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      12-02-2019, 11:23 PM   #1193
pennsiveguy
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Originally Posted by Torgus View Post
I did the same for a friends giving. Did 2 20 lb birds. Brining is key and yes it is much more of a bake. You really don't want to slow cook big birds as I am sure you are aware.
Hard to do an A-B direct comparison of a bird cooked at 225 versus an identical bird done at 300, but from my experience a bird cooked at a lower temp tends to dry out a bit, likely due to the prolonged exposure and the resulting evaporation losses. You also don't get the lovely color like you do when you cook at the hotter temps. Same goes for big birds. I've done a couple of 20-pounders, but that's pushing it. Anything much bigger, and it's hard to get it done without the outside of the breast getting dry. You can foil the breast for part of the cook, but then you end up with uneven color and/or doneness.

Turkeys are honestly the hardest cut I smoke, and the most stressful cook I do all year. I can do briskets in my sleep and get solid-to-stellar results with zero stress. But having a dozen foodies and very accomplished cooks waiting inside while I cook the main dish of a once-a-year meal is way tougher. I haven't blown one yet, thankfully. By my count this was 29th consecutive smoked Thanksgiving turkey.
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