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Old 20-11-2009, 05:11 PM posted to
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Default 20 lb turkey in my NBSS, am I crazy?

In my personal experience, cooking a turkey on a smoker is so easy you
shoudn't tell anyone. Seriously... that easy.

As long as your smoker holds temps, you are as good as gold. And with
the turkey being a large one, it will be in there plenty of time to
pick up good smoke.

I wash and clean mine, then salt (only) the inside of the cavity. I
mix up a few spices with butter into a pasted and work them under the

I use the last of the butter mixed with a bit of salt and pepper to
cover the rest of the turkey. I fold the wings under for stability,
and plop it on the smoker. I don't put anything like onions celery
etc., in the cavity as I like the smoke only taste. You can add that
stuff and it adds a different dimension to the flavor, but I like the
smoke too much to dilute the flavoring.

Bump the cooking temps up to 325 - 350 F. This isn't a pork shoulder
or brisket... it's a bird! No tissue to break down, so no long cook
at low temps needed. And with the skin oiled with butter (or olive
oil, or PAM and its cousins, etc.) you bird won't burn.

Keeping it around 350F should give you roughly 20 minutes (+/-) on the
bird. Your bird should be done in about 6 - 7 hours depending on your

Seriously... it couldn't be easier. Last time I smoked turkeys I did
two 14 lb birds on my Chargriller, and all I did the entire time was
to switch the bird position since it burns about 25 degrees hotter on
the firebox side.

On my old barrel pit, (R.I.P. old girl... *sniff*) I could do 3 14 -
15# turkeys at once. I would smoke them at Thanksgiving because they
were cheap to buy, and vacuum seal the meat and eat it for a few

Just remember... keep those temps up (350F or so) and you will be