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Transporting a smoked turkey


Joined Nov 23, 2013
So, I have been asked to smoke an 18lbs turkey in Austin, TX and then transport it to San Angelo, TX. I will have to smoke the turkey Tuesday, then drive out on Wednesday and have dinner Thursday. What do I do??? I’ve been told I can wrap it in foil and leave it in a cooler (warm) until the day of and re-heat in the over. I’ve also been told to cool it down and keep it in the frig and then transport on ice. I’m not sure what to do, I don’t want a bird that will get my family sick, or turn out bad.


Master of the Pit
Joined May 12, 2013
Hello pw .  Welcome.  I see this is your first post.  Please take some time and swing over to Roll Call and introduce yourself so that we may give you a proper "Hello".  All info you can provide us with such as smoker type, location and so on will help us answer any questions you may have.  As for your question:  Here is my opinion for what it is worth.  Others will have different advice.  This is only my opinion.  I would cool the bird down and stick it in the fridge.  Transport it cold.  That is just too long to leave that bird without refrigeration.  My motto on these things is ALWAYS err on the side of caution.  This will be served to people you love, why risk it? Good luck.



RIP. Gone but never forgotten.
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 4, 2013
Whole birds are pretty but not really practical for transporting more than across town. Austin to San Angelo ain't bad though. Your problem is reheating a whole bird. Time and oven space on Turkey day is hard to come by. Re-heating a whole turkey while retaining moisture and texture is a pain.

Me I would probably carve the bird in large like primal pieces and place in pans add a bit of moisture and cover and in the reefer. Then when ya get ready to go set it in a cooler with ziplock bags of ice to insure no contamination.

What is more important? Good looks or good taste?


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Jun 26, 2007
With your time frame it will be tough to do a whole bird. I do not see any way possible to keep a bird warm for over a day in a cooler. I have taken them 4 hours away and the temp was getting close.  My suggestion is to carve the bird place it in pans, and reheat it. I have done this several times, with no deterioration of flavor. I pore about 1 cup chicken broth or stock over cover and reheat in a 350 oven for 30-45 min. 


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 12, 2013
I have to agree with sprky. That is they way I do it too. I always have to transportall.my turkey. I use a little chicken broth in the serving pans and reheat with the lid on the pan. Since I carve before hand I also separate the wings and leg /thighs off the body to smoke . This helps my turkey to finish at different time as nd stay moist.


Thread starter
Joined Nov 23, 2013
I agree with all of you! I thought that trying to hold it that long was a bad idea. Thank you all for your advice. 

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