As someone who has been smoking meat for years, I’ve been asked by friends and family whether it's possible to smoke two turkeys at once.
At first, I was skeptical, but after some experimentation and research, I'm happy to report that smoking two turkeys at the same time is not only feasible, but it can also be a delicious and savory experience.
- You can smoke two turkeys at once if you have the right equipment and enough space.
- Use a reliable meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the turkeys.
- You may need to rotate the position of the turkeys to ensure even cooking.
Can You Smoke Two Turkeys at Once?
Yes, you can smoke two turkeys at once. However, there are a few things you should take into consideration before putting two birds in your smoker at the same time.
One of the main advantages of smoking two smaller turkeys at once is that it will save time. Cooking two 15-pound turkeys can save almost half the time of a 30-pound turkey.
If you have a large family or are hosting a holiday gathering, preparing dual turkeys means you will have enough meat to feed everyone without spending extra time cooking.
Additionally, smoking two smaller turkeys at once is more efficient than cooking them separately since you can use the same amount of fuel and smoke for cooking both turkeys.
Another advantage of preparing two at the same time is that you can experiment with different flavor profiles.
You can use separate seasonings or rubs on each smoked turkey to create unique combinations. This can be particularly helpful for guests with distinct taste preferences or dietary requirements.
Preparing the Turkeys for Smoking
Before you start to smoke the turkey, you need to prepare it properly.
First, make sure that your turkey is thawed if it is frozen. I do not recommend you grill frozen turkeys as they will not cook evenly.
Next, remove the giblets and neck from each turkey and rinse them under cold water. Pat them dry with paper towels and season them with your desired seasoning or rub.
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder make a great rub, but what you put in yours should be based on personal preference.
You can also inject each bird with apple juice or other liquids to add flavor and moisture.
- How to Smoke a Turkey in a Charcoal Smoker?
- How to Smoke a Turkey in an Electric Smoker?
- How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill?
Cooking Time and Temperature
The cooking time and temperature for two turkeys will vary depending on their weight and the type of smoker you are using. Most people should plan to smoke a turkey for 30 to 40 minutes of cooking time per pound.
The internal temperature of the thickest portion of the smoked turkey breast meat and the thickest part of the thigh should reach 165°F to ensure the turkey is fully cooked .
To grill more than one bird simultaneously, I suggest maintaining a smoker temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit .
Leave enough space between each bird for the smoke to circulate. If the smaller turkeys are too close together, they may not cook evenly and could finish at different times.
"Smoking a turkey changes the way you think about turkey forever."
- Guy Fieri, American Chef
Also Read: Temperature and Smoking Time Chart
10 Tips for Cooking Two Turkeys at Once
- Preheat the smoker before putting the turkeys inside.
- Smoke turkeys on separate racks if your smoker has enough room. You can also use your smoker's top shelf for cooking smaller turkeys.
- If the turkeys are not the same size or type, place the larger or heavier turkey on the bottom grate or closer to the heat source. The smaller turkey can go on the top rack to keep it from cooking faster.
- Place a drip pan underneath the turkeys to catch any drippings. This will help prevent flare-ups and keep the bottom of the smoker clean. As a bonus, the drippings can make a delicious turkey gravy.
- Adding a water pan to the smoker can help regulate the temperature and keep the turkey moist.
- Wood chips can add a great taste when you eat your smoked turkey. Consider using apple wood or hickory chips for a delicious, smoky flavor.
- Once your turkeys finish cooking, remove them from the smoker and let them rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making it juicy and flavorful.
- Rotate the 2 turkeys halfway through the smoking process to ensure they are cooked evenly on all sides.
- Baste the smoked turkey often with juices, apple juice, or butter periodically to keep it moist and add flavor.
- Leftovers can be kept for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in the oven or microwave.
Challenges of Smoking Two Turkeys at Once
While smoking multiple turkeys at once can save you time and effort, it does come with a few challenges. One of the main challenges is ensuring that both turkeys cook evenly.
This can be particularly challenging if you are cooking turkeys of different sizes. If one turkey is larger than the other, it may take longer to cook, resulting in the smaller smoked turkey becoming overcooked or drying out.
Another challenge when you smoke two turkeys together is finding enough room in your smoker. Preparing two turkeys simultaneously requires more space than grilling only one, so you must have a large smoker to accommodate both birds.
The turkeys may not cook evenly or take longer if the wood or charcoal smoker is too small.
Try to buy small turkeys, as each bird will cook faster and be easier to handle.
Safety Tips and Considerations
When cooking two turkeys at the same time, keeping food safety in mind is essential.
Here are some important safety considerations to keep in mind:
- Thaw the turkey properly: If you're using frozen turkey instead of fresh turkey from a local farm, be sure to thaw it properly before cooking. No matter how much turkey you have, thawing it in the fridge is the safest method. But if you're short on time, you can also defrost it in cold water.
- Use enough fuel: Ensure you have enough fuel to keep the smoker at the proper temperature for the entire turkey roasting process.
- Keep the smoker clean: Regularly clean your smoker to prevent the buildup of creosote, which can be a fire hazard when smoking turkey.
- Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands and any surfaces that come into contact with the raw turkey to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Is It Better to Cook Two Small Turkeys or One Big One?
It is better to cook two small turkeys than one large one. This is especially important when cooking two turkeys simultaneously in a smoker, as space may be an issue. It also gives you more drumsticks, dark meat, younger and more tender birds, and shorter cooking times.
Does a Bigger Turkey Have More Food Per Pound?
No, a bigger turkey does not have more food per pound. A larger turkey has to have a bigger skeleton to support its weight, which leaves less room for the meat. You get more meat on smaller birds.
Is Smoking Two Turkeys a Good Idea?
Smoking two turkeys together is feasible for most cooks and also results in the most efficient way to smoke for your guests.
By following the tips and techniques shared in this article, you can be confident in this procedure and achieve mouth-watering results.
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This meat delivery service offers premium-quality poultry that is free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and added nitrates.