Smoking a turkey big enough to feed 18 guys!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by eldelay, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. eldelay

    eldelay Newbie

    Hello everyone! I would like to jump into a pretty hefty project and would love to have a helping hand to guide me along. Here is my project I'd like to do.

    Every Friday night, I am part of a guys Bible study/game night.  We are broken up into teams and take turns making the meals. This week is my turn and would love to smoke a big turkey to feed all 18 of us.  I have a massive smoker that a buddy of mine welded and could definitely hold a bird big enough for the task.  I am in a bit of a competition with another guy who has a reputation for being quite an elaborate cook. So far I haven't let his group beat ours, but in each case we have to one up each other.

    From the research I have done, I have seen that I should brine the turkey for a day before smoking it. I was also aware of smoking a large turkey could run into a problem of keeping it in the danger zone too long.

    So here are my questions. Im sorry if some of them seem trivial. I would like to keep them all in one place so I can refer back to this post so I can repeat this if it works.

    If I plan to smoke this big boy,

    what size of turkey would best suit this task?

    what temperature should I keep the smoker at to best care for the meat?
    Is there a preferred wood that would flavor the meat the best?
    Should I brine the turkey? If so, how, and for how long?

    Are there any other tips/tricks I could add to make this adventure more exciting? I am open to putting alot of work in this meal. I don't have much to do for the next two days.  (Gotta love your last semester of college!)

    Thanks for everyone's input!
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    See my answers above and good luck. 
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The USDA recommends turkeys of no more than 12 lbs for smoking. Of course that's at a pit temp of 225 personally I smoke poultry at 325-350 so that rule really isn't the same with the higher temps. The higher temps also crisp up the skin while 225 results in rubbery un edible skin around my house
  4. hello eldelay WELCOME, i see that this is your first post, the guys here on this forum can help you out a lot, if you will let them. ang mr maddox has some real good answers for your questions, and i hope your bible study is a success.

  5. eldelay

    eldelay Newbie

    So. As an update I was unable to find a fresh turkey in town, so I will wait for my next rotation. However we made smoked pork tenderloin, it was awesome. Thanks everyone!
  6. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You mentioned you want a handy place your Smoking info . ( good , bad or indifferent ) . My suggestion is to start a BBQ logbook containing all aspects in your procedure ,your recipe , the Weather , fuel used , tricks learned and anything else you want to track .

    You will have the greatest learning tool for BBQ as you can get . Hands on and advised , can't lose , win , win situation ! :biggrin:

    Have fun and . . .

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