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Planning for Turkey?

OK, so we're hosting our families for Thanksgiving. DH is willing to consider a turkey on the Egg, but we've never done a long cook - so this will be new territory.

We have 7 people total, so we're planning on a 20 lb. bird. I'm assuming we'll buy it tomorrow, defrost it Sunday-Wednesday, and then begin a brining in our coolor on Weds.

For a 20 lb bird, I'm hearing 12-15 minutes per lb., so 4-5 hours of cooking time (yes, we have a Thermapen!)

1)  What I don't know is how long the wood will last on a long cook like that. We have an XL, so do we stir it, fill it up, heat it up, and assume it will last 5 hours? If we needed to add wood, how would you do that while cooking?

2) Direct or indirect? We have fire bricks and a second grate to raise it into the dome, and we have a plate setter.

3) What do you put the turkey in? I could put the turkey in a roasting pan on the grate, but that just seems...weird.

4) I saw one person note that he had to remove the dome thermometer to accomodate the turkey. What do you plug that hole with then?

Other advice? (Can you tell we're anxious? Don't want to blow it!)




  • GramblerGrambler Posts: 150
    First, 5 hours is not a very long cook.a full fire box is way more than enough lump. Go easy on whatever wood you use - maybe half a handful of chips. Go indirect with a plate setter at roughly 350 until the bird is at 160. Put he turkey directly on the grate if you want with a drip pan underneath. What size egg do you have? Look this over as well. Really good stuff:
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,744
    I like spatchcocked. Direct, raised at 400. I cook about 12/13 lb birds and the time about 1 1/2 hr. bet 20 lb to be about 2 1/2 to 3 hr.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • Thanks, guys!

    We have an XL, so there should be plenty of room. The problem for me is that we moved this year, and I can't find my roasting pan!

    I can't spatchcock it - my MIL would kill me.  :-)  Presentation will matter in the process.

    And thanks for the Mad Max link - I'd read it, but it makes it seem a little overwhelming. I'll re-read so I get a little more comfy with it.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,778
    @Sandi_k-If I recall correctly, the great majority of the mad max recipe is geared toward the gravy.  The turkey part is pretty straight forward.  With the XLBGE you won't have any space issues-just make sure your drip pan is elevated off the platesetter so the drippings don't burn. 
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • @Lousubcap, thanks for the reassurance. Our current plan is:

    - Charcoal 1" below the platesetter, bring temp up to 350 and stabilize.
    - Platesetter legs up, grate on top.
    - Roasting pan on grate, with apple cider and whiskey in the pan
    - Rack in pan
    - Turkey on rack

    Does that sounds right?
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,778
    Sounds like a winner-I only have the LBGE.  I would guess you won't have any clearance problems with the dome thermo but you may want to do a test fit-hopefully those with the XL will chime in.
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • If you're planning on smoking the bird, you might find that wood chunks work better than chips.  The chips burn up quickly.  In a closed environment like the Egg, the chunks will smolder.  You don't need to soak the the chunks. 
    I try to use 2 -4 chunks that are about as big as a lemon.  It's plenty for a 15 lb. bird or an all-night
    pork BBQ cook. All the smoking happens in the first couple of hours.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,701
    In a regular charcoal grill, chips might burn faster than chunks, but in the egg with a low and slow, we're barely letting in enough air to keep a small fire burning.  Chips or chunks, doesn't really matter.  Chips are easier to distribute throughout your lump for constant smoke, especially if you aren't using much smoke and your chunks are huge (like if you only needed 5 oz of wood and that was one chunk).  I use both.  I find the chips are more convenient.
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Wow, I just read the Maxmax and it is intense - for the gravy anyway!  I will be attempting my first ever BGE turkey this year for 17 people and I am scared.
  • Not planning on smoking the bird. I like to control one variable at a time, so this time through, it's moving from oven to BGE. That's enough experimentation for the first cook.

  • AviatorAviator Posts: 1,724

    I am excited! Going to be home for TG and have called in for a big fresh turkey to be bought prior to my arrival (Now ! ). Will be flying in tomorrow afternoon to start the brine. This is my first one on the egg and want to make the best bird. Please continue all, we novices are soaking it up.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to all.


    Large and Small BGE, Blackstone 36 and a baby black Kub.

    Chattanooga, TN.


  • OK, sorry for the delayed update, I've been hosting family and not on the computer.

    Thanksgiving went very well - I bought a fresh turkey on Monday night. Kept in the fridge until Wednesday, when we cleaned it, dried it, and put it uncovered in the fridge.

    On Thursday morning, I removed it from the fridge at 11 am, and brought it up to room temp. I placed it on a V-rack in a 9x13" pan, and prepared it a la Mad Maxx - onion, lemon, salt and pepper in the cavity. For the paste: 2 sticks of softened butter, chopped thyme and sage, 2 tsp of minced garlic, and then sprinkled with Bone Sucker Sauce. Then I iced the breast for about 30 minutes, while we started the BGE.

    The pan - about 8 oz of chicken broth, onion, lemon, and a quartered green apple.

    Once the Egg was up to 350, the bird went in, with the previous plan:

    - Charcoal 1" below the platesetter, bring temp up to 350 and stabilize.
    - Platesetter legs up, grate on top.
    - Roasting pan on grate, with chicken broth, veggies, etc. in the pan
    - Rack in pan
    - Turkey on rack, legs to the back of the BGE.

    I checked it at 10 minutes to make sure the temp was holding, then let it cook for an hour before I tried basting. In the end, I simply "basted" with chicken broth from the box every 30 minutes.

    The 15 lb turkey cooked in 2 hours, 45 minutes. A beautiful bird! Very tasty, and moist too. I'll see if I can attach pics.

    Thanks for all the help - we will definitely do this again, since it was great to have the kitchen oven freed up for other foods!

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