilie:
  20. dingbatdinah

    dingbatdinah Newbie

    OH I should have thought of that! It was delicious, so I'll remember that next time.

    and I just noticed my typo. should have read my boys WANT ribs and bbq....

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