smoking a 20lb turkey this thanksgiving

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by bubba96, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. bubba96

    bubba96 Fire Starter

    Hey there everybody i am going to be smoking my first turkey this thanksgiving and i have some questions. So since the turkey im smoking weighs 20lbs how long should i smoke it? And also how long should i have the smoke flavor on there its kinda hard to say should i add the smoky flavor for the first 4-5 hours and just let it cook the rest of the time so i dont over smoke it? I hope you guys can understand what im trying to say/ask. Anyways thanks for looking and have a great day!
  2. I like to smoke/roast turkeys at 325-350*F and don't nearly have it under smoke that long.  I only use a cpl chunks of Apple for the entire cook.  I use smoke wood like a strong spice.  A little goes a long way. Poultry is easy to over do it -- I don't want to get the ashtray effect.
  3. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    Same here. 300-325 degrees 20lb bird about 5-5.5 hours.taper smoke off after about 3- 3.5 hours. 
  4. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    Oh...Go Blue!!
  5. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good advise...and  I have a bit of my own...[​IMG]

    Prep. the Bird with Compound Butter (soft butter with spices mixed in) , rub this "under" the skin and use NO oil or anything on the out side..

    Best to wash and dry the Turkey and place it on a platter in the Fridge and let it dry the skin more. Place into a Smoker with nice ,blue  Smoke :

    B sure to have a good Probe therm. ,

    order one here , or Wally World .

    Be watching the therm . and go to your temp. and then rest a bit. You'll have a Marvelous Turkey.

    Have a happy Holiday and as always . . .
  6. I've read several times that smoking over 15 lbs or so is not recommended. That if you needed 20 lbs of turkey it would be better to get two 10 lbs turkeys.
  7. johngalt

    johngalt Newbie

    Look up Spatchcocking. Cut the backbone out and break the breastplate to flatten it out and now you have two 10lb turkeys! It looks neater than two 10 pounders too! See my first spatchcock here: (only light was flash from phone camera, sorry)

  8. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    I can see that if you were smoking at a lower temp...225 or so, but at fear!
  9. I'm familiar with spatchcocking but assumed he wouldn't be doing it. 
    Good point. I usually smoke around 225. 
  10. johngalt

    johngalt Newbie

    Sorry Brandon, I meant for Bubba96 to research Spatchcocking. I must have lost track of who was posting and who was the originator of the thread. He said it's his first turkey. If my first turkey had been a 20LB bird, I'd have done ALOT wrong. Spatchcocking will dramatically increase his likelihood of success.
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I guess I'll be the rebel of the group.... lol

    I have always done a 18-22 lb. bird every year. I have done various brines and rubs, but the cooking method has been consistent with great results.

    250-275 chamber temp, whole bird with empty body cavity, I apply thin blue smoke (usually apple or cherry) for pretty much the entire time - but I do keep it light, one small chunk per hour. Usually takes approx 6-7 hrs. to cook, I cook it right on the racks (drip pan under it for gravy drippings). The last two years I flipped the bird over about half way through the cook, seemed to help with evening out the thigh vs. breast temp. I take it all the way to 180 internal temp. and usually rest the bird for approx 1 hr while I finish getting the rest of the dishes ready.

    Comes out tender moist and evenly cooked.

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