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Smoking a Turkey for Thanksgiving

  • lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2159728

    I got a new RecTeq this year. Gonna smoke a turkey for the first time. I am following a RecTeq recipe on their app called Cajun Turkey where you inject the bird with. Tony Chachere’s Creole Butter.

    If anyone has tried this recipe let me know. But my main question is on timing. The recipe says cook at 325 for about 3 hours. But that is for a 16 lb turkey. When I update the app to account for the fact I have a 20 lb turkey the time does not change.

    So… mostly I am seeing about 15 minutes per pound at 325. This will be about 5 hours for a 20 lb bird. I will of course be watching the temp probes but want to know approximately how long it should take .

    So for guys that have done a few turkeys, does that sound right? Any other input/ideas?

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 8424
    #2159732

    Are you going to leave the carcass in tact or spatchcock it? Ive only spatchcocked turkeys on my Kamado and they get done quicker. Those times dont seem out of line to me? Which RecTeq you have? I got the Bullseye this year and love that little bugger! Are you going to brine the turkey? I have a LEM Brine tank coming today, but I have to figure out what I am going to brine it with.

    Ryan Speers
    Participant
    Waconia, MN
    Posts: 387
    #2159737

    Spatchcock is the only way I do poultry now so that is what I’d suggest.

    Paul D
    Participant
    Roseville
    Posts: 137
    #2159740

    Cook to temp and you will be fine. Time is only ballpark.

    Ripjiggen
    Participant
    Posts: 4550
    #2159741

    Are you going to leave the carcass in tact or spatchcock it? Ive only spatchcocked turkeys on my Kamado and they get done quicker. Those times dont seem out of line to me? Which RecTeq you have? I got the Bullseye this year and love that little bugger! Are you going to brine the turkey? I have a LEM Brine tank coming today, but I have to figure out what I am going to brine it with.

    Didn’t know what an LEM brine tank was so googled it. 40$ bucket? shock

    Otherwise times seem about right but every smoker is different.

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 8424
    #2159743

    Didn’t know what an LEM brine tank was so googled it. 40$ bucket? shock

    I got a better deal than that, but this has a screw in insert that if you have smaller items you are going to brine it will hold it down better. Ive just used my turkey fryer before but wasnt happy how it turned out so gonna give this a shot.

    Paul D
    Participant
    Roseville
    Posts: 137
    #2159746

    Spatchcock is the only way I do poultry now so that is what I’d suggest.

    2nd the Spatchcock method. I don’t know how they stay so juicy!

    fishthumper
    Participant
    Sartell, MN.
    Posts: 6365
    #2159747

    The cooking time on large pieces of meat varies greatly based on so many factors. use a internal meat probe, and what ever you do, Keep that lid closed. Way to many people just have to open it up to look at their progress. If planning on this for a certain dinner time I would add a extra 30-60 minutes just to be safe. I’ve never done a Turkey on my pellet grill. Have done cornish game a fair # of time. They turned out excellent. They often take about 20-25% longer in cold winter months than they do in summer. The rec Tec. is know to keep a more even Temp than some other brands so you have that going for you. Even so they fluctuate a fair amount in colder temps. Report back on how it goes

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2159763

    It’s the RecTeq 590. I might plan on 6 hrs then and it can probably rest awhile.

    I’ve heard of spatchcock but never done it. Planning on keeping the whole bird in tact.

    Most recipes say 165 internal temp in the breast. Big some say 180 in the thigh.

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2159764

    Which RecTeq you have? I got the Bullseye this year and love that little bugger! Are you going to brine the turkey? I have a LEM Brine tank coming today, but I have to figure out what I am going to brine it with.

    Im not going to brine. I think bringing is awesome but for this recipe you inject the bird with Creole butter. And then coat the exterior with olive oil and Creole dry rub.

    BigWerm
    Participant
    Carver
    Posts: 6349
    #2159767

    This is my old post on smoking turkeys, I usually use a Weber kettle, but did the same last year on a Traeger, I think a hotter smoke like you are planning would be better for crispy skin:

    I’ve done a number of them, they always turn out great, and basically follow this process. I didn’t brine mine, but would inject them with a butter/apple cider concoction before going on, you can also use this to baste it throughout but not necessary imo. Use applewood. If you get one without the imbedded thermometer, make sure it gets to 160-165 internal temp at the coldest point (breast or hip/thigh area) before pulling it, and let it rest covered in tinfoil for a good 20-30 minutes. I did a bunch of research, but want to say I smoked it for 30/minutes a pound at 225-250. So 7-8 hours for a 14-15 pound turkey.

    mark-bruzek
    Participant
    Two Harbors, MN
    Posts: 3499
    #2159776

    My notes say my last 20# bird took 6hrs @250 for a 165 breast temp.

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2159824

    Thanks guys. Werm -I don’t see a link but I will try to search for your old post.

    Mike Johnson
    Participant
    Posts: 53
    #2159829

    After many years of smoking food the best advice I can give is buy a good thermometer and cook to temp. I learned more often then not you cannot count on cooking times to get the finished result you desire. Good luck with your Cook.

    Sylvanboat
    Participant
    Posts: 742
    #2159836

    You’re going to smoke a turkey for the first time on Thanksgiving? Does your wife know about this? ???

    Alagnak1
    Participant
    Posts: 38
    #2159839

    It’s a wood pellet fueled convection oven that holds the temp to within a few degrees. I like to spatchcock all my turkeys and chickens but have done plenty whole as well and always good. You could take any regular turkey in the oven recipe and cook it on that smoker and have great results. Smokers don’t get any more user friendly than RT.

    Rodwork
    Participant
    Farmington, MN
    Posts: 2164
    #2159845

    I would go the spatchcock method unless you are planning on stuffing the bird. To me I think it cooks better. This is even more true with birds bigger than 12 lb. I may be silly but brine my turkey and inject with butter. Give yourself plenty of time. You can always wrap it and let it sit. It should sit for at least 20 min.

    Turkey Brine

    Ingredients:
    o 2 gallons water
    o 1 1/2 cups canning salt
    o 3 tablespoons minced garlic
    o 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    o 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    o 1/3 cup brown sugar

    Directions:
    1. In a large bucket or container large enough to hold your turkey, mix together the water, salt, garlic, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Store in a refrigerator, and soak turkey for 2 days before smoking.

    Turkey prep

    Ingredients
    o 5 tablespoons butter
    o 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    o 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
    o 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
    o 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped

    Directions
    1. Preheat smoker for 225 degrees.
    2. Rinse the turkey inside and out. Pat dry. Loosen skin around the breast area.
    3. Inject 2 tablespoons of butter into breast.
    4. Place three tablespoons of butter in various places under the skin. Mix herbs together and place half under the skin and the other half on the inside the turkey.
    5. Cook with breast side up.

    Rodwork
    Participant
    Farmington, MN
    Posts: 2164
    #2159846

    but for this recipe you inject the bird with Creole butter. And then coat the exterior with olive oil and Creole dry rub.

    Would you be willing to share the recipe? I like trying new things.

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2159928

    Thanks BigWerm!

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2159930

    You’re going to smoke a turkey for the first time on Thanksgiving? Does your wife know about this? ???

    I know it sounds risky but I’m pretty experienced on the grill and smoker and with two temp probes on a pellet grill I’m pretty confident I’ll pull it off grin

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2159931

    It’s a wood pellet fueled convection oven that holds the temp to within a few degrees. I like to spatchcock all my turkeys and chickens but have done plenty whole as well and always good. You could take any regular turkey in the oven recipe and cook it on that smoker and have great results. Smokers don’t get any more user friendly than RT.

    Agree. It’s almost more of an oven cook with the benefit of smoke flavor. My buddy said he did one recently with almost zero prep work and it came out awesome.

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2159934

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>lindyrig79 wrote:</div>
    but for this recipe you inject the bird with Creole butter. And then coat the exterior with olive oil and Creole dry rub.

    Would you be willing to share the recipe? I like trying new things.

    Sure and thank you Rodwork. I’d post a link but it never works for me. You can google RecTeq Cajun Turkey and it will come up. But basically you just use the Tony Chachere’s Creole Butter to inject. 10oz for 20 lb bird. Rub the whole thing with olive oil and then liberally season with the Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Dry Rub. Let sit 24 hours in fridge and then smoke at 325 until up to temp(165 breast meat)

    CaptainMusky
    Participant
    Posts: 8424
    #2159935

    You wont have any problems even though its the first time you are doing it. I was nervous the first time I did one on the Kamado and it came out fantastic. I like the idea of not having to worry about a big dang grease fire from a fryer. I also just purchased the CharBroil “The Big Easy” which is essentially a propane powered air fryer that I might use as well this year.

    David Anderson
    Participant
    Dayton, MN
    Posts: 339
    #2159964

    I have been smoking turkey’s for the last 20 years in my cookshack smoker. The day before I brine them in a cure style brine and use a PS Seasoning Maple cure, https://www.psseasoning.com/products/maple-cure, at 1 pound per 2 gallons of water. I reserve a quart of brine then inject the turkey with it, then allow it to sit for overnight in the brine. Once out I put it on a poultry rack and smoke at 225 for around an hour/#, granted I smoke 12 – 15# turkeys and never have done a large one. I have tried 250 but not been happy with the results as the skin get’s black and the legs ends get dried out in my cookshack. The cure definitely gives it it a ham like flavor and is very popular when I bring it to the relatives. This year I have a new Traeger and am anxious to see how that works for 2 birds.

    lindyrig79
    Participant
    Forest Lake / Lake Mille Lacs
    Posts: 2885
    #2161436

    Went on at 7am this morning. So far so good, I’ll let you know how it tastes. Thanks for all the input toast

    Attachments:
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    Joe Jarl
    Participant
    SW Wright County
    Posts: 674
    #2161445

    Looking good Lindy! 2nd year doing the bird on the pellet grill. Did a dry rub this year. Hope it turns out! toast

    Attachments:
    1. 027F34FD-C464-40C3-A506-14683E1B98A3-scaled.jpeg

    Joe Jarl
    Participant
    SW Wright County
    Posts: 674
    #2161448

    Secret ingredient for the cook.

    Attachments:
    1. 4BA4B2C1-00F3-430A-8F2F-21A03EB32DAB-scaled.jpeg

    MNdrifter
    Participant
    Wright County, MN
    Posts: 1330
    #2161536

    Brined 24 hours with kit I got from Runnings (Tuesday night to Wednesday night). Took out of brine, rinsed thoroughly. Pat dried. Spatchcocked. Stuffed butter slabs under breast skin. Rubbed seasoning on outside. Injected with Tony Catchers creole butter. Refrigerator over night. Put in the Boss set to 250* at 8 a.m. Took off at 165* in deep part of breast at about 2 pm. Turned out to be the best turkey everyone that ate it today ever had. Even FIL!

    Attachments:
    1. 34C00C3C-5136-4B9C-B2F7-605549368EC4-scaled.jpeg

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