large smoked turkey - looking for some advice

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by tucson bbq fan, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. I'm going to smoke a 22.5 pound turkey for the family gathering this Thanksgiving.  I'm trying to get an estimate of cooking time to set my schedule.

    I'm planning on brining it for 24 hrs, then smoking at 275-300, and pulling it at an IT of 165F and resting it covered for 45 minutes or so.

    Anyone got ay approximate cooking times for that size and cooking temps?

    Thanks in advance
  2. catfish1st

    catfish1st Fire Starter

  3. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    That big a turkey will need low and slow or it will be so tuff you'll wish you had two smaller ones vice the one large.

    First you said brined. Will there be any cure in that brine? You need to get turkeys to about 140 IT (Internal temperature), in approx 4 hours (plus or minus a few mins.). But that being done you can slow cook that sucker. If you have brined/cured your bird that rule of thrumb is relaxed. Either way, you want to look at low and slow.

    Using low and slow guide lines (I think you may be planing too hot) I would guess approx. 12 hours. A 22 pound turkey is not a young bird. At your planned temps I would be affraid you might get juicy but so tuff one bite will go a long way. Thats just my thought on it. At 275 I did a 13 lb. turkey and it wasn't really tuff, but it was no where near as tender IMHO as one done at 220/225.

    The bigger the bird, the older it is.

    That is a guesstimation on the time. Everyone these day uses the IT to insure the safety of the meat as well as the prime flavor, juiciness (is that right?), and tender meats.

    I do wish you luck with your smoke.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  4. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tuconfan , hello. I'll make it a bit easier... you're looking at appox. 30min./lb. ,being that it can get from Refridgerator temp. to 145 in 4hrs.

    With a 22.5 lb. bird you'll be a bit perturbed with a whole Bird; so , I suggest doing a Split Turkey . Yes, double trouble , but IMHO , safer . (Gives more time to be alone too) .

    You'll do good and you said you're going to 165*F , so I suppose you have a good therm. , so have a happy and use the time thingy as a guide only[​IMG]
  5. Thanks Foamheart. 

    Yes, there will be some cure in the brine.  I can certainly go low and slow, but wanted a crisper skin on the legs/thighs/wings.  I suppose I could go low and slow up to some lower temp (maybe 130-145) then raise the temp to 375 or so to finish it.
  6. Thanks Oldschoolbbq.  What do you mean by "safer" when splitting the turkey?

    and, yes, I have a good therm and always use the temperature as a final guide, but want to be somewhere in the ballpark for time to have other dishes coming out at about the right time.
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tucon, even though the Bird may get through the danger zone from the Appox. temp. of 45*F of the Refer , to a Bacteria safe zone of 165*F in 4 hours , Splitting the mass will dispell that , with heat in the 300's you should be good to go.

    Whew , now I have a headache , thanks . . .[​IMG]
  8. catfish1st

    catfish1st Fire Starter

    Sorry about sending you to Bears page.

    Here is one for you to look at,

    First time smoking turkey...need advice

    Copy and paste the above in the Search Bar.

    I smoke a lot of turkey but always 10-12 lbs.

    I use my rotisserie for larger birds, that's the reason I didn't offer my smoking details on turkey as they wouldn't be any help to you.

    Just use the search bar for any type of smoking you want to do and you will get a lot of info.

    Good luck and  welcome aboard!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  9. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  10. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree with splitting or if your smoker has the room spatchcocking the bird. With either approach you'll get a more even cook in the thigh and breast. I assume you probe both. Typically the breast will finish before the thigh. When split or spatched the two will finish closer to the same time which will mean the breast won't be as likely to dry out.

    I do high temp smokes for poultry and have never had an issue with tough meat. Last years bird was smoked at 365, spatched cooked to an it of 165 in the thigh. The breast was 168. Juicy moist perfectly smokey goodness.
  11. Thanks Mule - how was the bird?  Tender, tough?  I'm looking at what Foamheart and others have said about large birds being tough.  Your profile/results was more along the lines of what I was thinking about doing.  I'm assuming that you did NOT brine - since you said you injected it?
  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I do a 20+ lb. bird every year, I brine it, put a rub on it, and throw it in the smoker at 250-275. It always comes out tender and moist - never once had a complaint about dry bird.
  13. How long does it usually take?
  14. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Usually about 6 hrs. had one go as long as 7 hrs., but I think that one may not have thawed all the way to the bone.
  15. This one was just injected. I often brine and then inject then rub. Maybe even fallowed by a slather. The only dry turkey I have ever had was cooked by someone who cooked by time not IT.

    Happy smoken.

  16. Thanks to everyone who provided advice.  The 22.7 lb turkey came out great - but I forgot to take photos![​IMG]

    Brined for about 24 hours, then rinsed, patted dry, put back in fridge with a small fan on top to dry out the skin for 3 hours.  I did NOT spatchcock it.

    Chopped up some fresh sage, compounded it with butter and rubbed the compounded butter/sage mixture under the skin.

    Put some sprigs of fresh sage, rosemary and Thyme in the cavity with a couple of orange quarters - left plenty of room for the smoke to circulate.

    Put the bird on a rack in a large, Al foil drip pan (steam tray liner).  Used Maple and Cherry woods, set to 275F.

    Cooked for 5.5 hours, then cranked the temp up to 350 for the last 30 minutes - inner thigh at 165, breast at 172.

    Took it out, tented it for 40 minutes, then carved.  Skin nice and crisp, very juicy, everyone liked it.

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