Prepare the turkey for cooking with seasoning of your choice.
Light the cooker according to the instructions, but let the charcoal burn for 25-30 minutes before putting the barrel back on the base and placing the turkey in the cooker. Bump the intake setting to the next highest elevation setting to be sure the thermometer reads 250°F+ during the cook. You will want to let the cooker get hotter than normal to cook the turkey faster. Slower cooking is not optimal for a tender, juicy turkey.
Turkeys drip quite a bit during the cook, which can produce a very strong smoky flavor. You can control the amount of smoke flavor by setting any sized drip pan on the lower level of the cooker (using the Open Frame and Half Grates). The larger the drip pan, the more drippings caught and less smoke flavor. Determine how much of the drippings you want to be caught and also consider adding wood chunks to the charcoal for an additional flavor profile.
METHOD ONE: EZ-LOAD TURKEY PLUS KIT (sold separately). Screw one EZ-Load Cross Bar on the second from the bottom section of threads. Push the hook end of the EZ-Load Hanger through the cavity of the turkey and out the neck. Position the Cross Bar under the cavity and under the leg joints. Hang the prepared turkey on the H-Frame and carry it to the cooker. Place the whole system down on the top level of the cooker. Close the lid.
METHOD TWO: H-FRAME WITH HOOKS. Insert two hooks from within the neck cavity, one under each breastbone so that the legs are pointing down. Make sure the hooks are all the way through under the bone, pointing up and slightly away from each other. Note that for turkeys larger than 15 lbs, the tips of the hooks may not make it all the way through. As long as they are hooked under the breastbone, they should be secure. Hang the hooked turkey on the H-Frame and then place the turkey and frame together on the top level of the cooker. Close the lid.
Cooking Temperature: When properly started, the temperature inside the barrel will be around 300°F; however, the thermometer will typically read around 250°F with the turkey inside. The lid thermometer shows a lower temperature than where the food is cooking because it is affected by the exhaust.
The size of the turkey will determine how long it cooks for. Use an instant read thermometer, such as the Javelin, to check the internal temperature. The thickest part of the breast should be between 160-165°F when removed from the cooker. If removing before it hits 165°F, let the turkey rest for 10-15 minutes uncovered. The turkey will rise an additional 5°F during that time. Poultry is not safe to consume under 165°F.
When the cook is done, lift the turkey out of the cooker by the H-Frame and place the turkey onto a large pan or cookie sheet.
Unscrew the Hanger from the Cross Bar to remove the EZ-Load components or remove the hooks.