For two 14 lb. birds – Injected the night before with 1 cup butter and 1/3 creole mixed in. Smeared what I couldn’t inject over the birds and then dusted with more creole, garlic powder and a little pepper. Turned out delicious for as easy as it was. About 15 minutes per pound.
From Jeff Phillips/SMF 11/28/2016 news letter.
The process they do at the factory does not result in a salty turkey.. not even faintly so. The brining you do at home does a much better job and if you follow my instructions of using 1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of water for an overnight (10-12 hour) brine, it will be a more juicy, moist and tasty bird than it can ever be otherwise.
My recommendation is that you try to find a fresh, no solution added turkey if possible. If you can’t find that, then shoot for a turkey that has 8% or less solution added.
As most of you know, I do not recommend smoking a turkey that is larger than 12 lbs.. 14 lbs is pushing it. This is due to the fact that the larger turkey takes too much time to reach a safe temperature at the low temperature. It is risky at best and in my opinion, is raising the chances that your family and guests could get a food borne illness.
To make it safe, keep the turkey on the small side (12 lbs is about right) and if you need more turkey, just smoke multiple turkeys figuring on about 2 lbs of raw weight per person.
I just usually figure a 12 lb turkey for every 6 people and it gives me plenty of turkey with a few leftovers.
Option 1: Smoke then Bake
Prepare the turkey as you desire, smoke it for about 2 hours at 225-240°F in the smoker then finish it in the oven at 325°F until it reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. I expect this to take an additional 2.5 to 3 hours in the oven however, use the temperature as your guide rather than the time.
Option 2: Spatchcock (Butterfly) the Turkey
Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone of the turkey removing the backbone completely from the turkey.
You will then be able to lay the turkey open (the breastbone is the hinge).
Prepare the turkey as you normally would with seasoning under the skin, on the skin, etc.
Smoke the turkey with the skin side up until it reaches reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast and thigh.
By laying the turkey open in this way, it will cook must faster and more evenly and that’s a good thing with larger turkeys in the lower heat of the smoker.
ONLY after it’s done. Stuffing prevents the heat from flowing into the cavity as it needs to and causes it to take longer to cook, something you do not need at low smoking temperatures.
If you want the bird to be stuffed for presentation, make the stuffing in a separate container in the oven and stuff it into the turkey after the turkey is done cooking and just prior to placing it on the table.
It is fine to place a few pieces of onion, apple, butter,etc. in the cavity as long as the heat flow is not impeded in any way.
If you must travel with the turkey, it is probably best to make it a day ahead of time and just as soon as it reaches 165°F, place it into a roasting pan with the lid off and let it cool for about 25 minutes.
After cooling, cover the turkey with a large piece of foil, place the lid on the roasting pan and place it in the fridge.
Keep it cold (less than 40°F) while you travel.
Once you get to grandma’s house and about an hour before you are ready to eat, pour about ¼ cup of water down in the bottom of the roasting pan for humidity (prevents the meat from drying out) and if you have any extra maple/rub sauce from the smoking process, take it with you and baste the turkey again.
Place the entire roasting pan in an oven preheated to 350°F. It should take about 1 hour to reach a good eating temperature but if it gets done early, just turn the heat down to 170°F and hold it there until you are ready for it.
Keeping the lid closed and adding the extra moisture will revitalize it and it will be nearly as good as it was right out of the smoker.
I usually figure on about 4-5 lbs per 24 hour period.
If you are in a hurry, you can place the frozen turkey in the sink full of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes (very important) until the turkey is thawed. For a 12 lb turkey that is completely frozen, you are looking at about 6 hours.
My general rule of thumb for applying smoke is ½ of the estimated cook time. I expect a 12 lb turkey to take about 6-7 hours so I recommend applying smoke for about 3 to 3.5 hours.
As long as you have good airflow.. i.e. your vents are open enough to allow plenty of air to come into the smoker and the smoke is able to exit quickly, you can easily and safely apply smoke for the entire time, after all, that is what happens by default in a wood burning smoker and there is no better way to duplicate that real wood smoked flavor.
From a comment at SMF – I injected each the night before with 1 cup butter and 1/3 creole mixed in. Smeared what I couldn’t inject over the birds and then dusted with more creole, garlic powder and a little pepper. Turned out delicious for as easy as it was. About 15 minutes per pound.