Author Topic: 20 lb. turkey  (Read 555 times)

Offline rnmac

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20 lb. turkey
« on: July 20, 2019, 06:48:06 am »
Hi everyone. I found a 20 pound turkey in my freezer & need the room so it's time to do something with it. I'm thinking about spatchcocking it. Maybe even taking the drums n thighs off and splitting the breast in 2. I'll brine it in a apple brine then dust with Jan's rub. Now comes the part I would like some knowledge about. Can I take the breasts up to 180 or 195 and pull the meat with a finishing sauce? Or would it be to dried out?
Thanks in advance for any help with this.

Offline Edward176

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Re: 20 lb. turkey
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2019, 11:09:46 am »
Hi rnmac, I'm no authority on smoking but I cook my poultry white meat to an IT of 165°F only. Any higher and it starts to dry out, this is just my personal preference whether smoking or baking a turkey.

Offline cathouse willy

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Re: 20 lb. turkey
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2019, 11:32:26 am »
 "Can I take the breasts up to 180 or 195 and pull the meat with a finishing sauce? Or would it be to dried out? "

White meat cooked to those temps will be dry like sawdust it's just too lean.

« Last Edit: July 20, 2019, 11:33:58 am by cathouse willy »

Offline Ka Honu

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Re: 20 lb. turkey
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2019, 12:42:31 pm »
If I wanted shredded turkey breasts I'd rub then smoke for an hour or so and then put directly into a crockpot with liquid (beer, butter, soup mix, etc. - Google pulled or shredded turkey for ideas) for 4-5 hours.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 20 lb. turkey
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2019, 01:38:12 pm »
You should be able to shred the breast after they reach 165°F, or maybe a combination of shredding and chopping. Taking the breast to 180°F or 195°F, even adding the finishing sauce the meat texture may be stringy. The dark meat you can take to 180°F to 185°F, some cookbooks state that is the prefer temperature for dark meat. If you smoke the breast on one rack, and the leg quarters on a second rack, you can take the breast out when it hits 165°F, and continue to cook the leg quarters until they reach the preferred temperature.


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Offline rnmac

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Re: 20 lb. turkey
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2019, 01:42:22 pm »
Thanks for the input all. I'll go for 165 with the breast & 175 or so with the legs and thighs then
decide what to do with it from there.
If I can remember I'll even post a pic or 2.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 20 lb. turkey
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2019, 01:41:50 am »
If you decide to slice the breast meat, when I cook the breast separately from the dark meat, I only take the breast to 150°F to 155°F. I still take the dark meat (if cooking separately) to 175°F, because the connective tissue in the dark meat breaks down further making the dark meat more tender, and it still stays moist.

The below link is an interesting article. Your need to scroll down a bit to view the temperature chart.

How to Take the Temperature of Your Turkey


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Offline rnmac

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Re: 20 lb. turkey
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2019, 05:44:58 am »
That was a interesting read, thanks Habs.
So now I think that I will shoot for the 150°F to 155°F range for the breast meat and slice it.
Am planning on packaging it with the vac sealer & reheating with a gentle heat whenever needed.
The dark meat will go to 175 and probably disappear before it can make it to storage.

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: 20 lb. turkey
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2019, 01:06:07 pm »
Sounds good. Just an additional note. When I smoke/roast at a low temperature, I generally will take the breast to 155°F, but 150°F is still good.


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