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How long to smoke 13lb turkey?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by brazosdog02, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. brazosdog02

    brazosdog02 Newbie

    Never smoked one before.  Is there a general guess?  Im kind of worried about food safety so I was thinking smoking around 275-300...probably closer to 300.  Is this OK?  Bird is brining now.  Im going to use pecan/apple wood.  I also have cherry.

    My FIL smoked his in an electric one and he puts it on at midnight and its ready by 4pm the next day, so Im not sure what temperature that is.  Should I smoke it lower and slower than 275?
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A search of the word "Turkey" produces 437 PAGES of results. Pour a drink, sit down and start reading.

    Your guess of 275˚-300˚ is better than 225˚. Go hot with a good dose of smoke. I do 325˚-350˚ and it takes just about 4 hours for a 14-16 lb bird.

    Please provide your father-in-law's name and address so we can all make sure to NEVER go to his house for Thanksgiving.
    msstatedawg and delarosa74868 like this.
  3. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Now, now, you don't know if he cured his turkey or what. I do mine at around 250 and they always turn out fine. I also spatchcock, that is remove the backbone and flatten out. cuts that time down considerably and you can put that baby back in the roasting pan and make it look pretty darn traditional if you want.
  4. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    Time will be 4-5 hours or so and that is very ballpark. You should make sure and use a good quality tested meat thermometer. Most of smoking meat is cooking to temp, not time. there are a few variables to consider.
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    My remark was somewhat tongue in cheek, but 16 hours for a turkey is a long tome no matter what he did to it.
  6. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    If your smoker will smoke at 300 I would smoke at that temp. Smoking turkey low and slow is scary from a safety standpoint. Midnight to 4pm? That sounds real scary! At 300 you should reach 170-175 internal temp in about 5 hours give or take.
  7. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    I agree, just pitching some crap on ya!
  8. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As long as you don't inject or compromise the carcass, whole meat muscles are considered "sterile".... I brine for several days with a 2% salt solution.... bird + liquid weight... You can dry rub under and on the skin with 2% salt and spices/herbs and hold in the refer for a couple days for the salt etc. to penetrate the meat.... rinse and dry the skin.... smoke at 160 ish for a couple hours..... I find 2 hours of smoke enhances the bird and it's not overpowering for most folks.... Then apply a mixture of compound butter, rosemary, garlic, onion powder etc. to the skin.... then place in the oven and finish normally for a crisp skin and browning... or if you have a smoker that will handle 325 ish, finish in the smoker.....
    I have some concerns about "enhanced" turkeys, but, I am assuming the injection liquid they use IS sterile and won't compromise the bird.... I'm probably an idiot for assuming poultry plants would inject a sterile solution, but again you have to have a little faith in the USDA regs... I find it difficult to believe they would inject some bacteria laden liquid.... their insurance premiums would go higher than the national debt.....

    2% salt rub... if the bird weighs 20#'s, 20 #'s x 16 oz = 320 oz x .02 = 6.4 oz salt
    timberjet likes this.
  9. brazosdog02

    brazosdog02 Newbie

    I know there are pages of reading and I should have first. I appreciate the answers and confidence. I smoke with a maverick thermometer. Don't worry about the fil bird. I just went by what the wife told me and all she knows is that he puts it on in the morning and it's done by the time we eat. My pork that I smoke a usually done by 11pm and sits in a cooler overnight this it's ready for lunch. Lol.

    Thanks y'all.
  10. paulcbeau

    paulcbeau Newbie

    I smoked a 10lbs Brest for my wifes office party & after a 12 hour brine, 2 hrs @ 150, 3 hrs @ 230 the "button" was popped & the Turkey was incredible.   Saw on; the FoodNetwork that the buttons are set to go off at 185 IT so I could have pulled it sooner.

    Now tonight I'm starting with an 18lbs bird around 2AM and figure 12 hours will do it, can't wait for the family to taste this one!!
  11. Phil Good

    Phil Good Newbie

    I agree Paul but in the fifties everyone washed their birds in the sink and cooked them overnight @ 200 degrees. I used to cook turkeys for scout benefits at Tgiving and Christmas on an indirect wood burner 10 at a time. I cooked at 350 using oak, hickory or ash heartwood and threw in hickory bark for the flavor. Never had a dry bird or an unhappy customer. For the first time this year I'll be using an "Ole Hickory" CTO. Not sure about the wood usage yet but I sure like the concept of not having to stand over it and watch the gages. They recommend 200 degrees. I guess we'll see.
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Phil, evening and welcome... For an added safety measure, may I recommend cooking at 225 F and up... USDA, FDA, FSIS recommend that temp for the lowest to use to eliminate the possibility of food poisoning from pathogens in the meat..
    I know, I grew up in the 50's too... a lot has changed since then... We ARE getting smarter and safer because we know more...
  13. motolife313

    motolife313 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Takes me about 9 hours on 14 pound turkey at 275