Make any occasion special by smoking a turkey! People will love the flavour you can only get from taking the time to do it right.
Smoking takes time, but it is simple and easy to do! Here are three tips:
1. Prepare the Turkey
Remove the neck and giblets from the inside cavity. Pin the wings to the body of the bird with toothpicks.
2. Use the Right Smoker
The most important piece of equipment is a smoker. Make sure that the smoker is large enough for the turkey.
3. Time and Temperature Basics
Regardless of how you cook the turkey, it must reach an internal temperature of 165°F at the thickest point.
The smoker should be kept consistently between 275-350°F. At this temperature, the turkey will take about 45 minutes to an hour per pound.
Now, you can get started on smoking! Here are two recipes to get you started!
Brined Turkey Recipe
- Use a 12-14-pound turkey.
- Be sure to choose a regular turkey and not one that has been injected with any solution of salt or other flavours.
- Brine the turkey in a salt and brown sugar solution for 8 hours.
- Make sure you brine in a non-reactive container that is large enough to hold the turkey, and will fit in your refrigerator. The turkey should be completely submerged in the container.
- For a 12-14-pound turkey you will need:
- 2 gallons cold water
- 2 cups salt
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- Be sure to keep the turkey and brine below 40°F throughout the brining process, for food safety.
- Once brined, rinse the turkey under running water and pat dry. Apply a light coat of vegetable oil, then apply a rub, like the following:
- Basic Rub
- 1/4-cup vegetable oil
- 2-tablespoons onion powder
- 1-tablespoon paprika
- 1-tablespoon mustard powder
- 2-teaspoons garlic powder
- 2-teaspoons salt
- 2-teaspoons pepper
- 1-teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/2-teaspoon powdered sage
- Smoke at 325-350°F until 160-165°F in the breast, 170-175°F in the thigh, approximately 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
- Let rest for 20 minutes.
Fruitwood Smoked Turkey
You will need:
- One 10-pound turkey
- 3 gallons water
- 1 1/2 cups salt
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 12 thyme sprigs
- 5 dried bay leaves
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 pounds fruitwood chips, soaked in water overnight
- In a large pot, combine the water, salt, maple syrup, thyme, bay leaves and garlic. Add the turkey, breast side down, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Heat the smoker to 200°. Scatter some soaked wood chips around the coals so they smolder but don’t flare.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry inside and out. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey and tie the legs together with string.
- Smoke the turkey for about five hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in an inner thigh registers 165°.
- Monitor to maintain the temperature and smoke level.
- Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let rest for 20 minutes.
Now that you know how easy it is, you will want to smoke turkey all the time, and not just for special occasions!