Smoking Turkey

  • Hello,
    I thought I asked the question a few days ago, but I am not very good at using this blog business. I watched your smoked turkey demonstration & also purchased the brine mix from you for brining the turkey & the ham. The question I thought I asked, but apparently did not is this. Beyond your demonstration for smoking the turkey & the ham for that matter; After smoking the turkey (according to your specific instructions) especially, but also the ham I want to safely cool it down, travel to another area, & then heat up the individual servings (or the whole turkey && ham if necessary) safely. Is there any particular additional procedures I should follow to make this perfect? Is it better to pre-slice everything after the initial smoke & re-heat or is it better to keep them whole & heat them up later? I am wide open to any ideas, thoughts, tips, or suggestions. I will be smoking ham, turkey, oysters, stuffing, sweet potatoes, butter. I have just never done it all in advance before, then traveled, & re-heated so I want to make certain I have this down pat. I have always just done all my eating & drinking at home so whatever I cooked, we ate it here at home right away for the most part. Thank you for your help. Dave

  • Walton's Employee

    @calldoctoday I’m fairly certain you asked this question the other day in the comments section on the youtube video How To Make Homemade Smoked Turkey.

    Here was my response “For food safety reasons when reheating poultry you should get it back to 165°. If you are going to do that then you have two options for reheating in the oven. The first would be to put the whole turkey back in the oven at about 350° and wait for the internal temperature to reach the desired levels. The other option would be to slice the turkey and then put it in the oven, the advantage of that would be it would get up to temp MUCH quicker, the issue is that it is going to dry out the pieces more. Now, cooking to 165° is strictly a food safety issue and when reheating left overs a lot of people won’t cook back to that temperature as, presumably, it was already cooked to 165°. Doing that or not is up to you!”

    So to summarize, I wouldn’t slice it first as when you heat it back up it is going to dry out more than I am sure you would want it too. And you really should reheat your turkey to 165° this is some good reference material ( from the USDA

    For Ham it should be reheated to 140° Here is some reference material from the USDA for reheating Ham (

  • @calldoctoday traveling with oysters and turkey - man - living on the edge of a great meal or a bad diet plan. I don’t know what the time frame is between cooking and traveling so I will throw this out. I would recommend, at least, separating the breast and being certain that the entire turkey has cooled down before packaging. there are creative ways to warm it and keep it moist. Turkey, refrigerated, 3 days to consume (four if there are no attorneys at the meal.) Oysters and stuffing make certain that everything is completely cool (refrigerated overnight) before packing a transporting. I know a family that got sick at a Thanksgiving Dinner/Reunion…it was a long drive home for them and they chose to meet at a restaurant for Christmas.
    Jon is correct 😮 about the internal temp when rewarming

  • Thank you all for your help, I really appreciate it. Yes, I have done this before & used the brines & all, but got it all cooked & then ate it. No transportation, etc. I enjoy all the cooking, I just wish I did not have to transport for the eatting part & definitely want to be safe. But also, I don’t want a dried out finally either! That would defeat the whole purpose of the pump & brine & slow smoke. Honestly, I was hoping a could cool, refrigerate, slice & place in foil pans like the caterers do & seem to keep them juicy. However, it sounds like it is best to keep everything whole (Hams, Turkeys, vegetables, & dressings), cool, pack, & re-heat. I have never been real hot on the temperatures, just working it, looking at it, etc. But, my wife keeps me at bay with that as she is just the opposite. Let me know if I misunderstood anything & if any of you have any other ideas, tips, or thoughts. I am just about tempted to try & transport my smoker with all the meat still in brining pots, etc. but that seems like even a bigger catstrophe awaiting to happen. Thanks again, Dave

  • @jonathon Yes I did. I am sorry for repeating it. However, when I was on the lookout for answers I could find neither the answer or the question. So, I thought maybe it did not take or something. I was not sure & I am not very good at this blogging business. Thanks for the response & pardon me for making you go though it all twice. Dave

  • Walton's Employee

    @calldoctoday No worries, I was looking around for it on meatgistics for 15 minutes because I KNEW I answered this question and I started worrying I had deleted it somehow! What @Departing-Contestant said is 100% accurate though, always worth being extra careful, the last thing you want is for people to get sick! I missed that you were doing oysters, be super careful with those!

  • @calldoctor I would cook, cool, then slice off the bone and pack the beautiful whole breasts and dark meat, whole Turkey legs in the juices in your pan you rested the turkey in originally (you didn’t throw that away did you?). When you reheat, that juice will keep everything moist.

  • Kansas Dad,
    Thank you, I really appreciate it. That is what I pretty well figured I would do & just put everything in one of those Aluminum BBQ pans I keep then into the coolers lined with Blue Ice at the bottom. The transport is only 4-5 hours, so I think it should be OK, so long as I cool it all down over night first. The ham I ended up with is 25 pounds so I will do one pan for the turkey, another for the ham (that may end up shredded), & others for smoked oyster stuffing, cream corn, sweet potatoes, smoked mashed potatoes, etc. Thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it.

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