What You Need
· Optional - 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
· Sharp Knife
· Large Rimmed Baking Sheet or Meat Platter
Instructions – 18 to 24 lbs bird
· Note: with a larger frozen turkey, you’ll need to allow 3 days for it to slowly defrost in the fridge and at least 12 hours to dry brine before you proceed.
· Using a meat cleaver, spatchcock the turkey by cutting along both sides of the backbone; reserve backbone piece. If the turkey is still frozen, place it in the sink and run room temperature water over it until it is thawed.
· Flip the bird breast side up, and use a knife to cut down the middle of the breasts; once the meat is separated, use a meat cleaver to cut through the center of the breastbone.
· Once the bird is dry brined, it should be dry and ready for the smoker!
· Optional – slather the outside of the bird with softened unsalted butter.
· Set-up smoker; temp should hover be between 250 and 300 degrees.
· Place turkey halves breast side up in smoker; make sure they are not overlapping or touching.
· Monitor the temperature of the bird and the smoker.
· The breast is cooked when the temperature reaches 165 degrees.
· The thigh/leg is cooked when the temperature reaches 175 degrees.
· To prevent overcooking of the breast or undercooking the thigh/leg, you may wish to separate the breast/wing from the thigh leg as soon as the breast meat reaches optimal temperature – 165 degrees. You can do this by pulling each half of the turkey out of the smoker, placing them on a baking sheet, platter, or other large clean surface. Then, using paper towels, gently pry the breast away from the thigh/leg – the bird should be mostly cooked, making it easy to pull apart, but you may also need to use a knife wherever there is resistance. Place the thigh/leg pieces back into the smoker until each reaches 175 degrees. While the thigh/leg is still smoking, loosely tent the breast pieces with foil to keep them warm. Alternatively, the breast pieces can be wrapped in foil and placed in a low temperature oven or empty ice cooler with the lid down to keep warm.
· When the bird is fully cooked, carve it up and enjoy it with friends and family!
· Breast meat on a 24 lbs bird will take approximately 5 hours.
· Thigh/leg meat on a 24 lbs bird will take approximately 5 hours 30 minutes.