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Anyone ever cook a 50 pound turkey?

33347 Views 35 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  Allan Mistler
We butchered our turkeys and sold all the small ones (30 pounders) We are left with two 50 pound turkeys. They fit in the oven but how long to cook them? Anyone ever let their turkeys get too big, and have the quandry of cooking them? thanks in advance, Cara
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The only suggestion I have is getting a meat thermometer. You want to be sure it is done in the middle. I am guessing it would take about a full day to get it done throughout. I'm surprised it fits in your oven! Enjoy!
Get out a chainsaw and cut that sucker in half! Seriously...cutting it up might make the task at hand more manageable.

I agree with the meat thermometer idea. Figure up the time per pound to cook a regular size bird, then figure your estimated time to cook this one, but use the thermometer to be sure it's done.

Good luck!

We did a 45 pounder once...never again! The damb thing 'bout beat me to death when I slaughtered it and then I had to cabbage together a "pan" out of cookie sheets and a couple rolls of tin foil. It just barely fit the oven, even after taking out the racks. I always use a meat thermometer but doubt is was really long enough to reach the center.

Tasted good though, and the look on the guests faces was priceless.
44 pounds was the biggest for me.
I actually cooked it the day before (just 'cause I had no clue how long it would take). Did it at 325 until the legs moved freely and basted well every half hour.

(I don't remember how long it took.)

When it was done I cut off the breasts and froze one, along with some of the dark meat.

On Thanksgiving day I reheated the other breast and a huge platter of dark meat.
Drizzeled the whole works with broth and served.

It was GREAT!
Geez, and we thought our 30 pounder was huge! We actually have to buy a bigger roasting pan for him.

Well, at lest now I have a goal for next year! 50 pounds, hmmmmm.

If your oven is reliable and heats evenly, and you don't stuff the bird, 10 hours. Farm raised turkeys above 20 lbs need approximately 12 minutes per pound.

Turning the pan in the oven every couple of hours will help it cook through evenly if your oven doesn't heat evenly.

We did our turkeys yesterday. Our Thanksgiving bird is a baby compared to yours. I'm cooking the 28 pounder.
For a bird that big I would consider cutting it into
halves or quaters so it would cook more evenly .
We killed our turkey yesterday. It wasn't as gruesome as I'd
imagined it would be. The bird is beautiful (execpt for a few
feather quills I still have to pluck) It must weigh about
25 pounds, but I don't have a scale.
This was the first animal we ever butchered and with my
*******/frontiersman brother's help we managed to get the
bird killed plucked and gutted in just over an hour.
I hope it taste good.
We raised our own 3 years ago, a 40 pounder. We had to buy a scale so we could figure out how long to cook him. My DW decided it would take too long to cook whole, so she had me cut the legs and back off. The breast on the bone alone still weighed 20 pounds, but a more manageable a size, so we cooked one leg with the breast. I’m not sure how long it took, but we just used the thermometer. Best bird we ever ate. ;)
Mr. Dot,
We always cook our turkey the night before because we eat in middle of the afternoon on Thanksgiving. We drape the entire turkey in bacon and attach the bacon to the bird with toothpicks to hold the pieces in place. Then put in the oven about 6:00pm or so, covered with foil, with the oven set at 250 degrees and forget about it until the next morning. When you wake up, the turkey should be done, or at least mostly done, and this is when we take the foil off so the bird can brown. Continue cooking at 250 until about noon, at which time you can remove the bird to make room for the pies, etc. If you won't be eating until the evening of Thanksgiving, you can always warm the bird back up in the oven. The bacon pieces keep the turkey extremely moist...we've never had to baste it. And it gives it a slightly smoked flavor. This works for a stuffed bird, or an unstuffed bird..we've done it both ways. Enjoy!
I used to work for a turkey processor. Occasionally, they'd process a group of "breeder" turkeys (the ones they actually use to produce the production lots of birds, which commercially are usually 12 - 14 weeks old at slaughter). Anyway, some of those breeders would top 90 pounds.

I kid you not.

But once the birds got that big --- at least for commercial processing purposes --- they would just part them out and turn them into other products like bologna and hot dogs.

What I would do with a large bird is hot smoke it, very slowly. The hot smoking tends to heat more evenly than any other method, plus it adds a good flavor. Furthermore, if you're really concerned about fully cooking the bird - or you just want to cook it faster -- then you can take hot coals from the grille of the smoker, wrap them in several layers of aluminum foil, and stuff them inside the cavity of the bird. That will cook it lots faster, but you need to be pretty dextrous with utensils.
Has anyone ever tried 'drunken chicken', where you insert a can of liquid into an intact (drawn, of course) chickens cavity, sitting upright? You close the lid of the bar-b-que, and wait about 45 - to an hour for the bird to cook. The liquid inside the can (marinade, beer, etc.) keeps the bird moist, as it boils out of the can. It is very similar to rotisseuire (sp?) chicken, meat just falls apart. Drunken comes from the fact that when bird is done, it seems to want to lean one direction, as the tenderness is cooked through the meat. Delicious.

Well, would a turkey be too big for this cooking method? Using a Folger's can of liquid, in a smoker, as a bar-b-que would likely be too small to enclose an upright bird the size of a turkey.

Has anyone tried this before? Dakotaman's post got me to thinking of this - um boy, smoked turkey is good. ;)
Our toms grew to about 60-65 lb range. After skinning, drawing, etc, they weighed somewhere in the 44-50 range. I don't know, as I didn't have a scale that could handle the whole bird, and we weighed the parts and pieces. I can't lift more than 50 lbs, and the things of course would never fit in a regular oven, so used a hacksaw to cut them into manageable portions. One half a breast roasted into an absolutely delightful meal with leftovers and leftover leftovers for 5 people. That was last year. We still have turkey in the freezer, gave away one turkey and parts of another. Plan on lots of turkey soup this winter.

Saw the ad for the drunken chicken. There was a a metal stand that held the bird upright, and the can of beer was placed on the floor of the pan and up into the cavity.
Thanks for the replies! The turkey is currently defrosting in the bathtub :rolleyes: We did a 40 pounder a few years ago, and it registered on the meat themometer at 170 degrees, but the breast just wasn't done. We were thinking of putting it in the night before at a high temp. for 1/2 hour and lowering it down to 250 or so for the night. My grandfather was a turkey farmer and he cooked his turkeys at 450 for a 1/2 hour then lowered the temp to 325 and covered the bird with brown paper and basted it with liquid periodically. But.. I don't think he ever cooked a bird this big. He is probably rolling in his grave that we let these guys get this big. Well actually they were so friendly and entertaining that we just couldn't part with them until they looked like they couldn't move around anymore. Next year we are going to raise a heritage breed that doesn't get so big. These were broad breasted bronze turkeys and were free range with hardly any grain at all, they even started to lay eggs. I guess next year I will have to not get so attached to them. :waa: Thanks again for the replies
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after hearing about the 90 pounders my 52 pound turkey seems rather puny.
We actually cut him into pieces and baked it a leg here and a breast there. I just couldn't imagine trying to bake it whole! wow! at 20 minutes per pound that would take at least 12 hours!
WOW...a 50-90lb turkey? I had NO idea that they got anywhere close to that BIG. Think of all the left-overs! Turkey salad,soup,cassarole,etc,etc,etc.You could cook 1 of the big-uns & eat on it all year!
bare said:
We did a 45 pounder once...never again! The damb thing 'bout beat me to death when I slaughtered it and then I had to cabbage together a "pan" out of cookie sheets and a couple rolls of tin foil. It just barely fit the oven, even after taking out the racks. I always use a meat thermometer but doubt is was really long enough to reach the center.

Tasted good though, and the look on the guests faces was priceless.
That sounds like the last time we did BB Bronzes!!! We ended up only cooking the breast, because the whole turkey wouldn't fit in the oven. It was in the 30# range, but can't remember the exact weight.

When I put the thermometer in to check the temp, I got a reading that said it needed to stay in a little longer, so I pulled it out and a fountain of juice spurted out...and stayed like that for well over 20 seconds. that was the juiciest turkey I've ever made!!
Howdy, Ya'll got any pics of that 50 lb. turkey. That would be a sight to see. Tom
I just thawed the last front quarter of a home raised turkey (12 pounds). He topped out at 47 pounds dressed. My oven and pan and arms won't handle that so I alway quarter mine, then wrap and freeze. Tastes just as good and cooks a whole lot quicker.
Mr. Dot: Your welcome. Hope you enjoy!

j.r.: We've done the same thing with the "drunken chicken", except we call it "beer butt chicken" :haha: . A very good friend of mine was explaining to me day before yesterday how to do a similar thing with a turkey. He said cover the ground with foil, place a spit of some sort in the ground in the middle of the foil with the turkey on one end, set a big metal coffee can full of water under the bird and then cover it with a large METAL trash can. Then build up a ring of charcoal around the base of the trash can (about 6" high) on the foil and light it. He said the turkey will be done in about an hour and a half. I think it was his Dad that used to do this. Anyway, he swears by it but I've never tried it yet.
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