How long for bigger turkey?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by dougmays, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    hey all,

    so i did my first turkey last year for thanksgiving. it as a 13lber and and it took about 5 hours at 275degrees to get to 165 IT. This year for a work thanksgiving party they want me to do 2 20lbers....i'm wondering first off if this is to big of a turkey and will it dry out? I usually ice down the breast before hand as to not dry it out.  If i'm ok with the size and smoke at long should i expect it to take? 7-9 hours?

    any advice would be great as turkey's are still new to me

    thanks in advance
  2. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think the issue with big turkeys is it getting up to temp on time..

    I will poke around a bit..

  3. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    just did a little looking around myself...alot of people have done 20lbers in under 6 i think i might be ok.  i might take the WSM up to 300 just to be safe....
  4. I am doing a 20# this week end for my work I will soak it in a brine for 24 hours then maybe inject it

    I was thinking about doing 2 10's but I don't have the room in my cooler for 2 birds
  5. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would opt for smoking 2 10-12lbrs instead of one 20 lb bird.  It is hard to get the big birds past 140 F in under 4 hrs the safety thing you know.   You also have the benifit of not putting all your birds in one basket?  Oh thats eggs but well you know.   
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You can technically cook any size bird you want the issue is getting it out of the danger zone in time to be safe when you have a big bird. As long as you get the bird out of the danger zone in 4 hours you will be fine. You can kick up the heat to make sure it gets out of the danger zone or you can also spatchcock the bird with will  cut down on the cook time.
  7. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Doug I agree with Ross either kick the temps up to 300 or above or Spatchcock the birds. Personally I hot smoke all my poultry that way I also get the crispy skin well except when I smofry a turkey [​IMG]
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    The other option would be to use Pop's brine/cure & cure it for a few days. Then you don't have to worry about the danger zone & he says they are a delicacy.
  9. I would also go with Pops brine/cure like Al said. Makes for a great tasting bird.
  10. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    thanks guys! the normal guy who does this usually frys them and he happens to be out of town this year so out of 300 people i'm the only other cook in my department it all comes down on me.

    i'm going to try to opt for 2 15lbers for quicker cook and get out o the DZ faster.

    i'll post the report when i start it up thursday morning
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You can smoke a 20+lb bird safely at temps below 300*F...But avoid...Injection, Stuffing and Putting the Therm Probe in before the first hour is up...The Key is keeping large muscle intact until the outer 1/2 inch and the Cavity 1/2 inch of muscle gets above 140*F...If Injection is used, potentially harmful bacteria can be pushed in and then the Entire Bird needs to get above 140*F in 4 and smaller, less than 14lb will be a safer choice...Be Safe...JJ
  12. oldcountrygirl

    oldcountrygirl Fire Starter

    I am lurking  here as I have an 18 lb turkey I'll be smoking for Thanksgiving.
  13. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I am in the same position with the turducken I want to smoke. I probably will cure all 3 birds so I won't have to worry.

    The thing that's so amazing is I remember my Mom stuffing our 20 lb turkey & putting it in a 225 degree oven the night before TG Day & it wouldn't be done until noon the next

    day. Now that sucker must have been in the danger zone for most of the night & the stuffing had raw eggs in it too. Go figure!
  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Yeah, but did Mom pull it based on a thermometer reading or like many Moms,mine included, when the Leg bone was ready to Fall Out...Yeah there may have been Bacteria Growth but in the end there was no inch of that bird that was not at 180*+...Dry as Hell!... but safe...JJ
  15. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I don't remember if she used a therm, but I'm betting she just new it was done. I don't remember it being dry, but this was a long time ago and I'm sure I was so hungry by the time it was done I wouldn't have noticed. Even if it was so dry it sucked the saliva out of my mouth! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  16. jc1947

    jc1947 Smoking Fanatic

    We must have grown up in the same environment LOL

    Pops brine works excellent and the turkey is not only moist but super delicious.

  17. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

      Nothing a lot of gravy can't fix  [​IMG]
  18. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    well i ended up with a 13lb and i'm not to worried!  thanks for all the info.  i am going to try pop's brine with all the great comments it's gotten on my next turkey!

    i'll lost qview starting tomorrow morning at 5am LOL
  19. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    We'll be waiting for the Qview Doug [​IMG]

    I think I'm gonna try Pops brine this year, I've had great success with it on other meats

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