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Suggestions on a 25 Pound Turkey?

edited 10:45AM in EggHead Forum
Hi Y'all,
I'm doing a 25 pounder on the large for a friend for his Thangiving dinner.
I know, I know, I must have been momentarily out of my mind when I agreed but something about the egg just makes me want to share, ya know?
He would like the bird to be kept simple so the whole family (the tikes, the picky, the inlaws) will enjoy as some have never had a freshly "smoked" turkey. [p]
I have done birds up to 15 lbs with no problems and they have turned out really great. However, I know there are inherent problems with evenly cooking a bird so big... the main one being the breast drying out before the rest is done.
I planned on sitting the bird directly on the grill extender at 350-75 for the first hour or so with a large drip pan below filled with water, fresh lemon juice and fresh sage and a handful of pecan chips on the coals. After that dropping the temp down to 310-25 for the rest of the cook. [p]After the first hour would a loose foil tent over the breast help?

The bird will be fresh and locally raised. No brine, no stuffing, with a light rub, lemon halves and fresh sage sprigs in the cavity.
I will hand deliver when done. So, you see, my reputation as a cook is kinda on the line here. Then off to my huge family's gathering where everyone else will have cooked for me. [p]Does anyone see any problem with this approach?
Has anyone ever done that big a turkey in the big daddy? Will it even fit inside big daddy with the grill extender attached?
All thoughts, comments, suggestions, would be greatly apprciated.
Happy Friday, Kovo


  • Kovo,
    First of all, I would DEFINATELY test the size to see if it would even fit. You may bump the top with a bird that size. I think you will totally be out of luck with a grill extender, but you may be ok with just the regular grill. Also, I like to try for a "crisp" outter coating to hold internal moisture in. If you baste the bird with a honey, or even Coca Cola, type mixture the sugars in the baste will form a 'hard shell' around the bird to help hold in moisture. Try mixing butter or garlic with your Coke or honey for added flavor. However, I've never applied this theory to a bird that size, but I couldn't hurt. Good Luck, BamaBBQ "Roooooooollllllllll Tide Roll"

  • BamaBBQ,
    See your point. Perhaps hang the grill extender below the main grill to hold the drip pan and to add valuable space. Unfortunately I will not have the bird until Tues. so its all conjecture up to this point... just trying head off any problems at the pass.
    I like your glaze suggestion. My only hesitation is the glaze may get too brown after 7 or so hours of cookin'. What's your take on my cook temp approach? The foil tent?

  • Kovo,
    Ever since I was a kid, I've never been a big fan of turkey, just the word conjures up images of bland, dried out, stringy meat stuck in my teeth. Even after cooking up a few on thet Egg, it's tough to shake those deeply imbedded memories. But I've gotta tell ya, the buzzards that I do cook are for large gatherings and go on the plus side of 22 pounds. I've only done a few, but I've tried a bunch of different methods and have yet to dry anything out other than the tips of the wings. The way that works best for me (and has been devoured the quickest time and again) is this:[p] I start with a large Tom, make a dozen slits in the skin with a paring knife and slide as many pats of butter under the skin.
    Mix up a nice sugarless, paprika based rub and work it into the bird all over, inside and out.
    Glug down half a Bud and poke an extra hole in the top of the can, drop a couple of Tbs leftover rub into the can and swish it around a bit.
    Get the Egg stabilized at about 350, lay down some wine soaked hickory and cherry chips, set a 9" foil pan down with the beer can in the middle, poke the vertical sitter up through the neck (expose the top ring of the rack, makes for easy lifting with the hook end of your ash tool on removal) and center it over the beer can.
    Insert the polder in a nice meaty part of the thigh and don't open the dome again til the polder beeps at whatever the internal temp is supposed to be (175?)
    Put on my apron and goggles for carving because even slicing into the breast, that sucker is gonna squirt hot juice all over the place. Carve right off the rack over a cutting board with a deep trough.
    At this point you will want to have the gravy pan all set up and ready to roll, just dump the juices from the cutting board into the gravy pan.
    This is where I usually look out the window and say something like "Holy sh*t, did anybody see that deer out there?" When everyone's attention has been diverted, I lick the cutting board clean.[p]Good Luck and Good Q

  • Forgot to mention, with a bird that size you probably should slide the dome thermometer out an inch or more to make sure that it's not poking into the bird, you could break it or burn the bird while trying to get the dome temp up over 50 degrees. I don't think that you'll fit it in there with a grid extender.
  • One More Thing,
    Yes, yes. All very sound advice.
    Sounds like no problem with a bird that large fitting in big daddy vertically.
    I don't know if I can find a turkey sized vertical sitter before then or if my already overextended budget can afford it. Might have to lay 'er down on the main grid and hang the extender below to catch the drippings.
    Thanks for the detailed response... a keeper. -K

  • Kovo,
    No problem. Last year at Thanksgiving I did a 30.5 lb Tom. It just barely fit into my large, but it did! And it was great! I did it on a gill extender over a drip pan. I was not able to brine it, however, since I would have had to use the kitchen sink!

  • J AppledogJ Appledog Posts: 1,046
    Kovo, I'd start out basting the bird with a mixture of butter & olive oil and save the glaze until the last half hour for a large turkey. JCA

  • J Appledog,
    Would that be just an initial baste or baste periodically throughout? -K

  • GretlGretl Posts: 670
    Citizen Q,
    This sounds similar to what I do, with one exception: I don't make any slits in the skin. When I add any seasonings under the skin (and I always do), I'm careful not to break the skin. This way, the skin holds all the seasonings and the juice in. Delicious. I've had great luck with this method.
    p.s. Another difference: No Bud, Yuengling Chesterfield Ale.

  • Gretl,
    Alas, no Yeungling on Cape Cod, but I have picked up a few cases and a couple of t-shirts at the brewery on rides home from Hershey or Carlisle. Great stuff, puts Sam Adams to shame. I'll hafta see what I can do about avoiding the cuts in the future, makes sense. Thanks for the tip and the memories.

  • J AppledogJ Appledog Posts: 1,046
    Kovo, That's all I do up until the last half hour. JCA

  • GretlGretl Posts: 670
    Citizen Q,
    Yep; great brewery and an interesting tour. We've visited several times. The ale's my favorite. I'm spoiled! We once had the pleasure of meeting Master Brewer **** Yuengling, who was tending bar after the tour. Sadly, he died a few years ago. At the time we met him, he was so gracious and sweet. Also, since he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's, he forgot we'd already had our sample and he kept giving us more beer!

  • Kovo,
    Brine that bird first!
    Then you can bring the brest temp to around 170 degrees.
    This will insure the thigh temp. is abought 175-180 degrees.
    Nice and done,but not dried out or taste-less thanks to the brining.
    Good Luck....[p]GaryJ [p]

  • Gary J,
    Do you have a favorite brine recipe?
    J Appledog suggested one that sounds delicious.
    Do you lay her down on the grill or use a vert. roaster?
    What's your approach on cook temps?
    Appreciate your input.

  • Kovo,
    I have had good success with the universally accepted brine ratio of 3/4 - 1 cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. To this I usually add 1 cup of brown sugar to each gallon of water. I use fresh garlic cloves, crushed and chopped,along with fresh twigs of rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Take a portion of the water you are going to use(2 quarts) and bring to a boil. Add salt, sugar, herbs, and spices. Let this cool then add the rest of your cold water. Put the bird into the cold brine and let her sit for about 24 hours. It ain't fancy but it works.
    Bring your egg up to about 350 degrees.
    I bring the internal breast meat up to 170 degrees. Some people suggest lower but I've always found the 170 works good and the meat stays moist due to the brining.
    I use an indirect setup - aluminum drip pan with a V-rack sitting in the drip pan
    This method of operation may not be the optimum but it hasn't failed me yet.
    Beats the heck out of a no brine bird cooked in an oven.
    Hopes this helps. Good luck. [p]GaryJ [p]

  • Gary J,
    With all the great suggestions over the past 2 days I don't think I can fail. Y'all have been most generous sharing your hard-earned experiences. Hope I can repay someday.
    Cheers, -K

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