Author Topic: 20 Pound Turkey Experience  (Read 7979 times)

Offline Sacrifice

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20 Pound Turkey Experience
« on: November 25, 2005, 03:26:16 AM »
There has been a lot of discussion in past posts about large turkeys in the Bradley.  Many said to finish them off in the oven, and that is what I planned to do today.  However, while the turkey was smoking I decided I wanted to see if the Bradley could handle the 20 pounder from start to finish.  So..........

I brined the turkey for 12 hours in a mixture of 2.5 cups Kosher salt to 2.5 gallons of water, added some maple syrup, sage, cayenne pepper, fresh minced garlic, onion powder, and peppercorns - these ingredients I did not measure.

After brining, I air dried for about one hour while I pre-heated the Bradley.  The turkey was a tight fit, but I tied the legs and wings, as well as one string length-wise because of the dangly bits on both ends.  The turkey then fit fine.

Smoke consisted of maple and apple, with three hickory mixed in for fun.  Smoke lasted 4.5 hours at a cabinet temperature of 210.

After the smoke, I raised the temperature to 215 for two hours.

I then raised the cabinet temperature to 235 and pulled the turkey when the breast temp (as measured with a procomm) reached 175.  Half-way through the cooking, I rotated the turkey.

Total time in the cabinet - 9.5 hours.  I let the turkey rest for 30 minutes.

The result - Close to perfect!  It was an almost no knife necessary carving, with the bones separating from the joints with just a tug.  The dark meat was so moist that even those who preferred white meat (like me) ate a lot of the dark.  The while meat was moist, but just a bit less so than smaller turkeys that smoke at 210 or less.  However, I would imagine that if I would have used the oven to finish the bird, it would have been even less moist. The white meat was still far moister/better than oven roasted turkey I have ever had.

So, for all those wondering - a large bird is very doable in a Bradley and I would suggest that you try it.

So, for dinner it was lots of turkey, two pumpkin pie, pecan pie, corn bread, corn, mashed potatoes, home-made ice cream, and great gravy made from the drippings of the 20 pounder.

Next week - it is butt and brisket time! [:)]

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! [:D]

"On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest and resting, died. "  --- Anonymous

Offline Kummok

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2005, 02:46:27 PM »
Very encouraging to those that have never Bradley'd a turkey...ThanX for sharing! This is especially encouraging for those that might think that you can't heat a Bradley in cold weather, knowing you're in Juneau!! (Inside or outside??) It's been from -4 to around 12-14 above in Homer lately, with blowing snow...(at least that's what the Homeroids tell me...I'm down in 80+ SoCal, swimming outside with Grandkids right now!) [8D] ........

35 years of extinguishing smoking stuff and now I'm wondering WHY!
Kummok @ Homer, AK USA

Offline Fuzzybear

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2005, 05:55:46 PM »
Nice job!  The biggest I've done was a 14 pounder...but this is the second post where someone said the breast temp was 175 - I only do mine to 160-165....while I am pleased to hear that it was not dried out, I remain skeptical based of course on a bad experience and dried up old leathery bird!  

Wait...I've never brined mine before - maybe that's the kicker?

"A mans got to know his limitations"

Offline Sacrifice

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2005, 06:33:02 PM »
Kummok <<  It was a warm 45 degrees yesterday.  However, the wind was blowing at 60 mph and it was raining - I was watching my Bradley, that is housed in a plastic plant stand on my upper deck, sway in the wind.  Last week it actually tipped over, but I wasn' smoking at the time.  Here is a "summer" photo - keeps the rain and snow out and helps insulate a bit.



<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">I'm down in 80+ SoCal, swimming outside with Grandkids right now!<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
Now that is just plain mean! [:D][:D] Enjoy! [8D]

Fuzzybear &lt;&lt;  I have read posts where people pull at lower than 175, but I guess I still am afraid of anything lower than 180 - 185 due to what was required years ago.  In fact, many of my cookbooks still say 185.  I would like to do 170, but.........someday.

"On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest and resting, died. "  --- Anonymous

Offline PAsmoker

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2005, 09:11:24 PM »
I took my 17.4lb'er to 170 in the breast.    Fuzzy, you gotta try brining.  I feel that's the way to go for moist, flavorful turkey/chicken.  

Sacrifice, well over a year ago I said about doing a 20lb bird on the rack, and was kind of sniveled at and told that there was no way the bird would fit on the rack. I'm glad to read your succesful experience.  I do not see the point of moving from one oven to another (unless time is a problem and you need to really up the temp).  The only time I've ever finished my bird in the regular oven was last turkey day when we had a super windy day & the BS was blown over.  That broke my door & bottom hinge off.  Luckily, I saved the bird.
The Original PAsmoker

Offline gotbbq

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2005, 01:49:25 PM »
Sacrifice-

I like your bradley house.  Last year the wind made for smoking problems.  I bought a duck blind with a solid bottom (kind of a hard shell tent) and now winter smoke in there.  The cool part is there is room for a lounge char and a cigar.  The bradley actually keeps it "warm".

Gotbbq

gotbbq

Offline JJC

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2005, 10:54:16 PM »
Bravo, Sacrifice!  I've never had the patience to complete the cooking a the BS, so I'm glad to know you had great success with a big bird.  How was the skin when you were done?  I know some people--including me--finish off in the oven or on the grill to get the skin nice and crispy.  How did yours come out?

John
Newton MA
John
Newton MA

Offline Sacrifice

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2005, 05:24:20 PM »
JJC - The skin, according to my son, tasted very good but had the consistency of rubber.  I am not too concerned about the skin, as I usually don't eat it.  I do miss the crispy turkey and chicken wing tips though!

gotbbq - I like the duck blind idea.  I may think that idea over once my little greenhouse falls apart.  The winds are real rough on it on the top deck.

"On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest and resting, died. "  --- Anonymous

Offline Hopeful

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2006, 12:59:31 AM »
I used the same method to brine a 12-14 pound turkey overnight using only the water and salt.  I would have to say that was probably one of the most moist turkeys I have eaten.  I have also done some turkey breasts this way plus a few different spices with the same results but I do have a couple of questions.  I have always used 4 hours of smoke but I don't really taste a lot of smoke flavor, why? And why doesn't the meat have the really nice pink color to it that I have seen in smoked turkeys, do they need to be injected with the brine and then soaked overnight?  Thanks

Hopeful in Iowa

Offline twolone

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2006, 03:51:11 AM »
You guys have talked me into it. I went to the store and bought a 12 pounder tonight. I will brine in water, salt/molasses mix. Will report results. Wish me luck.

Longhorns & Cowboys. BBQ of Champions.

Offline Arcs_n_Sparks

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2006, 04:11:35 AM »
Twolone:

Good luck! Post some pics!

Arcs_n_Sparks

Offline jaeger

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2006, 06:23:39 AM »
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Hopeful</i>
<br /> And why doesn't the meat have the really nice pink color to it that I have seen in smoked turkeys, do they need to be injected with the brine and then soaked overnight?  Thanks

Hopeful in Iowa
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Hopeful,
 To get a "pink" color, you have to have a brine with cure included.Salt alone will not cure the meat.

 On turkey/poultry, the dark meat will take on the pink color much more than the white breast and wing meat.









<font size="2"><b>Doug</b></font id="size2">

Offline Muskwa

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2006, 05:59:40 PM »
I've got a 12 pounder ready to go for Sunday. Now I just need to impress my buddies coming over to watch the Superbowl that I can time it to eat at halftime. No pressure!

Muskwa

Offline Hopeful

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2006, 12:55:33 AM »
Jaeger,
If you were going to use this recipe to brine a turkey and were going to add the cure to it, how much cure do you think one should add?  Thanks.

Hopeful in Iowa

Offline jaeger

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Re: 20 Pound Turkey Experience
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2006, 04:15:27 AM »
Hopeful,
The cures that I use are blended with brown sugar, specifically for curing whole muscle meats. Some cures you should be able to find locally are Tender Quick, or High Mountain has a poultry cure available anywhere you find a good selection of their other seasoning/cures.

Don't forget to soak the bird for an hour or so and rinse well before smoking.
Here is a link for tender quick.
http://www.mortonsalt.com/consumer/products/foodsalts/tenderquick.htm

Have a great Super Bowl party!!!







<font size="2"><b>Doug</b></font id="size2">