big bird

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by smokeluver, May 20, 2013.

  1. I have a 30 lb. turkey i am smoking for memorial day. never done a bird that big. any info on cooking times and temps would be greatly appreated. char-griller barrell style smoker  with side fire box. charcoal of course. thanks in advance.
  2. I always cooked turkeys at 325 or 350 degrees at 20 minutes per pound. Why: because that is what my Mom use to do and they were always great. If you are going to brine, you will need a bath tub to soak it, so I would suggest injecting it with your home made marinade of chicken broth, butter, a whole garlic run through a garlic press, salt pepper, onion powder and whatever you like. In a smoker cooking slow, I would do that bird at 250 degrees and cook it slow until the internal temperature between the breast and leg is 165 and not one degree less. If this bird were done in a household oven it would be 30 Lbs. x 20 minutes per pound or 600 minutes which is 10 hours. This is going to be a long cook on your smoker so I would suggest that you begin the night before on the smoker. This could be a 15 to 16 hour smoke  or more. You may want to see what other say for a bird that large or do some other research on the web. But, do not take that bird out until you reach 165 degrees. When you take it out, you may want to put into your household oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes to crisp up that skin.

    Good luck and have a great day!


  3. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A bird that big should be done in an oven, grill or a smoker at  325° and nothing less for fresh turkey.  Otherwise, you severely risk botulism and other nasties developing in your bird.  Repeat - 325° or higher.

    Now, if you are going to CURE the turkey (not just brining it, but curing it) with #1 CURING SALT  , you can smoke it at 225° - 250° and cook it 10 hours no problem; it is being protected by the curing solution.

    You can find out more in :  and several other posts.
  4. i just checked back to see what others might say. I would go with Pops recommendation of 325 or higher. If you are going to do this then do this in your home oven. If you want to serve at 5:00 PM, then you would need to start at 7:00 AM. You still can inject the turkey with whatever you want and have a delicious bird. Cover the bird with a little tin foil so as not to burn the top skin. 


  5. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also, would you please go to Roll Call and tell us about yourself so we can welcome you properly, and also add a location to your profile!  Thank you so much!
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    As Pops suggested you need to go Hot Smoke if you want to the bird whole. Low and Slow, <275*F can only be truly safe on Turkeys under 14Lbs. If it is not important to do the Norman Rockwell Carving at the Table you have the option to cut the Turkey up, this will make Brining that Birdzilla easier too. Remove the Backbone, this can be smoked or roasted to make the Stock for Gravy. Then split the bird in half through the breastbone, then separate the Leg Quarters from the Breast. These 4 large pieces will smoke up safely at any temp above 225*F but for one step Crispy Skin smoking above 300*F is still recommended. The benefit here is you will save a bunch of time and the meat will cook more evenly. Calculate your 30 Minutes/Lb based on the weight of one Breast lobe, BUT add the Leg Quarters 1 hour early then add the Breast lobes and all will come out at the same time with the Breasts at 165*F and the Leg Quarters will be the more desirable 170-175*F. Here are some Poultry recipes you may like. Good Luck...JJ

    Families Favorite Brine

    1/2C Kosher Salt

    2T Paprika

    2T Gran. Garlic

    2T Gran. Onion

    2T Dry Thyme

    2T Black Pepper

    1C Vinegar (Any)

    1-11/2Gal Cold Water to cover Chix

    1/2C Brown Sugar, Optional

    1T Red Pepper Flake Optional

    Starting Two Days out...

    Mix well and Soak the Bird over night or up to 24 Hours.

    Remove the Chix, rinse if desired and pat dry with paper towels.

    Place in an open container in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours for the Skin to dry.

    This will give a crispier skin when Smokng or Roasting...

    Bubba Chix Rub

    1/2C Raw Sugar

    2T Paprika (I use Smoked if I'm just Grilling)

    1T Cayenne

    1T Gran. Garlic

    1T Gran. Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp Wht Pepper

    1tsp Allspice

    1tsp Bell's Poultry Seasoning or Thyme

    Mix well. You can put directly on the skin or mix with Butter, Oil or Bacon Grease and rub on and under the Skin.

    Reduce Cayenne to 1teaspoon if less heat is desired.

    Smokey Turkey Gravy

    Your Turkey Backbone, cut in 3-4 pieces.

    1- Lg Onion,

    4-5 Carrots,

    3-4 Ribs Celery

    3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

    Toss them in a pan under the Turkey, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

    THEN add 4-6 Cups Chicken Broth,

    1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)

    1/2tsp Dry Sage (2 sprigs Fresh)

    1-2 ea Bayleaf

    Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want.

    While the Turkey is resting, dump the pan juices, veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and bones then let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus then quickly removed, take off the last little bit of fat.Bring the Jus back to a simmer. Mix 2T Flour and 4T Chicken Broth for each Cup of defatted Jus. Whisk together to make a Slurry with no lumps, add a little additional Broth if needed. Whisk the Slurry into the simmering Jus, bring back to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes to cook out the flour taste and fully thicken the Gravy. Adjust the seasoning with Salt and Pepper and serve.

    The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

    Serve the sliced Turkey with plenty of Gravy and Enjoy...
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Chef JJ has you covered on cooking this big bird. Even if I was oven cooking it I'd cut it up. The only thing I'd add is get that smoke chamber temp 25*-50* above your target temp before putting the bird parts in. That cold mass of meat is going to drop the smoke chamber temp quite a bit and recovery is going to take awhile. Cook to an I temp not time. Good luck and post some q-view
  8. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Brining is good, I am learning about brining because the only way Pop ever cooked his was injection, hence I have only ever done injection.

    A secret I learned about injection. I steep my flavors. Just like steeping a pot of tea. This allows the flavors to release the oils and flavors into the liquid medium and I can trash the stems and seeds. It makes for a better movement thru the meat instead of pooling. We have all seen those breasts where there is one big plug of butter and spices and dry next to it. Its a simple task and especially if you use an cattle injection needle (I do), it also doesn't plug the needle either. Lots of small amounts is much better than a few large amounts.

    BTW I would make sure that a 30 lb turkey would fit whatever you plan to cook it on, however you plan to cook it.

    Please show us some pictures. You know we are all jealous, we would love to do a 30 pound turkey. Just to have done it.

    (Guys you thing this would be a good place for one of those Turkey ligament removal tools you were showing?)
  9. Sorry, Idid my roll call just a few mins ago. was deciding what to say about myself. thanks for the info.
  10. sorry no pics yet. doing it for a friend. when I see it will take some and post them.
  11. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    That's O.K. this time , Smokeluver. (no Q-view) . But to prevent being sent to [​IMG]  ,

    you need to send some for our    pleasure . . .  [​IMG]



    Have fun and as always . . .

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