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Turkey times

bama bbq

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I've seen a lot of posts lately for temps and times to cook a turkey.  I found this chart on the web somewhere in the past and I think it's a pretty good reference.  I recommend cooking turkey 325-350*F and NOT stuffing the turkey to ensure you're out of the danger zone quickly enough not to ruin Thanksgiving.  Last year my 23# turkey took 3 hours to get to 140*F internal at 325-350*F. Turkey should not take an hour per lb. Cooking at 325-350 also helps brown and crisp the skin.  Foam recommends Kitchen Bouquet to get a nice Mahogany color (I bought my bottle yesterday).  I hope this helps.
Approximate Roasting Times (@ 325*) for Unstuffed Turkey
         
Turkey Weight - Hours    
6 to 8 pounds - 2-1/2 to 3 hours  
8 to 12 pounds- 3 to 4 hours  
12 to 16 pounds - 4 to 5 hours  
16 to 20 pounds - 5 to 5-1/2 hours  
20 to 24 pounds - 5-1/2 to 6 hours  
       
Edit: I'd like to add one more note of caution straight from the Butterball website dealing with smokers: "Check the temperature of your turkey after 3½ hours. Your turkey must pass through a critical range of 40° F to 140° F in 4 hours or less. If the internal temperature is low after 3½ hours, take your turkey off the smoker and finish it in the oven."

I've found that if you cook at higher temps (325-350*F) this won't be an issue.  Just think of the pit as an outdoor oven and you'll be rewarded with a flavorful treat.
 
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pgsmoker64

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Hey, great information Bama!

One mistake new smokers make is treating a turkey like they would a brisket or butt.  Poultry smokes up really nicely at higher temps and as you mentioned, the skin crisps up nicely!

Again, excellent information!

Bill
 

nmaust

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Awesome advice. I'm trying my first turkey this Thanksgiving and was thinking low and slow cook, but this sounds like the way to go.
 

bama bbq

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Awesome advice. I'm trying my first turkey this Thanksgiving and was thinking low and slow cook, but this sounds like the way to go.
You won't be sorry. BBQ turkey ROCKS! Plus, it frees up the oven for more important stuff like PIE! LOL
 
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pc farmer

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What about a spatched turkey?   

I am doing this for turkey day.
 

nmaust

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One should never understate the importance of pie. What do you think as far as wood goes? I'm big on pecan, apple & cherry, but for some reason using peach and spritzing with bourbon popped in my head.
 

bama bbq

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What about a spatched turkey?   

I am doing this for turkey day.
I don't have approx times for a spatchock bird. It will cook faster. All times are approximate. The truth lies in the temperature. Just go by temps.
 
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bama bbq

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One should never understate the importance of pie. What do you think as far as wood goes? I'm big on pecan, apple & cherry, but for some reason using peach and spritzing with bourbon popped in my head.
That sounds great! When you're pouring the bourbon don't forget the cook's cut.
 
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foamheart

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All the electric smokers used to have time temperature charts for all meats. All the internal temperature cooking is not that old. But with IT being available these days and its the best way to get safe and tastee food. IT make a cook a pit master with little practice, so its a good thing.

I had fireburner and pit experience before I got a electric, back in the 80's. It helped a bunch but learning the old analog electrics was fun. If you would like to look at some of their recipes and suggested cooking times go to:

Old Smokey/Manuals/ and there are a couple to choose from on the page, I think I still have those on my bookshelf. never know when the RF thermometer will go out....LOL I don't think the candy thermometer would work.
 

texfinn

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Hold on...

How in the hell do you get your smoker all the way up to 325-350 degrees? Mine (Masterbuilt gas smoker) hardly ever goes over 250. Which is great when smoking beef, pork and fish, of course, but I don't think it is even designed to run that hot. Or are the temps and times in OP's post more applicable to you guys with the bigger and fancier contraptions?

Since I haven't done a whole turkey before, I'm trying to learn as much about the process as possible before T-day, any and all pointers are appreciated.
 

fwismoker

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Hold on...

How in the hell do you get your smoker all the way up to 325-350 degrees? Mine (Masterbuilt gas smoker) hardly ever goes over 250. Which is great when smoking beef, pork and fish, of course, but I don't think it is even designed to run that hot. Or are the temps and times in OP's post more applicable to you guys with the bigger and fancier contraptions?

Since I haven't done a whole turkey before, I'm trying to learn as much about the process as possible before T-day, any and all pointers are appreciated.
No not necessarily bigger or fancier contraptions....I'm cooking turkeys on two $200 smokers.     One is a "fancy" 55 gallon drum and the other is a Jumbo Joe with a 80 qt pot....both smokers will cook over 400 degrees if i wanted.  If you want those higher temps just expand your horizons in types of smokers. 

 
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foamheart

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That's terrible, I can't believe people would go on private property and paint nasty graffiti like that on your smoker.  Probably just children and/or social outcasts.

You going to paint it all gold now to cover that up? I doubt that all black would cover it.
 

so ms smoker

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Hold on...

How in the hell do you get your smoker all the way up to 325-350 degrees? Mine (Masterbuilt gas smoker) hardly ever goes over 250. Which is great when smoking beef, pork and fish, of course, but I don't think it is even designed to run that hot. Or are the temps and times in OP's post more applicable to you guys with the bigger and fancier contraptions?

Since I haven't done a whole turkey before, I'm trying to learn as much about the process as possible before T-day, any and all pointers are appreciated.
  Not a big problem. If your smoker won't go that high, smoke at it's highest temp till nearly done, then finish on a hot grill to crisp the skin.

  PS   Maroon and white makes a smoker look really good!

   Mike
 
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bama bbq

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  Not a big problem. If your smoker won't go that high, smoke at it's highest temp till nearly done, then finish on a hot grill to crisp the skin.

  PS   Maroon and white makes a smoker look really good!

   Mike
If the cooker won't get to the higher temps you have to get a smaller bird.
 
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fwismoker

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  Not a big problem. If your smoker won't go that high, smoke at it's highest temp till nearly done, then finish on a hot grill to crisp the skin.

  PS   Maroon and white makes a smoker look really good!

   Mike
Gotta be careful that you get past the danger zone in time is what this is referring too...not crisping skin.   A 6 lb yard bird on a MES or a propane that won't go much over 250 isn't a problem but big turkeys could get dangerous if folks don't keep those food safety rules in mind. 
 

sacedbysapp

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What would be my concerns with stuffing a 9 and 12lb turkey with orange's lemon's onion carrots celery smoking 275-300 in that 4hr danger zone?
 

chef jimmyj

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What would be my concerns with stuffing a 9 and 12lb turkey with orange's lemon's onion carrots celery smoking 275-300 in that 4hr danger zone?
Not a problem. Just put one of each Fruit and Veg so it is not over stuffed...

If smokers will not go over 275°F you are limited to whole 12Lb Birds or 16Lb Spatched Birds. Smoke at highest temp until an IT of 150°F then finish in a 425°F Oven to get crisp skin and a fully cooked bird...JJ
 

dpeart

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If you cure the turkey in a liquid brine (Pop's recipe) does it affect the cook time?

thanks,

dave
 

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