Smoking Turkeys for My Cousins Wedding

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by nilshoyum, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. nilshoyum

    nilshoyum Newbie

    I'll be smoking turkeys for my cousins wedding and I'm just wondering if y'all could give me some advice about it. 

    Anything that you can share would be very helpful.


  2. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Keep em under 12 pounds per bird. Anything higher may take too long to get up to a safe internal temp when cooking at low-and-slow temps (225-250)
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    How many People? If there is a Restaurant Food Distributor by you I would seriously consider Oven/Smoker Ready Turkey Breast. They are made from 2-3 Breast lobes food glued together. There is zero waste, no bones, and only about 25% weight loss depending on if they are Enhanced (Injected with Brine). After Smoking they can be left whole or cut in half and slice like any boneless turkey breast making for very easy portioning... Just an option to consider...JJ




    The other option is Whole Turkeys but they only have a 50% yield so half the weight is Bones and Skin that will be going in the Garbage. Considering 6 oz Portions for 100 people...

    100 X 6oz  = 600oz / 16  =  37.5 pounds Smoked Turkey  /  .50 yield   =  75lbs Raw Turkey  /  12lb Turkey   =   7 Turkeys needed to purchase.

    For comparison, Foodservice Boneless Breast has a 75% yield.

    100  X  6oz  =  600oz  / 16  =  37.5 pounds Smoked Turkey  /  .75 yield   =   50lbs Raw Turkey Breast  /  10lb avg  =  5 Turkey Breast needed.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  4. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Chef Jimmy gave you some great advice. When doing poultry, there is really no need to go "low and slow" as there is no connective tissue that needs to break down. When I do poultry, I run my smoker at 350° or as close to that as possible. The other benefit of doing poultry at the higher temp is the skin will crisp up nice. Doing it low and slow will leave the skin rubbery.

  5. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great advice from both JJ and Dutch!

    I never smoke poultry low and slow.

  6. nilshoyum

    nilshoyum Newbie

    These are all great tips. We are doing a brine and rub for the birds. Taking them out the night before to let the skin dry a bit. We were thinking about getting 14-16 pound birds but I think we may go with the 10-12 pound birds now. Depends on how many I can fit in the smoker. Which we don't have locked down yet. But I think we may be close. 

    The last chickens I smoked tasted really smokey and good. The skin was bitter and rubbery though, a real disappointment. I am thinking the grill was too cool. I will shoot for that 350 mark this time. 


  7. bigfish98

    bigfish98 Smoking Fanatic

    Trust these guys Nils.  They know their stuff.

  8. humdinger

    humdinger Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Wow I just realized what I wrote and I guess I should preach what I practice!. I see I gave the standard low and slow temps above and I don't know why since I do chicken at 325 degree myself. I should have just said "don't let the bird's internal temp stay between 40 degree and 140 degree for more than 4 hours" and left it at that. Sorry for any confusion.

    Dutch and JJ's advice above is spot on. Thanks for setting me straight guys.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  9. nilshoyum

    nilshoyum Newbie

    Here is the smoker we will be using. It rotates and has smoke/hot boxes in back. We ended having to get 20 pound turkeys which I'm not thrilled about. But it's what we have to work with. There will be about 140-150 people, so we are getting 14 turkeys, ~280 pounds. About half meat would you say? Is a pound of meat enough for the average person? 


    I'm gonna have to smoke some pork on the side for myself. Smoked turkey is alright, but smoked pork is what I want.


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