Smoking two BIG turkeys!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by dsjones, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. dsjones

    dsjones Newbie

    I've got a big dinner coming up this weekend and I've got two 25 pound turkeys I want to prepare for the gathering. Baking them in the over just isn't gonna cut it. I want to fire up my 40" MES and smoke these birds. I've never smoked birds this big before and know that it's not advisable because the temperature might not rise quickly enough. Here's what I was thinking. I need your advice and input. After brining and injecting the birds ( and giving a nice splattering of butter on the skin inside and out) , I would either spatchcock or split the birds into halves altogether and place them on four different racks and turn up the heat all the way (275 for the MES). I figure after about 3-4 hours, if the internal thigh temperature hasn't risen above 140, I'd just take them out and finish them off in the oven, otherwise, I'd let them cook through to about 170 in the smoker and wrap them up for the party.

    My question is this: Am I crazy for wanting to put over 50 lbs of turkey in the smoker at once? Will the temp rise too slow? 

    Also... I love hickory. Been smoking mainly with hickory for years and occasionally mesquite or apple. I know it's subjective, but what's your opinion of the best wood for a turkey?
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
    redheelerdog likes this.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I think that your best bet would be to split the birds.  I doubt that you'd be able to get a spatched bird that big to fit. As you mentioned I'd crank the mes up and let get as hot as it can then let it sit at that temp for 30-45 minutes. Then add the birds. you may need to rotate them during the cook. Do you have 4 probes? If not Amazon has the iGrill2 on sale super cheap. It only comes with 2 probes, but for the price you can get another unit for the price of what two probe cost. Then you'd have a spare.  
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have done 22-23 lb. birds on my WSM without any problems, but I do run it hotter for big birds.
  4. dsjones

    dsjones Newbie

    Just pulled out 50 lbs of turkey. Two of the halves are getting put into the oven for crisping up of the skin. The other two are getting pulled. Mmmmm... The whole neighborhood smells good.
  5. dsjones

    dsjones Newbie

    BTW. .. after brining and injecting with Cajun butter, and coating the skin with butter, the drippings just about overwhelmed my smoker. The drip pan and water pan were both overflowing and dripping out on the back porch. These birds are super juicy.
  6. dsjones

    dsjones Newbie

    Two 25+ lb turkeys. (Over 50 lbs total) After pulling the meat here's what it yielded:

    White meat: 12 lbs

    Dark Meat: 6.5 lbs

    Bones: 6.7 lbs

    Skin and Fat: 1.5 lbs

    With this amount of yield, it's almost as cheap to just purchase boneless turkey breast. These two turkeys were .59 a pound. I paid approximately $30 for both. Calculating the meat yield, that's about $1.60 a pound. Boneless turkey breast meat (where I'm at) is right at $2.00 a pound, and there's no bones, skin or fat to worry about. (Although I'm a big skin and fat fan myself).

    However, for a big dinner, I may go with the easier route next time. (and substitute a bacon weave for the lack of yummy skin.) [​IMG]
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    On sale here boneless breast meat is $8.99/pound, off sale $12.99-15.99.
  8. dsjones

    dsjones Newbie

    Wow! Remind me to take out a loan before going to Oregon. I'm in Florida. It's regularly about 3.99 - 4.99 lb, but on sale for $2.00/lb. That's it. You've convinced me. I'm stocking up! 
  9. redheelerdog

    redheelerdog Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Great job on the BIG birds! 

  10. mhturk2

    mhturk2 Newbie

    Great idea DS. I am facing a similar situation. I have a 22# turkey but a family with a broken oven asked for some help so Im doing their 13# too. I also have the 40" MES. How long did your birds take?

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