what the right size turkey to smoke ???

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by jrod62, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    My wife found some turkeys that was 20+ lbs.
    Is that size ok to smoke or should i stay around 12 to 15 pounders.
     
  2. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would lean more toward the 12 pounder, but that might just be me & my maximum temp MES of 275˚.

    Also I would not stuff it.

    I'm sure you'll get other opinions on this one.

    Bear
     
  3. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks Bear. That what i was thinking
     
  4. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    The USDA recommends 12 lbs and under in order to make sure they get through the "Danger Zone" in time to be considered safe. Some people hot smoke them with temps of 325 degrees and up I personally don't know that size matters much at these temps
     
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    At 225*F 12-14lb is the best choice but as Piney indicated at 325*F anything goes I have done 26-28lb Monster Gobblers, unstuffed, in the neighborhood of 4hrs at various Restaurants...JJ  
     
  6. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks guys for the fast reply. My wife text me from the store about the size turkeys and I turn around and posted this right away.

    within minutes Bear replies, and few minutes later got two more fast replies. That why I love this place. Help is always

    right around the corner. She pick up 2 turkeys at right under 13lbs a piece.

    so again thanks for the fast replies!!!!!
     
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Not to hijack this thread, but does the USDA have any recommendation for a turducken?
     
  8. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    [​IMG]

    Now if you have a bird thats maybe too big then you can also Spackcock it and that will let it smoke faster with more surface area to cook. Now for a turducken I have done a few of them and I have always done them in the oven cause they are usually too big for a smoker.
     
  10. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  11. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    AL , if u do turducken i hope you post step by step "how to" .
    I would love to try one .
     
  12. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Guest

    If you want to get the 20lb one then just cut it in half and you will be ok.
     
  13. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    You could also cure it using Pops' recipe and take some of the worry out.
     
  14. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    We got two of the smaller ones but i want to do a big one to.
    I will have to reread pop's recipe and give that try.
    Thanks for info.
     
  15. What is space cocking? That's a term unfamiliar to me guys. I'm smoking a 21 pounder this Thansgiving and I really don't want to make my guests sick. 
     
  16. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Basically it's cutting along or cutting out the backbone so the bird can lay flat
     
  17. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Spatchcocking a bird is removing the back-bone so the bird can lay flat during cooking and still remain a whole bird, for the most part.

     

    21 pound? Kinda big, so don't inject marinade, stab a probe too early, or otherwise puncture or cut into the meat. If you avoid these, you can treat the bird as intact whole muscle meat which can be cooked following less strick guidelines. If it's non-intact (puncture, ground meat, mascerated) then, a time temp guideline of 41-135* in 4 hours should be adhered to during cooking...that's fairly quick for a 21lbr, and difficult to reach high enough smoke chamber temps in certain smokers.

    What is your choice of smoker for this beast, btw? Wide grate size, I'm hoping?

    If spatchcocked, it can still be considered intact whole muscle meat because the cut meat will be exposed while cooking, thus preventing any possible introduction of bacteria during handling from being closed back up inside the meat.

    Here's a basic thread on a pair of spatchcocked chickens with Q-View from Pignit, found HERE;

    and another started by Nola Saints Smoker with some different discussions and Q-View, found HERE;

    and, the search I used to find these, found HERE.

    I'd suggest some simple rub ingredients: rosemary, pepper, garlic, a bit of cumin, thyme, just for starters...not too complicated.

    Spatcock and smoke @ 275-300* to internal temp of 175+ in the thighs and 168-170* in the breasts. Still juicy, but should be clear juices in the meat and next to the thigh bone at these temps. Keep the temps in check and it will be juicy regardless of anything else you do with it. Oh, don't stick temp probes until at least 2 hours in so you don't skew the intact whole muscle meat. USDA calls for a minimum of 165* internal temp for domestic poultry.

    Eric
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  18. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I spaced it out, but most store-bought birds are already injected, so you still need to follow the 41-135*/4-hr rule when cooking...my bad.

    Eric
     
  19. I am wondering about this 41-135*/4 hour rule. Can you be more specific about what that means.

    I am using a Masterbuilt electric smoker and I like this spachcocking suggestion. I am planing to do it. I saw a great video on actually spachcocking a turkey and it looks like I can pull it off in my Masterbuilt electric with the 21 pound turkey.

    Thanks all for your help. I love this site and all the experts that are so willing to share their knowledge.

    Please help with that question at the top.

    Michael
     
  20. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It means the internal meat temp of the bird must get thru the 41-135 degree zone in 4 hours or less. So if you take it out of the fridge & put it right on the smoker you have 4 hours to get it to 135. That's why it's not a good idea to let it sit out & get to room temp before you put it in the smoker. As soon as it gets above 41 you have 4 hours to get it to 135.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011

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