Reheating a smoked turkey???

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by shred, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. So I'm making Christmas dinner at my parents' house.  I would like to smoke a turkey (I'll partially cook in the smoker and partially in the oven as it will be a big bird), but I won't be able to do it on Tuesday.  It'll have to be done Monday night.

    Does anyone have a good way to reheat the bird Tuesday night without drying it out or should I just give up on the smoke idea and oven cook it when I get there?

    Another thought would be to just smoke it a couple hours when I get to their house and then throw it in the oven to finish it.  I'll be pressed for time with a 20+ lb bird, though.  We won't get there until at least noon.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  2. I would break it down into pieces and reheat, covered, in a 325 degree oven.

    Not a good idea.

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
    shred likes this.
  3. So you're suggesting I won't ruin the bird if I pre-cook and then reheat at their house?

    Also - I don't mean that I'd start it in the smoker at home and then bring it to their house a 60 or 70 degrees.  I mean I'd do the entire cooking there... time is my only concern in this case.

    I've read a couple different things.  Is it better to add smoke first and then quickly cook in the oven or bring it to temp ( >140) in the oven and then add smoke?
  4. austinl

    austinl Smoking Fanatic

    Fully cook the bird ahead of time and in the last 2-3 hours of cooking place the bird in a roasting pan with about 1/2" of standing sauce, such as an appropriate mop or basting sauce for your particular meat.  This will allow the sauce to pick up some of the flavor of the meat and the smoke while cooking so it does not cover up the original flavors and will provide some moisture during reheating.  If you want to take it a step further carve the bird after cooking and you can toss the meat in the sauce after reheating and the flavors will blend well; you also have a pan to transport everything in, reheat, and serve in.  I follow this method for most of my smoked meats.
    shred likes this.
  5. I did this same thing last year, and when I reheated it there was nothing I could have done to keep it from drying out a little. I honestly wish I would have just served it cold. A cold smoked turkey is still better than a hot oven baked turkey....good luck.
  6. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Just for future reference, if you have the need for alot of turkey (your cooking a 20# bird) just get 2 of the birds at 10-12 pounds each.  Smoke them at 300 degrees, shouldn't take more than 2 1/2 -3 hours to get above 165 IT. 

    And by all means, as DiggingDog said, don't smoke for a couple hours, take out, transport, then cook more.  It will have the distinct possibility of being salmonella infected.  As AustinL said, but a different take, smoke it in a pan for the entire smoke with a few sticks of butter and maybe even some chicken broth.  The pan will catch the natural juices from the bird, and mix well with the butter and broth to be used for basting when you reheat.  Get to your destination, pop it in the oven, reheat, and you'll have all the moistness you need in the pan.
    meltyface and shred like this.
  7. austinl

    austinl Smoking Fanatic

    I actually said in the last 2-3 hours of cooking.  My reasoning is that should be plenty of time for the liquid/sauce concoction to take up some smoked-turkey flavors but not long enough to cook-down other flavors you may choose to use.  I've also tried adding a light sauce after cooking but for my personal tastes I felt it covered up the smoked turkey flavor so I settled on the last couple hours of cooking when I add it.
  8. Thanks everyone.  Again, I just want to clarify - I wouldn't start smoking then transport it, I'd do everything at their house (I don't think salmonella poisoning is an appropriate Christmas gift to my family).  

    As it turns out there will be fewer people than I expected so an 18# bird should do and I should have time to do the whole thing at their house.

    I'm thinking of doing the reverse - oven first then smoker... maybe 2 hours at 375 (until it reaches 145 or so) then into the smoker to finish.  When I transfer it to the smoker (which is a Brinkman Smoke N Grill, so I have no control over the heat) there should already be a nice pan sauce as I'm going to coat it with butter and rub it before it hits the oven.  It will be brined and injected so, combined with the pan sauce I'm anticipating a nice juicy dinner.  Any thoughts?
  9. austinl

    austinl Smoking Fanatic

    Why don't you have control over the heat?
  10. Because that unit is either on or off.  No temp controls.  I think it runs around 250-ish.  I plan to upgrade to the MES 30 this year.
  11. austinl

    austinl Smoking Fanatic

    Ohh, its an electric model.  I was thinking of the little smoke-n-pit.  If it was me I would start cooking it outdoors first and if you need to finish it off in the oven you likely won't notice much of a difference in flavor.
  12. Yeah, it's the electric model.  Do you think it will get to a safe temp in time outside?  We're in CT so it's chilly.  I'll be doing it in the garage so the wind won't be an issue, but I still don't want to risk having it in the danger zone too long.
  13. austinl

    austinl Smoking Fanatic

    Make sure you still have ventilation in your garage.  I smoke stuff year-round and as long as the smoker will hold temp once its warmed up it shouldn't matter.  I have a wood-fired pit so that means for me using a lot more wood and charcoal and patience waiting on it to warm up but no matter what type of cooker you have, quality thermometers are important so you can monitor your cooking temps for that reason right there.  Not as big a deal in 100 degree weather but in 30 degree weather you want to make sure you can maintain a cooking temperature so food safety isn't an issue.
  14. I think it maintains a pretty consistent temp as long as I keep the lid on as much as possible and it's not exposed to the wind.  I used it in my garage a couple weeks ago and made pork butts with success.  They took a bit longer to cook than I expected, but only by an hour or so.  They seemed to plateau forever, though.
  15. austinl

    austinl Smoking Fanatic

    That'll happen; I've had two very close in size vary by as much as 4 hours before.  It sounds like you got it handled, enjoy the turkey.  I'm having a Christmas dinner today with a turkey I did yesterday.
  16. Thanks for all the help.  Enjoy yours as well!
  17. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    I'm no expert and I've received a lot of help here, but I have to tell you I've been doing poultry at 350 to 375 and it's coming out absolutely wonderful. And in my opinion (because I tried early on) 250 is not hot enough, ESPECIALLY for a 20# bird. I'd cut it at LEAST in half and consider doing more to make the pieces smaller.

    10 pound turkeys seem scarce as hens teeth, but 12 to 14 I can usually find. I have a turkey in the smoker right now (at 375 for the first hour) and it's 14.75 pounds. I won't do anything bigger than that whole. I prefer a 12 pounder, but none were available when I was shoping for a turkey.

    Again, I'm not as experienced as some on here, but I've gotten pretty good at cooking chickens and turkeys and I've learned a lot here.

    #1 They don't NEED low and slow. In fact they seem to come out better when cooked faster. High temp at the beginning, roll the smoke, after an hour cut temp back to 325-350.

    I know a chef that runs turkeys at 400 to 450 ALL the time. He has to watch he doesn't burn the skin, but they are as moist and perfect as anything I've ever had. Every single time. They aren't smoked though :) 

    I'd be kinda scared to do a 20# bird at 250. I was taught that poultry should never be cooked at a temperature below 325 for safety reasons. Not sure if that's in keeping with present-day thinking, but it has kept me out of trouble for 50 years (I started cooking for others when I was 10 ... hehehe)
  18. Agreed that 250 isn't safe.  It wouldn't be possible to get the bird out of the danger zone quickly enough.  It's for that reason I'm going to do a hybrid and partially oven cook at high temp and partially smoke for flavor.
  19. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    This is just my opinion, Shred, but I think you can accomplish what you want exactly the way you're thinking, BUT... if you run an hour in the smoker and the best temp you can get out of it is around 250, you're going to have to power through the danger zone in the oven and run it hot. I've run high temp poultry before so I'm ok with it, but if you haven't done it you might find your schedule going out the window. :)

    Also... in the oven in the house, make sure that oven is clean or you'll be setting off smoke detectors (don't ask me how I know that one), 'cause you may be as hot as 400 to 450 on a 20# bird. Haven't done one that big at high temp myself but seen it done more than once.

    I still think you're better off cutting it into pieces though. I know it won't be as pretty but I think it will be easier to achieve the taste you're after.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
  20. What are everyones' thoughts on doing the oven first, then the smoker?  If a 145 degree bird has 2-3 hours in smoke, will it still soak up enough?

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