20LB Turkey -- Help

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by mijpa, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. mijpa

    mijpa Smoke Blower

    I had already purchased this turkey and was unaware of the Danger zone issue. I was wondering if i crank the heat on my electric smoker to 325degrees would that get me out of the danger zone? If so, how long should i smoke the bird? Is it 20minutes per LB? thus, a 20 lb should be smoked about 4 hours?

    Thanks Mike
  2. homebrew & bbq

    homebrew & bbq Smoking Fanatic

    What kind of smoker are you using? I've got an MES and I don't thinking doing a 20-lb bird in it would be a problem with the danger zone issue. The higher heat is a good idea AND it will give you crispier skin.

    You might want to consider spatchcocking your turkey if you are concerned. Check this link out if you are interested. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...ght=spatchcock

    I would suggest not stuffing a turkey so the heat and smoke can get to the inside and the outside of the bird.

    I hope this helps.
  3. walking dude

    walking dude Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    i imagine DJ Deb will be along to offer help also

    but she also calls spatchcocking........swashbuckeling..........LMAO

    sorry dear........could'nt help it[​IMG]

  4. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    Hiya Sweetie!

    The theroy is you smoke at 230 to 250 degrees - normally! That is why the small birds - to long in the danger zone!

    When I first came here a year ago (time flies) everyone did turkeys "Low and Slow." I did it too but I hated the rubbery skin. My smoker will easily go up to 500 degrees if I want it to too so I cranked it up to 375 degrees (just like my oven) and it was great! I now do turkeys just like I did in the oven but get the benefit of the smokey flavor!

    I have done several 18 to 23 pound turkeys in my smokers at 375 degrees with no problems!

    That being said: If you can maintain higher temperatrues in the 350 to 375 degree range in your smokers you are no longer limited to a small 12 pound turkey! It's now an oven with smoke and just as safe as cooking the bird in the oven.

  5. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Also yer math is off. 20 lbs @ 20 Min/Lb = 6.5 hours. But we cook by temp, not time. Time is an estimate only. Min 165° in deep breast and/or thigh, and after the other day when we pulled one at 165°...go to 170-175°. It was done, but not 'cooked".
  6. mijpa

    mijpa Smoke Blower

    Well i think i am screwed! I am up since 5:30 to prep and i just noticed that my smoker only goes up to 275degrees. So now I am wooried that it will be in the danger zone way to long. What do you all think?
  7. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hmmm... Try wrapping your smoker ina natural fiber carpet, or something that'll take a bit of temp. I had mine at 275 last nighthere, in 25° weather... and above all, don't panic!

    Oh and 275'll prolly work just fine...BTW. Long as ya hit 140-ish within 4 hours I hear tell
  8. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Also..you COULD consider "spatchcocking" it Cut the spine out and lay it flat...heat penetrates ALOT faster that way.
  9. mijpa

    mijpa Smoke Blower

    It is about 45 degrees outside and will go up to 65-75 during hte day here in arizona. weird thing is my smoker only goes up to 275 sorta freaked me out. i got the 20lb bird for 10bucks so won't be much of a loss fiancially.

    just the bummer and worry of eating it when i have a chance of getting my kids/ wife sick! That's what got me disturbed. I will moniter the danger zone and hopefully it will not be in that zone for more then the 4 hours you told me about, If so do i just chuck the bird?
  10. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If it's pushing the 4 hours and no where near the 140, fire up the oven to 350 or so and finish. I guess as long as you get 4 hours on the smoker, that would be enough for a good smoke flavor anyhow. just plan on an oven finish, perhaps. Less stress!
  11. mijpa

    mijpa Smoke Blower

    Man, I am frustrated big times. I really appreciate your replys and this forum. It has been in the smoker for 1hr and the temp is at 245 with an internal temp of the bird at 84. Should i open the vent up on my masterbuilt electric smoker will that heat it up more or let heat out?
  12. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hmm nope leave it shut down almost all the way. Let it go another hour, Bud... Crack a beer. You ALWAYS have the option of the oven if it looks close!

    Electrics do not depend on incoming air to stoke the heat <fire>. A small amount of updraft is required to keep the smoke fresh inside tho, don't want stale smoke hangin' round.
  13. pigcicles

    pigcicles Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I did a 19.98 (20 lb) bird yesterday. I smoked it at 275º - 300º most of the way through. I kicked up the heat at the end to help on the skin. It took just under 6 hrs for the whole bird to get to 170ish. You'll be fine where you are at. If you get nervous about the temp then put it in the oven.
  14. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks for the backup Piggie! Poor guy's a wreck ;{)
    Been there done that tho. It IS fustrating when ya don't know.
  15. mijpa

    mijpa Smoke Blower

    Current status smoker temp 246 internal bird temp 120 2 hours into it. I might have hope. If i do get out of the danger zone with in the 4 hours that's great. Not sure how long it will take to cook the bird using the smoker at a smoker temp of 246? Thanks for all the replys! Yes I am a wreck.
  16. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It'll take till you get to 170 in the thigh or deep breast. Yer right on target!
  17. pigcicles

    pigcicles Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hang in there mijpa. You got it whooped. At my temps yesterday it took 18 min per pound to finish. You should end up around 20 - 25 minutes per pound or 6.5 to 8.3 hrs depending on how steady you run. If that estimate on time is too long - consider moving it to the 350º oven after the 140º mark.

    Let us know how it comes out.
  18. mijpa

    mijpa Smoke Blower

    Well i believe i'm in the safe zone? Internal temp is at 140 that is almost 3 hours into it. Your going to think i'm crazy but is it cooking to fast
  19. pescadero

    pescadero Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member


    I have been watching and reading this thread, all the way along. I found it fascinating because I have sure been there and been through this myself. I think we all have, so you are not alone.

    The advice Rich and Pigs have been giving you, is right on target. You have been following their lead and it appears they have lead you through this thing and into 'the light'. [​IMG]

    You did all the right things, starting with the most important thing and that was asking for help. Then trusting enough to follow their help. I know you learned something and this will carry forward to future smokes. So, it has been a 'Win/Win' situation.

    Good job !!

    Now just one thing. I know you are a little rattled, but don't forget to take a couple of pictures and let us see the results. [​IMG]

  20. mijpa

    mijpa Smoke Blower

    Ok Now I am really leary I have the probe set deep in the breast the smoker has been aroud 265 eventually climbed up to 270 4 hrs into this and i am reading 170from the probe which has been tested. So this 20lb BIRD ONLY TOOK 4 HRS TO SMOKE AT AN AVERAGE SMOKER TEMP OF 265 DEGREES???

Share This Page