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23lb Turkey

TNJAKE

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Afternoon folks. I am new to this forum. I have a 23lb Turkey currently brining. I've smoked many smaller birds but never one this big. I've see that there may be some food safety concerns with a bird this size so I'm thinking about spatchcocking it. I want to smoke around 250 and crank the heat up at the end. Any ideas on how long this will take on my pellet smoker? Trying to work out timing on our meal Thursday. Thanks!
 

mike guy

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Spatchcocking it will be essentially to a faster and more even cook time with a bird of that size. Or any size.
 

TNJAKE

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Right that's why I was gonna smoke a while at 250 then finish it higher. So I could achieve good smoke and crispy skin. Is this not a good method? I use it on spatchcock chicken all the time but I'm new to the spatchcock Turkey. Next year I will get smaller birds.
 

noboundaries

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I did a 22.3 lb bird yesterday at 325F and it took 3 hrs 40 mins for the coldest part of the bird to get to 140F IT. There's a good chance you won't get to the safe zone at 250F, but it's your call.
 

TNJAKE

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Ok thanks. Was your bird spatchcock? Also what's the max time I can have the bird outside of the safe zone of 140?
 

noboundaries

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Whole.

I smoke 4-6 turkeys a year. I've done whole, spatched, canonned, beer canned, parted, semi-frozen, wet brined, dry brined, smoke-grilled, and oven-roasted. I have not fried a turkey, nor do I have an interest in doing so after tasting them.

I generally won't buy a turkey that weighs less than 16 lbs. 26 (or 28 lbs) is the largest I've cooked/smoked/roasted. Back when I started smoking, I did one 6 lb chicken at 250F and never did another because smoking them at a higher temp gave the same juicy meat AND crisp skin. So, I can't help you with your 250F questions, or any limit outside the safe zone. Be well, and enjoy Thanksgiving.
 

SmokinVOLfan

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Smoke it at least 300. I smoke my spatched birds at 300-325 and always get a juicy smoky finished product with crispy skin. You wont be disappointed!
 

TNJAKE

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I'm going to do it at 325. My question about how long outside of the safe zone was worded poorly I suppose. If I cook at 325 how long is too long for the temp to reach 140IT was what I was wanting to know.
 

TNJAKE

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Smoke it at least 300. I smoke my spatched birds at 300-325 and always get a juicy smoky finished product with crispy skin. You wont be disappointed!
Thanks. If I use that temp on a spatched bird weighing 23lb what's an estimate on how long it will take?
 

SmokinVOLfan

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Thanks. If I use that temp on a spatched bird weighing 23lb what's an estimate on how long it will take?
Don't hold me to it but I am guessing in the 4-5 hour range with at least a 30 minute rest before you start carving.
 

SecondHandSmoker

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SmokingVOLfan is right on the time. Keep in mind though, most of use prefer to smoke using the internal temp method instead of time. You do have a good instant read thermo or a separate probe set up which is even better?
 

TNJAKE

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Don't hold me to it but I am guessing in the 4-5 hour range with at least a 30 minute rest before you start carving.
Ok thanks bud. One more thing......if Ispatch a 23lb bird is it similar to smoking 2 11.5lb birds? If that makes sense.
 

TNJAKE

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SmokingVOLfan is right on the time. Keep in mind though, most of use prefer to smoke using the internal temp method instead of time. You do have a good instant read thermo or a separate probe set up which is even better?
Yeah I do I was just trying to get an estimate on time so Ihad an idea of when to put my bird on so it doesnt finish too soon before lunch.
 

dirtsailor2003

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Spatched that bird, even though it weighs more is going to be done in around 3-4 hours. That's to an IT of 165°. Foiled and wrapped afterwards you can rest it for 45min.-hour and it will be fine.
 

Rmartinez2

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Tnjake not sure I saw a direct response to some of your Q's.

You want to get to 140 within the first 4 hours of the cook. So if you go past 4 hours and you do not reach 140 you run a risk. Also it's not smart to game it and get to let's say 115 in 3.75 hours then crank it up so u reach the temp. Just be safe, at consistent temp you should reach the 140 within 4 hours or you have reached the danger zone. My opinion do 300 to 325 and it'll get good smoke plus skin will crisp a bit more. If you don't think you'll get enough smoke at that high consider a tube.

It is not the same to cook 2 birds of 11 to 12 lbs as it is to cook one at 23. The smaller birds while having a combined weight are still uniquely what they weigh. So each will cook individual as their mass dictates. An 11 lb bird spatched would likely take about 2 to 2.5 at 300. A 23# bird at 300 will likely be looking at close to maybe a little past 4 to hit 160 in the breast.

So if u threw 2 smaller birds in it would still only take 2.5 hours total because each bird only has so much meat to cook thru.

Hopefully I didn't confuse you with all that. Hope the cook turns out great. Enjoy. Share pics if you ha e the time.
 

TNJAKE

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Tnjake not sure I saw a direct response to some of your Q's.

You want to get to 140 within the first 4 hours of the cook. So if you go past 4 hours and you do not reach 140 you run a risk. Also it's not smart to game it and get to let's say 115 in 3.75 hours then crank it up so u reach the temp. Just be safe, at consistent temp you should reach the 140 within 4 hours or you have reached the danger zone. My opinion do 300 to 325 and it'll get good smoke plus skin will crisp a bit more. If you don't think you'll get enough smoke at that high consider a tube.

It is not the same to cook 2 birds of 11 to 12 lbs as it is to cook one at 23. The smaller birds while having a combined weight are still uniquely what they weigh. So each will cook individual as their mass dictates. An 11 lb bird spatched would likely take about 2 to 2.5 at 300. A 23# bird at 300 will likely be looking at close to maybe a little past 4 to hit 160 in the breast.

So if u threw 2 smaller birds in it would still only take 2.5 hours total because each bird only has so much meat to cook thru.

Hopefully I didn't confuse you with all that. Hope the cook turns out great. Enjoy. Share pics if you ha e the time.
Thanks man that's exactly what I was wanting to know. Appreciate it.
 

noboundaries

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TNJAKE, my apologies that I misunderstood your statement above.

I stopped logging smokes this year, but looked at last year's log. 1/7/18, smoked a 19 lb turkey, spatched using a combination of lump and briquettes. I used a big, round paella pan with a cooling rack in it to keep the bird out of the juices and allow circulation (I always use some type of pan to catch the juices for gravy and keep the smoker cleaner). My target chamber temp was 325F, but the smoker ran at 354F. It was a 4 hour and 5 minute smoke for the bird to reach an IT of 167 in the coolest part.

Next bird: 18 lb spatched bird, chamber ran 350-365F. Bird took 4 hours to 165F IT.
Next. 18.3 lb fresh bird, spatched, not brined, took 3 hrs 15 mins at 325F. (Go figure. Birds are as ornery as pork butts).
Three days later I did another 18.3 lb fresh bird, spatched, but the smoker was loaded with a big pan of veggies on the lower rack. The veggies were a huge heat sink with the bird because there was almost a full bottle of cheap white wine in the veggies. Smoker ran 250-280F and that bird took 4.5 hours to finish.

Two lessons. Smokers can be ornery, and there's nothing linear about using a smoker. Also, it generally takes roughly an hour for a bird's IT to rise from 140F to 160-165F IT in the coldest part when the chamber temp is 325F.
 

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