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PulledPorkSandwich

Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jul 8, 2020
232
128
North Texas
I'm way ahead of myself here, but, for some reason, my thoughts have turned to Thanksgiving turkey lately. I'd like to try rotisserie cooking this year. My Weber Genesis with a rotisserie attachment is way too small to accommodate a 16-20 pound bird, so I'm wondering what kind of set up I might use instead. I'd appreciate any suggestions from the experts here.

I've been smoking turkeys for Thanksgiving for many years, and my preferred approach with a small 10-12 pound bird is to use my Weber Genesis with the turkey placed on the grate on the right side of the grill and using only the left-most burner with wood chunks wrapped in foil placed over it. With that setup, I'm able to maintain a grill temperature of 325-ish and produce adequate smoke for good flavor along with reasonably crispy skin.

I've been called upon to smoke a bigger bird and I've found that the above approach doesn't work well with a larger, 16-20 pound bird. Air circulation is poor, one side of the bird is too close to the burner while the other is too far away resulting in uneven heating, and it's difficult to maintain 325 degrees. Rotating the bird while it's cooking is painful, and using the middle burner to boost the temperature dries out one side.

I've had very good luck rotisserie cooking a chicken on this grill, using the right and left burners on "low" and placing the chicken in the middle of the grill. The result has been consistently a tender, juicy, and flavorful bird, so I thought, why not rotisserie cook a turkey? Alas! The grill won't accommodate a turkey of any size. That brings me to my question for the collective.

Thanks for any suggestions.
 
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Any thought about doing just the breast , or maybe 2 ? Boned out and rolled . Cure and smoke the legs and thighs . Pull the tendons on the legs after cooking .
That's how I did the last one .
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Any thought about doing just the breast , or maybe 2 ? Boned out and rolled . Cure and smoke the legs and thighs . Pull the tendons on the legs after cooking .
That's how I did the last one .
View attachment 697738
View attachment 697739
That looks very good! I'd need to figure out where to cook the legs and thighs for crispy skin. My smoker won't do it and the Weber will be occupied. Maybe I can find a way to have a grate on the Weber while the rotisserie is going?
 
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You better have it perfectly balanced for trying to spin a turkey that large.
Rotisseries I have had in the pass really strain or burn out if not balanced perfectly.
I ended up buying an aftermarket one with a beefier motor.
 
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You better have it perfectly balanced for trying to spin a turkey that large.
Rotisseries I have had in the pass really strain or burn out if not balanced perfectly.
I ended up buying an aftermarket one with a beefier motor.
Yes indeed. I do have an aftermarket rotisserie set up with a counterbalancing weight. My problem is finding a grill or smoker that will accommodate the bird. What do you use to rotisserie cook your turkey?
 
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I hope you have a good motor, and balance it really well. That is a lot of weight to spin if off balance. I did a turkey on our SM setup & spent about 15 minutes getting it balanced. The motor never strained or the turkey never sped up then slowed down. Good luck!
Al
 
I hope you have a good motor, and balance it really well. That is a lot of weight to spin if off balance. I did a turkey on our SM setup & spent about 15 minutes getting it balanced. The motor never strained or the turkey never sped up then slowed down. Good luck!
Al
I'll have to double-check that motor to see how powerful it is. I thought I was buying a good one when I did, but I do take your point well. It would be a shame to find a cooker to accommodate the bird and then fry the rotisserie motor halfway through the cook!

I missed something in your response. What is you "SM setup"?

Thank you!
 
That looks very good! I'd need to figure out where to cook the legs and thighs for crispy skin. My smoker won't do it and the Weber will be occupied.
That was a small turkey that had been in the freezer for a long time . It was good , but thought I would change things up .
I guess maybe listing your options for cooking would help . I'm not one that worries about the skin myself , but if that's important to you , I get it .
Those cured and smoked thighs are crazy good , and pulling the tendons on the legs makes for a whole new experience with turkey legs . I really don't believe people will be thinking about skin after the first bite , but like I said , I get it .
Some like to see that whole bird on Thanksgiving too . So there's that .
Whatever you decide , do a trial run before turkey day .

I have a Genesis 310 . Propane . It's a great grill .
 
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There's always the old school way...

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Granted, these are only cornish hens, but we've done turkeys the same way. 1/4 turn every 15 to 30 minutes. Somewhere I thought I had a pic of the last one we did but couldn't find it to save my life.

Ryan
 
I'll have to double-check that motor to see how powerful it is. I thought I was buying a good one when I did, but I do take your point well. It would be a shame to find a cooker to accommodate the bird and then fry the rotisserie motor halfway through the cook!

I missed something in your response. What is you "SM setup"?

Thank you!
SM is short for Santa Maria, I have a Santa Maria setup for my Weber kettle, and it has a rotisserie on it.
Al
 
That was a small turkey that had been in the freezer for a long time . It was good , but thought I would change things up .
I guess maybe listing your options for cooking would help . I'm not one that worries about the skin myself , but if that's important to you , I get it .
Those cured and smoked thighs are crazy good , and pulling the tendons on the legs makes for a whole new experience with turkey legs . I really don't believe people will be thinking about skin after the first bite , but like I said , I get it .
Some like to see that whole bird on Thanksgiving too . So there's that .
Whatever you decide , do a trial run before turkey day .

I have a Genesis 310 . Propane . It's a great grill .
I try to aim for juicy meat, especially the breast meat, a solid, but not overpowering smoke flavor, especially in the dark meat, plus crispy skin. I love the "wows" I get when I show off the "Norman Rockwell" beautifully browned bird. I make a smokey gravy according to Meathead's recipe where I catch drippings in a pan filled with giblets, wing tips, aromatic vegetables, etc. I must say, though, that although I always aim for crispy skin, I never really achieve it, so I guess it's really not all that important to me. And I can get over the absence of the "wow" factor with a tasty, juicy, and flavorful bird and gravy.

From the advice I've gotten so far, it seems like, to rotisserie cook the turkey, I need to upgrade my rotisserie motor and invest in an entirely new cooking rig. I'm afraid that will cost more money than I want to spend, and, sadly, I don't have the space in my back yard to accommodate a new rig.

I really like your approach and will probably do, as you suggest, a trial run before the big day. I know I can buy turkey breasts and I suspect if I looked hard enough, I could find legs and thighs separately, too. I'm not much of a butcher, so I'm afraid I'd mess up the bird if I tried to butcher it myself.

Some questions for my test run include: Will I be able to generate enough drippings to flavor the gravy with just the breast meat cooking on the rotisserie in the Weber? How should I about curing the dark meat? I've never cured any meat before. I'll do some more research here to get some guidance on that. Will the cured meat taste too much like ham? (I've had one of those "pre-smoked" turkeys from Greenberg's and the meat was definitely too "hammy" for me.)

How do you go about pulling the tendons from the legs? I've tried it before, but I've been unsuccessful. I cut the leg off about an inch from the end before cooking. As the bird cooks, the tendons become exposed and, after cooking I've tried to pull them out with pliers, but I guess I've never been able to get them all. Am I going about that right? Maybe I just need to be a bit more patient?

Thanks to you and everyone who responded for the tips and suggestions.
 
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I have done quite a few chickens and turkey breasts on basically the same Weber Rotisserie (mine is a bit bigger (Weber Summit), I would be very worried about the size of the turkey versus the capability of of the motor and the clearance between the bird and the burners. Also, if you plan to catch the drippings, you will have even less room once you place a foil pan below the bird.

My 2 cents: Unless you are going to upgrade, I would probably not try it.

Thanks,

- Jason
 
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From the advice I've gotten so far, it seems like, to rotisserie cook the turkey, I need to upgrade my rotisserie motor and invest in an entirely new cooking rig.
I just went and looked at the Only Fire spinner for a Genesis 310 .
It says " Motor will hold 40 pounds " . I'm guessing it might be the one you have . 3/8's shaft .

I really like your approach and will probably do, as you suggest, a trial run before the big day.
I have a couple threads on doing turkey breast .
Will the cured meat taste too much like ham? (I've had one of those "pre-smoked" turkeys from Greenberg's and the meat was definitely too "hammy" for me.)
You don't have to cure them . The flavor will depend on how long you cure it . I usually don't fully cure poultry . As far as the store bought , you have no idea what was used on that .
I cut the leg off about an inch from the end before cooking. As the bird cooks, the tendons become exposed and, after cooking I've tried to pull them out with pliers,
Perfect approach . It's not easy , they don't always come out .
Let me know if you have any questions once you decide what you're going to do .
 
I just went and looked at the Only Fire spinner for a Genesis 310 .
It says " Motor will hold 40 pounds " . I'm guessing it might be the one you have . 3/8's shaft .

Edited to correct: I actually have a OneGrill with a 13W motor and a 3/8 in. spit rod. I was impressed with the build quality when I got it.

From what I've read so far, it seems like a Weber kettle equipped with a rotisserie accessory might be the most cost-effective option since my Genesis 310 won't do the job. I'll hunt around to see if I can find one used, or see if I could buy the rotisserie mounting hardware without the motor and shaft and re-use the Only Fire I have.

I think my next move, though, is to try your approach, putting the legs and thighs in the smoker but not curing them initially. I'll also hunt up your posts on turkey breasts.

Thanks again for the advice and suggestions.
 
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I have a Genesis that has the older front/back burners. I have an aftermarket rotisserie . In February I found a 14 pound turkey at Safeway for $7.

1716998330420.jpeg

I wiped it with EVO and used a standard rub. I put the two rotiessiere holders at right angles to each other, with the one on the leg end set to go into the breast and back. Doing this lets you get the thing balanced so the motor doesn’t strain.

I filled up a box with wood chips and cooked it at about 300-350 (it’s tough to keep it constant). It took 3:20.

I made stock out of the neck and remains after our first meal. Between the turkey soup and the leftovers, we ended up with exactly a dozen meals for two from a $7 turkey.

So, while I don’t know about 17 pounds, 14 pounds works just fine.
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