Thanksgiving Turkey

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DUB_Echo

Newbie
Original poster
Sep 7, 2021
17
15
I know everyone is getting their smokers ready for thanksgiving-
I smoked a turkey the last 2 thanksgivings using indirect heating on my propane Webber grill. They both came out great. First year was about 8lb last year was about 12lb.
this year my wife bought an 18lb turkey!
it’s a little daunting. I’ve been digging around the forum and have been seeing a lot of conflicting info. Some people say have to spatchcock it cause it’s too big, others saying no problem smoke away.
I’m definitely worried about getting out of the danger zone in time.
I’m planning on doing a wet brine (bought a Kinders brine kit)
I have a Masterbuilt MS30 electric smoker.
Any input is very appreciated.

Any input is very appreciated.

Also, if anyone has good tutorial on making gravy from the dripping send it my way!
 
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As far as the turkey unless it has changed recently the USDA doesn't recommend smoking a turkey over 12 lbs.
That being said you can spatchcock it and be ok or you can smoke it at high temp like 325-350 at which point the smoker becomes like an oven with smoke added.
 
I know everyone is getting their smokers ready for thanksgiving-
I smoked a turkey the last 2 thanksgivings using indirect heating on my propane Webber grill. They both came out great. First year was about 8lb last year was about 12lb.
this year my wife bought an 18lb turkey!
it’s a little daunting. I’ve been digging around the forum and have been seeing a lot of conflicting info. Some people say have to spatchcock it cause it’s too big, others saying no problem smoke away.
I’m definitely worried about getting out of the danger zone in time.
I’m planning on doing a wet brine (bought a Kinders brine kit)
I have a Masterbuilt MS30 electric smoker.
Any input is very appreciated.

Any input is very appreciated.

Also, if anyone has good tutorial on making gravy from the dripping send it my way!
I have the same smoker, I bought a beer can turkey unit and do the same thing every year take all racks out except for bottom, stand that puppy up in there!(like chris farley in airplane crapper!) I dont use a beer can tho just open cavity for smoke and heat to pass thru. 275 degrees, digital probe in the breast. Also using a smoke genny which makes it so easy, no babysittin! tip: try not open the smoker at all thru the whole process. good luck
 
I have smoked 20+ lbs birds till the end with no problems but prefer to cheat and have crispy skin without any problems
 
I have an MES 30 . I wouldn't do a whole turkey that size in it . I always cut the breast out . Does a good job on those .
 
18 lbs is pretty big for an MES 30.
Like Piney said, the USDA recommends no larger than 12 pounds for smoking.
So if you must just Smoke it, make sure you pre-heat it for about an hour to get all the interior of the smoker good & hot @ 275°. And don't even think about stuffing it.

Bear
 
If I were you I would part it out. Cut the breast off & spatchcock it. Then cook the thighs on a separate rack. Run your smoker at the highest temp it will run.
I did a 22lb. turkey in a bit over 3 hours.
Al
 
I do 20 lb turkey's every year. I always spatchcock and inject. Never had any problems, and it is always juicy perfect!!
 
In an MES30 that may be too big, you may be able to split it in half and cook on two seprate racks over a pan to catch all the drippings. You don't want the drippings getting to the bottom and steaming up and fighting your element from getting to top temp. This just happened to me in my MES40 with 2 parted out 23lbs turkeys.

So in short I think the spatchcock guys are right for your smoker BUT you will have to go 1 step further and cut it in half and go to 2 racks.
Crank up the smoker to max! If you get to 3.5 hrs and you arent over 140F internal temp then throw it on a hot grill if you have one and finish it there.

Finally, your turkey skill will be leathery and the only thing that may make it edible is to finish on the grill. I finished out my turkey parts on a 700F grill and just got into the realm of edible skin. Definitely not crispy and my grill get's SUPER hot. I've personally never had luck with a grill or broiler with turkey skin I just use my modified MES40 to cook at 325F which works.
Problem this time... I couldn't catch all the drippings and the steam from the foiled over drip pan was keeping the element from ever heating up enough to get to 325F. I was mostly at 260F for most of the smoke so grill to the rescue to barely get edible skin.

I hope all this info helps :)
 
Thanks everyone! Going to cut it in half and smoke it at 275. Really appreciate everyone’s input on this thread!! Thanks so much for the help
Now getting ready to cut it in half and get the brine going
 
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6 hours in the smoker 275 275 pulled looks great, wrapped in tin foil and a towel sitting in a cooler resting while we finish up the rest of the sides. Will post pics when it’s ready to slice!
Got some grilled veggies, homemade Mac & cheese, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, corn bread, homemade ice cream, and experimenting with some smoked peach ice cream.
 
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Sounds like you're about set to be very full and get sleepy really soon! Look forward to the pics!

Ryan
 
Very successful and very full! The first pic is half of the turkey off the smoker
 

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