Turkey plan

Jsel45

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Hi all,

I’m in charge of the turkey as I am every year, but this year I have a rec teq and it’s the first time I’m employing it for Thanksgiving.

The main issue is that afternoon lunch isn’t at my house, but at my in laws. Transporting a cooked bird 15 mins isn’t an issue, but figuring out timing is.

Would love any suggestions! We’ll be eating at 3 PM, but heading over at 10 am. Ideally I’d like to have it cooked by the time we go over there. Or do I cook it partially and finish it in the oven?

Do I cook it all the way, drive over let it rest for a hour or so, put it in the fridge, carve it up and bring it to temp in the oven an hour or so before eating? The goal is juicy flavor and if possible retain some of the crispy skin, but that’s less important. I also want to ensure that my turkey isn’t going to make anyone sick by being in the danger zone either while cooking or resting.

My main plan was to smoke it at 180 overnight and then when I wake up at 7 I’d crank it up to finish cooking. Just saved me some time from fiddling around with it at 6 am, got a baby and a toddler so mornings are a little hectic.
 

SmokeOCD

Well-known member
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642
I'm with @Motodad1776 - Spatchcock the night before, throw it on at 7am, it's done by 10am. Although I did mine at 325*. All you have to do is keep checking the temp after the 2 hour mark. Not really that much work.
Put butter on it before reheating under the broiler until the skin is crispy again.
 

Pacman

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  1. RT-1250
My main plan was to smoke it at 180 overnight and then when I wake up at 7 I’d crank it up to finish cooking.
Not sure I'm reading this right, but I don't see that working, particularly the "180 overnight" part. I see more like a 5am or 6am start time depending upon your cooking temp, size of bird, spatchcocked, etc. Pull and wrap at 10am, hop in the car and get to your destination. Maybe pop it in a 325 - 350 degree oven loosely foiled for 30 minutes or so to crisp/re-crisp the skin before dinner.

I would not mess with the fridge part of cooling down and then reheating as you go through the iffy thermal range twice cooling and then reheating (actually three times including the ramp up of the initial cook). I'd cook it, keep it warm above 140, and hope you can preserve the moisture and revive some crispy skin.

If all else fails, cook the bird like you would do it in a regular oven in previous years with your travels in mind. Maybe just do as @Motodad1776 said and run at 275 - 325 for the whole cook. It sounds like you're going to have a lot going on with cooking, wrapping, dressing/loading up kids, obligatory crying at some random point, etc.

Frankly I am happy to deal with the post-holiday apocalypse mess in my own home rather than trying to cook and travel with a meal in the trunk/hatchback. That, like small kids, is a younger person's game.

Best of luck!

Let us know how it goes, even if it's a, "I'll never try that again," story.
 

Jsel45

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  1. Stampede
Not sure I'm reading this right, but I don't see that working, particularly the "180 overnight" part. I see more like a 5am or 6am start time depending upon your cooking temp, size of bird, spatchcocked, etc. Pull and wrap at 10am, hop in the car and get to your destination. Maybe pop it in a 325 - 350 degree oven loosely foiled for 30 minutes or so to crisp/re-crisp the skin before dinner.

I would not mess with the fridge part of cooling down and then reheating as you go through the iffy thermal range twice cooling and then reheating (actually three times including the ramp up of the initial cook). I'd cook it, keep it warm above 140, and hope you can preserve the moisture and revive some crispy skin.

If all else fails, cook the bird like you would do it in a regular oven in previous years with your travels in mind. Maybe just do as @Motodad1776 said and run at 275 - 325 for the whole cook. It sounds like you're going to have a lot going on with cooking, wrapping, dressing/loading up kids, obligatory crying at some random point, etc.

Frankly I am happy to deal with the post-holiday apocalypse mess in my own home rather than trying to cook and travel with a meal in the trunk/hatchback. That, like small kids, is a younger person's game.

Best of luck!

Let us know how it goes, even if it's a, "I'll never try that again," story.
Yeah, it’s a dilemma. My folks place is close enough that I could feasibly do a turkey run and bring it back. I really just wanted a set it and forget it but ideally I have it done at 2, carve at 3.

I’ll definitely report back. I figured with a 18 pound bird it’d take at least 5 hours.
 

Jsel45

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  1. Stampede
Poultry is not a low and slow cook. So recommend against 180 overnight. 275 minimum. Recteq just did an all things turkey video last week. In it they said timewise 20 min per lb @325 and 15 min per lb @350.
Thanks! Yeah, figured as much. When you smoke a turkey - what temp do you do it at? My original plan was 180 for a few hours to cook off/evaporate the brine on the skin and then crank it to 325 for 3 hours.
 

Lager1829

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Tomorrow I'm doing 350 until the breast measures 155/160. Thermaworks recommends optimum breast temp to pull the turkey is 157. Spatchcocked and dry brined a 16lb last night. Good luck with yours!!
 

JoeNizzle

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Thanks! Yeah, figured as much. When you smoke a turkey - what temp do you do it at? My original plan was 180 for a few hours to cook off/evaporate the brine on the skin and then crank it to 325 for 3 hours.
Like others have said, do not smoke poultry at 180. Cook for 325 or 350, 20 min per lb @325 and 15 min per lb @350 as an estimate only. Temperature is the only thing to go by, which is why I have a recteq to begin with. Since you will not be far away, you can keep track of the temp through the app and go pick it up when done. Best advice I can give you, good luck
 

Jsel45

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  1. Stampede
2 hours in and I got the breast at 103 and thigh at 118! Lunch not for 4 hours… I’m at 325 now, should I turn it down?

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Jsel45

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  1. Stampede
@325 from start you can estimate 15 mins./lbs. at least for a whole bird not spach’t YMMV
Any issues with just cranking it down to stall the temp gain and push it back up to 325 when I want to finish it closer to eating time?
 

RattleR

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Any issues with just cranking it down to stall the temp gain and push it back up to 325 when I want to finish it closer to eating time?
Apologies, I got caught up in family and smoking. I would have tried dropping the heat to slow it down but more experienced folks with these pellet devices will know way better.
 
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  1. Bull
Spatchcock and cook at a higher temp. Add a smoke tube and cook at 350 or 375 for getting a crispy skin. Don’t cook at the normal slow temp. Like 180 or 225.
 

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