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Help with a 22 Lb Turkey in my MES 40...


Smoke Blower
Joined Nov 16, 2010
Hi All!

This weekend, my wife, friends and I are having a Thankhallomas gathering.   I'm doing the turkey.  (This whole thing started 'cuz I have a turkey I want to get out of my freezer before I have surgery in a couple weeks.)

The bird is 22 Lbs.  I've been reading here about the size being an issue, and spatchcocking being a possibility.  What about cutting it in half?  Then I could use 2 shelves in the MES40.  Is there any reason to not do this?  Has anyone done it before?  Any tips?  I assume after cutting it, I'd have to cook it breast side up, right? 

Should I still plan on half hour a pound?  How hot?  I'm thinking 240...

Thanks for any tips you can share!



Smoking Guru
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
OTBS Admin
Group Lead
Joined Jul 7, 2005
Brian, you just may have to cut that bird in half and do like you said-and put half a bird on its own shelf.  In spatchcocking or butterflying a bird you remove the back bone and lay the bird out flat and press down on the breast bone.

When I spatchcock or cut a large bird in half, I break the breast (keel) bone on both sides of the breast and remove it from the inside of the bird. When cooking it spatchcock style it helps the bird lay flatter on the grate. When cutting it in half you don't have that bone to force your knife through.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 15, 2011
Adding to what Dutch said, I've found that a good pair of poultry shears makes spatchcocking and de-boning a lot easier. That and a good fileting knife.



Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Jul 26, 2009
In an MES the only safe way to cook that bird will be to cook it spatchcocked or split. Remember you have get thru the 140 degree barrier in 4 hours. 

Good luck your smoke.  


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Mar 21, 2010
I would split it in two, brine it, and smoke it breast down to retain moisture. If you give yourself 45 min/lb (based on largest piece) you can rest it wrapped in a cooler till just before serving, then finish it breast side up in a 350-400deg oven for 10-15 minutes to crisp up the skin.



Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Mar 12, 2009

I'm with Dutch an Gary (scarbelly) and spatchcock is THE ONLY way you can smoke that big of a bird. So do just what they said for they know their poop and you don't want to get anyone sick.

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