HELP! A 22 Pound Turkey!!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by navionjim, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. navionjim

    navionjim Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    So my wife relented and asked me to smoke the turkey for this Thanksgiving! I thought a cured brined bird would be the way to go but I hadn't even looked at what she had brought home until last night. I was thinking something in the range of 12 pounds would be about right. But she had gone completely overboard and bought this 22 pound monster!

    Oh well: For the brine I gallon of water was brought to a boil with:

    1. Juice and peal of one orange.
    2. Juice and peel of one lemon.
    3. 1.5 cups non iodized table salt.
    4. 3 tsp. Cure #1
    5. 2 tbs. fresh ground pepper
    6. 1 cup brown sugar.
    7. ¼ cup Zatterans’s Crawfish Boil
    8. 2 tsp. Tony Chachery’s
    9. 1 tbs. Adolph’s
    10. 15 smashed cloves of garlic
    11. 1 tbs. Onion powder
    12. About 2 tbs. Sage.
    13. 3 tbs. dried parsley
    14. 1 tbs. fresh chopped ginger.

    Following the boil, I allowed it to chill for two hours and added:

    15. 1 tbs. of Cherry Pepper sauce.
    16. 2 tbs. Soy Sauce.
    17. 1 pint Apple Cider Vinegar.
    18. 1 gallon apple juice from concentrate.

    The brine was chilled by the addition of the frozen apple juice concentrate and ice to make up the one gallon of Juice. The resulting brine was poured into a Turkey basting bag along with the bird. I'm figuring on leavening it until tonight, 24 hours dwell time, and then rinsing it off and letting it dry in the fridge until early Thursday morning. I might inject some butter under the skin tomorrow night if I get time and I'll slather the whole thing with Mayo too. I was thinking of hanging this monster on my turkey fryer rack with a beer can up it's butt to boot. I use a NBB vertical smoker so I can hang the bird in the chamber and tie up the wings and legs to keep it pretty.

    But as to temp and time I'm reading all sorts of different things here and this is a bigger bird than most. I'll be using pecan and a bit of cherry for the smoke. Does 300-325ºF sound right? I was thinking that 3-4 hour in smoke would be enough, and then finish in the oven, I don't want to over smoke it and I want it moist. I planed to pull it out when it hits 155-160ºF in the thick of the breast.

    Does this sound like a good plan? Should I use different temps or times? I've never done a whole turkey in the smoker and this one is bigger than recommended. 325ºF is also hard to hold in a NBB smoker, I may need to use two chimneys of lump along with the wood... Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.

    I sure don't want to mess this up and get her upset on Thanksgiving, she's a German / Irish/ Cherokee Indian/ red head! That means she's pure hell when things don't go as she planed.....

  2. dingle

    dingle Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I read about the "danger zone" in a bird over 12 lbs. I'm sure there will be more to give you input on this. Anything to worry about??
  3. glued2it

    glued2it Master of the Pit

    I like to smoke them untill They get a good color to them(not timed).
    I would't pull it out untill it reached 165°.

    just my 2cents

    Other than that, Sounds like you got it under control!
  4. navionjim

    navionjim Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Yeah, that's what concerns me too, and it's why I added the cure#1 to the brine and I'm thinking of smoking at higher than usual temps, if I can get my smoker that hot that is. I could also start it in the oven and finish in the smoker, but that sounds odd to me. I know a guy who does that with brisket, but it rubs me wrong to even think about it.
  5. zapper

    zapper Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I would say to keep the cavity open and shoot for 350 steady if you can. I would also keep it in the smoker the whole time if temp control is good, just cut back on the smoking wood after awhile and let the charcoal continue to smoke it.

    I have to copy your brine, but it looks like it would cost twice as much as the bird!

    I really hope to see some pics of all of these turkeys this year. I am on the road and will be a Turkeyday guest, so I am not doing my own bird this year.
  6. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would suggest considering a higher temperature if you can, even 350 if you can. That's a huge bird to be cooking at a low temperature and it may stay in the danger zone (40 - 140) way too long if you don't go that high. Even at that temperature I think you are looking at a 5-6 hour smoke.

    I never cooked one that large so I can't give you real world experience. May someone who has can chime in.
  7. Since Dad says we are having beef tenderloin for thanksgiving, I decided to do my first smoked bird last sunday for football watchin'. 14 pounds @ 300 degrees for 4.5 hours with 3 hours smoke (maple,oak). Thought I was going to have to finish it in the oven, but after the third chimney and an 1.5 hours with no wood smoke, thigh topped out at 173degrees. Wrapped in foil while I caught up with the sides and it was all smokey, moistey goodness.
  8. navionjim

    navionjim Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    That all sound like good advice, I'll try and get to 350ºF and hold it for at least the first four hours. One of the other posts mentioned 20 minutes per pound at 350ºF, that's 7 hours and twenty minutes cooking time. I hope it doesn't take that long but I'll start at 6:30 AM just to make sure it's done in time for dinner. I ran short of my Post oak and had to actually buy some wood, they got me for $16.23 for a 30 pound bag of pecan wood! I'd have never have paid that except that I needed to make sure it was there when I needed it. Guess they knew Thanksgiving was coming.
  9. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've read from 15 - 20 minutes a pound at 325 - 350 but there are so many variables.

    I cooked a 4 lb bone in turkey breast the other day and it took 2 hours at an average temp of 330. It was windy and cold but I had my wind break out. I've also cooked a 6 lb breast that took a little over 2 hours. Go figure.

    It's very hard to time these things which is especially frustrating on turkey day when you are doing a million and one other things.

    Good luck with it.
  10. smokeys my pet

    smokeys my pet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Try that butterfly thing someone posted here a week or so ago. It was also on youtube and showed us how to cut it. May make cook time a little faster?????????????
  11. badss

    badss Meat Mopper

    she's a German / Irish/ Cherokee Indian/ red head! That means she's pure hell when things don't go as she planed.....

    Hey Jimbo,
    Can't help with the bird but the explanation of your partner was enough to have me on the floor in stitches and for sure...I'd be asking for help brother! Good luck on the smoke!
  12. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru


    For safety sake do kick it up to 325 to 350 if you can. I've always gotten around 15 miuntes / lbs on turkey and chicken. I do mine 350 to 375 more often than not. Brine and inject then smoke that sucker hot!
  13. navionjim

    navionjim Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    The Hots have it then, I'm going for all the heat I can get, if I keep two chimneys of lump burning and the smoke wood going in frequently I think I can maintain 350ºF. I plan on lighting the fire at about 6:30AM tomorrow morning. Thanks for the tips and I'll let y'all know how it goes..... If you don't hear from me then you will know it went bad and my wife killed me..

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