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Turkey on Kamado versus Rotisserie

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    Turkey on Kamado versus Rotisserie

    Ok folks, I've saying (to the wife and kids if they cared, which they don't) that I was going to rotisserie my turkey on the Weber Performer this year, like I did last year with a 19 pound bird. Thought it was one of my best birds ever - and I've spatchcocked on the offset and kettle, deconstructed, smoked whole and rotisserie whole.

    Then I am re-reading Meathead's turkey article last night on my iPad where he suggests NOT using the rotisserie for a turkey, due to the issues with trussing and not getting things done as evenly. Plus I am starting to lean back to spatchcocked or deconstructed in order to cut the cooking time down.

    So, that brings me to the question. If not using the rotisserie, my choices are the offset, or the SNS Kamado in kamado or SNS mode, or the Weber Kettle with SNS.

    If I go in the kamado, it almost makes sense to run in kamado mode, so that I can fit a 16 to 20 pound turkey (I have both those sizes in the freezer) without issue. But.... here's the concern. It will be larger than the ceramic deflector on the SNS Kamado, so do I need to worry about that high heat coming up around the edges of the kamado overcooking any of the turkey that hangs out past the deflector plate? If so, how to I manage that? Should I form foil into a heat deflector on top of the ceramic one, put under the turkey (on the cooking grate) in any areas that hang out past the deflector, or just not worry about it?

    In the past I did a spatchcocked turkey large enough on the kettle to where the tips of the legs were hanging out over the water trough of the SNS, and I just wrapped the tips in foil...

    It seems to me that if you are doing a fairly long cook, the heat should eventually even out in the entire Kamado. Are you going to cook in the range of 325 to 350? If you're really concerned about excess heat around the edges, I would expect that to be much less of an issue if you let the cooker sit at that temp at least an hour before putting the bird on so that you aren't feeding a lot of air through the system to heat up all those ceramics. I never really worry about that in my Kamado, but then again my cooking grate is huge and I'm not sure I remember any cooks where much food went outside my Baking Steel deflector. So, my experiences may not translate to your cooker.


      I would probably quarter the Turkey up so you can get it arranged on the deflector.

      On the rotisserie side I got one of those turbo trusser gadgets to try out on a smaller 10-12 lbs bird since I had trying to truss up birds with twine.


        My family found Turkey done on the Kamado, (I have a BGE) just too smoky. I even just used charcoal, no wood added. That’s just us.


          Like jfmorris I've done turkeys numerous ways.

          My most successful were spatchcocking/ indirect on the kettle, and rotisserie. I think the secret for rotisserie is not to do large birds. I never go over 12 pounds and I've not had an issue with dryness. I use a SnS and don't pack it with too much charcoal, using the vents to keep the bird around 250°. Pretty much the same for grill roasting. I use either cherry or a small amount of hickory.

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          Last edited by Bkhuna; November 18, 2021, 12:31 PM.


            "Thought it was one of my best birds ever - and I've spatchcocked on the offset and kettle, deconstructed, smoked whole and rotisserie whole."

            You have already made a great argument in favor of the rotisserie. I'd just go with that.


            • jhapka
              jhapka commented
              Editing a comment
              I was just going to say the same thing. If your rotisserie bird was one of the best ever… play your greatest hits album

            Haha folks. The only thing that got me rethinking the rotisserie was that Meathead said it could be problematic to get the thighs done by the time the breast is done, and the trussing issue leading to dark meat not getting cooked as good as it can where the legs are pulled up against the body.

            To be honest, I may punt on kettles and Kamados and just fire up the offset at 350F, and roll that way. Been a couple years since I fired it up at this point, and it has a 24 x 36 cooking grate, and lots of headspace. I can spatchcock TWO 20 pound birds on that grate, or cook them whole and untrussed.


            • Draznnl
              Draznnl commented
              Editing a comment
              Understandable jfmorris . I use my pellet pooper instead of my WSM for the same reason. But, at some point the wife will ask, "why not get rid of that thing you never use? It’s just taking up space." By firing up the offset for Thanksgiving, you’ve bought a good 18 months nag free.

            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              Draznnl my offset was welded up by one of my dad's shop guys in the mid 1980's and is all 304 stainless, except for the front shelf and legs. I.e. the body, firebox and grates are all stainless. If it leaves the backyard it will be to go to my son's house, as it will be his turn to hold onto it for 30 years, which is how long I've had it!

            • Draznnl
              Draznnl commented
              Editing a comment
              Now that's what I call a great heirloom, jfmorris.

            Well jfmorris I guess I'm setting myself up for failure as I just ordered a special turkey trusser to spin my turkey and told the girls I was going to do rotisserie turkey and they got all excited. I've spatchcocked in the past and had good results with that on a pellet grill, but just thought it sounded fun to spin one for something different.


            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              Hey - don't turn all sour puss on me yet kitty! What an avatar, haha!

              I'm doing a turkey on Thursday and another one on Saturday, and may do one spatchcocked and one rotisserie. Time will tell, and I got a week to change my mind.

            If it helps, here is how a 19 pound bird came out LAST year:

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            And then THIS!!!

            Look closely, and you will see a splash of red on this breast I was slicing up. Why red? Because I cut my my thumb with the super sharp knife I was carving with and didn't know it until I had dripped blood on this breast. Heck I was wearing gloves, and sliced right through the glove. Just a little, but enough to start bleeding! I think the red is where my gloved thumb was holding the breast for slicing.

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            On the plus side, the entire family agreed that this was MY breast and they all partook of the other breast and rest of the turkey. I just ditched that part of the skin and ate it on sandwiches mostly.
            Last edited by jfmorris; November 18, 2021, 04:32 PM.


            • Craigar
              Craigar commented
              Editing a comment
              Dude, don't overthink this and replicate it. Too many voices screw up the soup.

            • Dan Deter
              Dan Deter commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah, I don't know why you'd want to change from that beauty!

            Ok, lemme se here, you want us to TELL you how you should cook yer big bird! You then relate a story about what ya been thinkin & what ya been readin & hemmin & a hawin & build a case all lawyer like. THEN ya hit us with a pictorial that gets us squirmin & salivatin & wantin a piece of that luscious display of fowl cookery. Four pictures on a separate post & a story how ya got wounded in the endeavor and you still want us to vote? C’mon man!


              This it the set up I use, I cook turkeys whole never tried spatchcock.
              I do have to do a bit off fitting to get this tray on my BKK but it works well and I get pan drippings for gravy. Has the benefit of no turkey overhang and getting overdone.
              I do use a heat deflector.
              The one downside some of the deeper leg and thigh joints don’t get the heat they should and need to be finished in the oven but the rest of the bird is spectacular.
              Good luck
              Attached Files


                Here is how I do mine on my BGE.

                Adequate Brine is the full recipe below, the second number reflects amount 3/4 for smaller turkeys. Use double roasting bags in a tray in the refrigerator.
                12# Turkey
                2 gallons of water, 1 1/2 gallon
                2 Cups of dark brown sugar 1 1/2 C.
                1 Cup of Kosher salt, 3/4 C.
                4 Oranges quartered and squeezed, 3 Oranges
                4 Cups of Cranberry juice, 3 C.
                2 Tablespoons of whole cloves, 1 1/2 T.
                6 Bay leaves, 4
                4 teaspoons of whole peppercorns, 3T
                1 Cup of Southern Comfort, 3/4

                Mix and dissolve

                Brine for 8 - 24 hours

                Remove from brine and pat dry. Stuff oranges into Turkey.

                Because the breast cooks faster than the thighs, fill a two quart baggies with Ice and and connected together with clips. Place the baggies on the breast in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before rubbing with oil and placing on the Egg.

                Rub with oil.

                1. Set BGE for low and slow cook.
                2. Start fire just to the front of the center with starter sequare 20 minutes with dome closed and both top and bottom vents wide open. After 20 minutes install the Smobot and put the platesetter in with the Smobot set at 225. Place a baking stone on the grill with one of the old oven broiling pans lined in foil and a raised grate in the pan to place the Turkey on. Place the ambient probe on the grill near the bottom vent. It will take about 40 minutes for the BGE to stabilize at 225.
                3. Remove plate setter and put in fist size piece of hickory returning plate setter.
                4. Put Smobot probes in Turkey - one in breast and the other in the thigh.
                5. Set up Set Smobot to cook at 225. Untruss and place the Turkey with the breast toward the bottom vent.
                6. Cook at 225 until meat temp reaches 140 when it stops taking on smoke. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to reach 140. Then set Smobot to 325 until breast meat probe reaches 165 and thigh reaches 175. It should take about 1-1 1/4 hours to reach the target temperatures.
                7. Remove probes and let turkey rest uncovered for at least 30 minutes. Click image for larger version

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                • jfmorris
                  jfmorris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's a pretty bird! I see with the pan and rack you've basically got a second level heat deflector to make sure the direct heat isn't hitting the turkey.

                • smokin fool
                  smokin fool commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Outstanding looking cook, your idea of icing the breasts prior to cooking is brilliant.
                  As I lamented the thighs aren't always done when I carve my bird, this method is going in my arsenal.
                  I usually go with frozen brined turkeys so use 1/4 cup kosher salt when brining other than that your brine is much like mine. Never tried the Cranberry juice though and sub beer for SC.

                Hmmm. Sounds like FireMan wants me to start a poll on how I should cook my turkey! I guess I wanted to bounce ideas off folks, and started arguing with myself, haha!


                  jfmorris Don't fix what ain't broken and don't try to reinvent the wheel. You had tremendous success with the rotisserie last time. Do it again. 2 years ago I did a rotisserie bird and it was one of the best I've ever had. Last year I used the PBC and the results weren't as good, although it was still awfully good. This year, it will be rotisserie.


                    Well, I've decided since I am cooking a 16 pound bird on Thursday and a 20 pound bird on Saturday that I'm going to do the first one spatchcocked, on the SNS Kamado, in kamado mode. I'll add a foil pan above the ceramic deflector as added heat deflection if it appears any of the spatchcocked turkey is hanging out past the ceramic deflector. The reason to go this way is to get the bird done FASTER. We've got a 1pm Thanksgiving lunch at my mother in laws house, and a 5pm Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house - the 16 pound bird is getting taken to my folks house at 5pm. So, knowing spatchcocked shaves about an hour of the cook, taking that cook from 3 to 2 hours, it gets the nod.

                    I'l probably setup the SNSK, light a starter cube and put the deflector and grates in place, then set the PartyQ for 325F, and head to the in-laws about 12:45pm. About 2pm I will come back and get the turkey going, then sneak back to the MIL's house (1 mile away), and monitor the turkey cook remotely using the Smoke Gateway. About 4pm, its time to head home, get the turkey wrapped and packed in a cooler for the ridge to Grandma's house....

                    On Saturday, my son wants to come help me cook brunch on the Camp Chef flat top, and the turkey dinner all day, so we will most likely fire up the Performer on Saturday and setup the Weber rotisserie and spin that 20 pound bird, since we will have 3.5 hours to spare for the turkey that day.


                    • FireMan
                      FireMan commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Excellent choice, when in doubt do more of everything!

                    • Andrrr
                      Andrrr commented
                      Editing a comment
                      What's for brunch? My griddle has been giving me a neglectful stink eye lately.

                    • jfmorris
                      jfmorris commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Andrrr I am thinking basic breakfast fare, so that its kinda light. A few pounds of homemade bacon, sausage, eggs, hashbrowns, maybe a few pancakes. 11AM for those that make it, otherwise they eat turkey and fixings at 5PM.

                      I just hope the griddle doesn't have rust when I uncover it! It's been under the cover out in the rain, and has not been used in 3 or 4 weeks.
                      Last edited by jfmorris; November 23, 2021, 02:14 PM.


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