Smoking 2 Turkeys

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by allen mason, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. allen mason

    allen mason Newbie

    I have a master Forge vertical propane smoker and I want to smoke 2 16lb turkeys at the same time.  I would have to stack them 1 above the other.  Anything I need to be concerned about or is this just a bad idea.  I have limeited time and would like to start this tomorrow afternoon and have them ready for Thanksgiving.
  2. garyc

    garyc Smoke Blower

    Do you mean stacking them on top of one another? If so then where they meet will not get smoke. You will have a spot on each that will be different colors. It would also effect how fast they cook I would imagine. You would stand a chance of those spots where they are sitting on top of one another not getting done. Personally I would not do it. I would suggest cooking one the day before and reheating it the next day.
  3. allen mason

    allen mason Newbie

    I actually meant 1 on the lower rack and 1 on the middle rack.  They would have a couple of inches between the 2 of them. 
  4. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    your good to go.. Are you useing rub ?... Brining ? injecting ?? what kinda wood ?.. tell us more.. and don't forget pics.. Just remember the 40-140 rule.. can you get your smoker up to 325` ? That would be best to smoke them at a higher heat... do some research here and you'll find answers to a lot of your questions
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  5. allen mason

    allen mason Newbie

    I am using a cajun dey rub and injecting.  I have smoked with hickory, mesquit, and apple.  This year I am going to use mesquite.  I will post pictures of how it is going. 
  6. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    just remember Mesquite has a LOT of bite.. doesn't take much smoke
  7. [​IMG]

    I was having the same concerns about smoking two turkeys, one above the other on the separate racks in each ECB. My fear was that the one on the bottom would get done quicker than the one on the top. As mentioned in a previous thread some time ago, I did the basic ECB mods of drilling 9 vent holes in the top and then using a disk brake shim as a slider so that I can adjust the venting. I also added vent holes to the charcoal tub to increase air flow across the top of the charcoal.

    For those that are interested, I only use lump charcoal and I usually use apple juice in the water tub. For these two bird this Thanksgiving, they are just under 13# each. I'm brining them tomorrow for 24 hours using:


    Canning salt

    Minced garlic

    Ground black pepper

    Worcestershire sauce

    Dark brown sugar

    Garlic Powder
    Onion Powder

    Louisiana Cajun Seasoning
    Celery Seed

    After they've brined, I'm going to inject them with a Cajun Butter I get from Bass Pro and then I'll dry them and then use a dry rub of:


    vegetable oil
    onion powder
    garlic powder
    kosher salt
    white pepper
    powdered ginger
    powdered sage rosemary


    (under the skin)

    I have some pecan logs that my firewood guy tossed in for additional price that I'm going to chunk up and soak overnight. Pecan seems to be one of the hardest woods I've ever used. All in all my bunkbed ECB works pretty well but it's hard to regulate the heat. It takes awhile to get up to 325 and then keeping it there is a real chore. Often times it just gets too hot and I end up heat cooking rather than smoking my meat. I'd LOVE to figure a way to keep the dual stacks and build some sort of firebox off to the side thereby cooking with more smoke and less direct heat. If you guys have ANY suggestions I'm up for the challenge.
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    You can easily smoke 2 turkeys the way you describe.
  9. Well dammit! I just read the thread about keeping the brine cold. Here's what I wrote on that thread.

    Well I may be screwed. I didn't know about keeping it at 40 degrees or less. I have TWO turkeys in a turkey fry tub with 4 gallons of brine. I started brining them around 9am this morning and I put the lid on the tub and set it on the concrete floor in the mudroom. It's been there all day. I doubt it got much above 55 degrees. Right now I just stuck a thermometer in the brine and it read 58 degrees. I did NOT simmer the brine at all. I just mixed it very well before putting the turkeys in. When I read this thread I took the fryer tub outside where the temps are supposed to stay around 39 degrees. I would think that the salt alone would stifle the bacteria not to mention the other things I have in the brine. I DOUBLED this recipe:

    2 gallons water

    1 1/2 cups canning salt

    3 tablespoons minced garlic

    1 tablespoon ground black pepper

    1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

    1/3 cup dark brown sugar

    3 tsp Garlic Powder
    3 tsp Onion Powder
    3 tsp Cajun Spice (Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)
    3 tsp Celery Seed

    So do you think my birds are screwed? Should I even attempt to smoke them? Guess I'm running out of time here. I also planned to inject them and then finish with a rub.
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I saw your thread and either someone will answer there or I have also posted in our moderators section your PM's asking them their opinion.  Personally I still hold that you should not trust the birds as bacteria multiplies 7 -12 times faster in poultry vs. any other meat and proper handling and correct temperatures is a must.  Don't want to ruin your Thanksgiving but don't want to see y'all going to the hospital tonight either; you're far better off spending a fraction of that money and go out to dinner and have a great, and safe, meal.
  11. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Today at 11:14 am

    Pops, both Als and Dave, thanks for the replies. I was hoping it was a borderline call but after further review the play is going to be reversed. The smart thing is to stick em in a garbage bag and freeze em until the garbage truck comes on Tuesday. I went and bought 2 more turkeys and they're thawing in the bathtub. My dilemma now is purely mine. Do I just rub and then inject and smoke? .... OR ... do I wait and brine them properly tonight and then smoke them tomorrow. My family is fine with either senario as it's just the three of us and no one has work or school tomorrow.

    Thanks again for your input. I am THANKFUL for all your advice.

    Have a most Happy Thanksgiving and I will post pics of the step-by-step process tomorrow when things get started.

    Have a Blessed day!


    You made the right decision for you and your family!  Thank you so much for asking and allowing us to help, and thank you Al, Al, Chef Jimmy J and Dave for your quick replies!  Everyone have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving and have some pie, too!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  12. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sorry that you had to do that but it is better to be safe  
  13. I totally agree. It's best to swallow a little pride for being negligent about a critical step than to put anyone at risk over something I prepared. I love all types of cooking and I take great pride in everything I prepare. I would have been devastated if I had served those birds and someone got ill. You can't put a price on something like that. Thanks everyone!
  14. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Very Sorry about your Turkey misfortune, Bimmer!!!

    As we say in the sports world-----"Get the next one!!!"

  15. realized I posted the same question in 2 places, sorry! new to this site. please see my question below :)
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  16. We are planning to smoke 2 turkeys, each weigh about 14 pounds, on separate racks, one above the other. Propane charbroil smoker, and we have a hard time getting the temp up any higher than 250. Do we double the smoking time? Just trying to figure out how long it will take so we can plan the day and meal time accordingly. Any tricks or tips? Should we switch the positions of the turkeys? Any advice is appreciated since we aren't cooking one in the oven for a backup this year!
  17. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    It will not be double the time. Cooking two will take a little longer than one but not really enough to make much difference. At 250 the skin more than likely will not come out crispy if you want to eat the skin you may want to finish it on a hot grill or in the oven under the broiler
  18. Thank you so much for the reply!  Everyone wants to know what time to come over, what time dinner will be served, etc...we had no idea what to say since we didn't have any idea how long it would take.  So for 2 14 pound birds, would 8 hours be long enough?  Then add a half hour for them to "settle"?  Should we switch racks halfway through? 
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  19. Also, we usually brine overnight.  Should they brine longer? Is there any harm in letting them sit in the brine longer?
  20.  I would make a guess at around 7 hours cooking time but you really need to cook to temperature and not by time. About 165° in the center of the breast and 175° in the deepest part of the thigh.

     Brining a bit longer won't hurt, but isn't needed.  I left a chicken for 3 days once because things came up.

     They will cook more evenly if you swap racks halfway, but the heat loss will increase your cook time. If you can get up to 325° in your smoker your cook time will be about the same as an oven and the skin will be great. Maybe a wind break or something.

    Your bird will be done when the juices run clear in the deep part of the leg joint.

    jercat likes this.

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