Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey - Whole Turkey or Quartered?

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by islanderjsf, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. I am going to try my first ever Thanksgiving turkey on my Primo.    I am really struggling with cooking it whole vs. quartering it and cooking in parts to get optimal temps for dark and white meat.

    There seems to be plenty of info on whole turkeys, but I am not finding much on quartered turkey's although I have seen some shows where competition cooks seems to prefer breaking a turkey down. 

    Does anyone have experience breaking down the bird and smoking that way?   How do cook times vary?   Do I lose some meat yield?

    The family is pushing for a 16 pound turkey.  I am afraid to cook that whole and dry out white meat while spending 10 hours.

    Any suggestions out there? 
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've oven roasted whole and quartered turkeys.  I've smoker and grill cooked whole and splatchcocked turkeys.  I've beer canned turkeys in the oven and the smoker.  Beer canning a brined bird whole in the smoker is my favorite way.  I use a turkey canon nowadays but it is the same thing.   

    Splatchcocking is not quite as exact as quartering a bird but helps it cook quicker and more evenly.  When I quartered a brined bird I separated the white from the dark meat.  Lots of work and the end result was essentially unnoticeable. 

    If you brine the bird you have a more forgiving bird for juiciness and final temps.  I've taken the breast of a brined bird to 185F internal temp before and it was still juicy. 
  3. Thanks Noboundaries.  Beer can it is.   Will let you know how it turns out. 

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