Need some help

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by lexscsmoker, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. lexscsmoker

    lexscsmoker Fire Starter

    Since the ribs and fatties turned out good I want to try a turkey. I plan on picking up a 15lb fella for my Dad's b-day. How long should will it take to cook? Also, what should a good temp be?
    Thanks for the input.
  2. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    lex -

    i've never done a turkey, but you can get the answers by downloading this safe zip file -

    it's a word document of the BBQFAQ - there's quite a bit of discussion on everything BBQ, including turkeys.

    good luck!
  3. pignit

    pignit Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm not a turkey expert but I do know that when I do poultry I fire my smoker up as high as I can get it to burn. For me... thats about 300 degrees. I'd suggest smokin between 275 and 325 to get a nice crusty skin goin. I'd also take the bird to 165 and cover to let rest. The suggested temp for poultry is 170. Of course the time it takes to cook will be depending on your temp but I would guess between 5 and 7 hours. Let us know how it turns out.
  4. fog

    fog Newbie

    I smoke my turkeys at around 225, and you can figure about 30 to 40 min. per pound and i'll pull it when temp. reaches around 170 in the thickest part of the breast cover and let rest awhile. since you've never done a bird i recomend you give this a read.
    good luck and enjoy
  5. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Whenever I do turkey I have to cook it at 220-230 depending on wind and my sketchy little red bullet (can't wait for the SnP) and it always comes out very tasty but if you want a nice skin that you can eat or at least looks good you have to take it higher like PignIt said, 275-325. If you do it lower the bird will be fine but the skin will be like rubber. Though finishing on a grill or under the broiler you can still crisp the skin but a lot of times (due to the high broiling temp) the skin will cook and shrink really quick and that will cause it to tean. It will be crisp on top but not all the way through so not really what you would consider a "tasty skin".
    If smoking and crisping on an open flame just make sure to pull it off around 150 or so and grill, still making sure you get the temp. to at least 165 but preferably 170 to be safe.
    You are probably looking at about a 6-7 hour smoke, but make sure to use a probe to be sure.
    Also, please...make it a point to brine the bird, if you have never brined before I can give you a "simple brine" recipe, or there are many, many different brines on this site.

    After the first time I actually brined some poultry and had that thing melt in my mouth like a piece of heavenly butter I have refused to cook any poultry without brining first.
    Wishing you good luck, happy smoking.
  6. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    There is another important reason to smoke it at 275° to 325° that has nothing to do with crispy skin. If you cook it at low temps you also have to be careful of the bird spending too long much time in the danger zone between 40° and 140°. Especially on a big bird. I believe the recommended max size turkey for smoking is 12lbs unless you spatchcock it and lay it flat. And do not stuff a bird that you are smoking.

  7. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    I like to brine and spatchcock my birds.

    I usually cook them over high heat (325* ish) for a couple of hours.
  8. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You have a nice sized bird there! Smoked them that size and a bit bigger on my SnP. We eat turkey year round here at home- good slicing for sammies.

    For safety and taste/appearance reasons I have always aimed for 325 when smoking turkey or chicken. Works out perfect everytime. If you shoot for 325 on an unmodded SnP, when you have a temp drop or spike, you will still be okay.

    Never stuff it except for a couple wedges of orange, limes or lemons. Sometimes a quartered onion.

    If you use a handheld probe thermo, stick the thick part of the thigh as well as the breast and pull it off at 165 F then let it rest a bit, It can be higher, but I wouldn't pull off a big bird like that under 165.

    There is a lot more great advice above me on this thread. Take it all into account and figure out what you want to do. Don't be shy about asking more questions, we're all glad to help you out!

    Good luck to you and may the TBS follow...

  9. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Smoke turkey at 325* to an internal a 170* in the breast er the heavy thigh.

    Ya can brine that bird ifin ya wan't some good recipes in this section fer that to.

    Rule a thumb is 1 1/2 hours a pound, but sometimes that be true an sometimes it ain't.

    Good Luck.
  10. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    I trust you are refering to your brine time with that rule of thumb? Right?[​IMG] Otherwise, I think you'd end up with turkey jerky by smoking a 15 lb bird for 22 hours (yikes). [​IMG]
  11. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I did my first turkey last Thanksgiving, and understandably I wanted it to turn out good for family and guests (we also did a ham, but hey, it's my reputation on the line). I followed a step by step tutorial that I found at this link:

    In preparation of the event, I did a couple of Chickens following this process the weekend before, and when it came to showtime, I have to tell you, it was the most delicious turkey I have ever prepared. One of the things that was so nice, is that I did the gravy (minus the apple juice) in the smoker and it was unbelievable! I had a large roasing pan underneath the turkey with lots of aromatic veggies and some stock to catch the turkey drippings and juice as my gravy starter. I won't do them any other way from this point on.

    I brined it in a large zip top bag (it was like a 2.5 or 5 gallon one) and put it in a cooler with bags of ice, and it worked really well. I didn't get the cooler nasty because it was contained, and I didn't have to worry about it springing a leak and having gallons of "turkey brine" spilling in my fridge. All in all, a great tutorial on how to do a large bird that will have your guests raving about your incredible skills! Good Luck, and happy birthday to your father.
  12. bigsteve

    bigsteve Master of the Pit

    What are you cooking on? Lots of guys make smoked Turkeys on a Weber kettle. I haven't done one yet, but I have eaten turkey off a Weber. They smoke them hotter than a smoker, they finish quick, and the ones I've eaten haven been moist and very tasty.
  13. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Pre coffee postin never works!

    Brine overnight, at least 12 hours.

    Smoke time on a turkey usually works out bout 30 minutes a pound, dependin on smoke temp an weather conditions. We smoke by temp not time, but that be a guideline anyway.
  14. lexscsmoker

    lexscsmoker Fire Starter

    Thanks for the input. I am using a GOSM. Would y'all recommend brining even if I plan on using an injector? If I still need to brine what is an easy way to do it?

    Thanks BBQ Engineer for the link. Looks like a whole bunch of work involved, but should be well worth it. Since I've never done one I might have to make a bunch of fatties in case the turkey doesn't come out good.
  15. travcoman45

    travcoman45 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Slaughterhouse Poultry Brine By Tip Piper of Hillbilly Vittles
    1 ½ Gal Water
    ½ C Salt - Kosher
    ½ C Dark Brown Sugar
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Onion Powder
    2 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
    2 tsp Celery Seed

    Slaughterhouse Poultry Injection
    ½ Pkg Good Seasons Italian Dressing
    2 tsp Garlic Powder
    2 tsp Celery Seed
    2 TBS melted Butter (non salted)
    2 C Apple Cider

    Slaughterhouse Spritz (Good fer everthin!)
    8 oz Apple Cider
    6 oz Water
    4 oz Whiskey
    2 oz Cider Vinegar
    Wash yer bird, inject, then inta the brine fer at least overnight. Pull outa the brine, rinse, let set fer awhile ta dry, then give it some rub an inta a 325* smoker to an internal temp of 170*. I spritz each hour, but that be upta yall.

    I do lots a poultry, an this works out real well.

    I do my brinin in a food grade 5 gallon bucket. Try ta keep the temp around 38*, much more en that an ya can get spoilage, much less an it slows the brinin way down.

    Good luck.

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