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Need help for very large turkey!!!


Joined Sep 6, 2010
Well I went and decided to read up on smoking our T day turkey AFTER buying the big bird for the holiday and got a 20.5 lb turkey.  most of what I am reading cautions against this but I'm stuck.  Any advice on how to avoid problems when cooking this big bird?  Im using my grill dome ceramic so can hold temps pretty well.  Temp suggestions, time and wood chip selection as well as any other tips would be most helpful.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 18, 2007
I would suggest brining the bird because it makes it nice and juicy. Also I have read several people claim that it makes the bird cook faster as well (Don't know if it is true or not?). That is a pretty big bird. If you don't already know the main reason it is suggested you don't use a bird that big is because its hard to get the bird out of the danger zone with a bird that big. The danger zone is the internal temp of the bird needs to go from 40 degrees to 140 degrees in 4 hours to make sure to kill any harmful bacteria or anything that could be present. With a bird that size I would suggest kicking up the temp in your smoker to over 300 to insure that the bird gets done. Also you could spathcock your bird to make it cook faster. This is basically removing the backbone so the bird lays open on the smoker. There are lots of posts on here and video's on you tube on how to do this. A lot of people always do this I have yet to try it but I want to and it looks cool on your smoker as well. I cooked 9 birds last weekend in the 13-15 lb range at around 250-275 degrees and they were done in 4 hours. Best of luck to you.
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Gone but not forgotten. RIP
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Mar 12, 2009

You just have to smoke this bird pretty darn quick. I would recommand that you spatchcock it and lay it out flat and run the smoker at maybe 300*-325* and get that bird hot. Then carry this bird to 165* in the breast area.

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