The most important person during Thanksgiving is the person responsible for making the Thanksgiving turkey. The fear of serving a dry turkey deters new contenders and is left to the best griller of the family. But there is a way to avoid drying a turkey – smoke instead of roast.
How to Prepare a Roasted Turkey
Roasted turkey has long been the default turkey every year. Aesthetically pleasing, aromatic, and tender and moist, no one can wait until it’s out of the oven, carved, and served. The tedious part of making that turkey takes almost a week to prepare!
Many families opt to cook a convenient, frozen turkey. Preparing the turkey for the oven means that the bird needs to thaw out, which should take one day for every four pounds of turkey! A 15-pound turkey, for example, will take about four days to completely thaw.
Once thawed, you must remove the neck from inside the cavity, the giblet bag, tie the legs, and fold its wings. Then it needs to roast in the oven for 15 minutes per pound of turkey. After occasionally basting the turkey to avoid a dry turkey, it’s ready when the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 165°F.
How to Prepare a Smoked Turkey
A smoked turkey, on the other hand, has a relatively easier, but longer cooking method. It packs a bigger punch of flavor because of the brine and smoke. It’s moist and tender and will definitely please all of your dinner guests.
It is a longer process to smoke a turkey, but it doesn’t take up oven space! At 30-40 minutes per pound, roast the turkey between 225°F and 250°F. Then when the internal temperature of thickest part of the thigh is 165°F, it’s ready to eat!
Seasoned turkey smokers suggest using apple wood, cherry wood, or hickory!
Smoked Turkey Recipes
If you’re ready to try a smoked turkey this year over a roasted turkey, here are some suggested recipes and tips for you to peruse:
- Trusting that the wood will contribute the most flavor, this recipe calls for just salt, pepper, and a touch of granulated garlic and onion.
- Not a recipe, but an extensive guide on how to smoke a turkey – including temperatures and times it takes for different parts of the turkey!
- A stuffed turkey smoked to perfection and covered in a homemade spice rub – this recipe might just make it to the Thanksgiving turkey hall of fame that your family will look forward to every holiday.
- For a smaller gathering, try this marinated smoked turkey breast recipe created by experienced grillers + another guide on how to smoke a turkey!
Be Remembered for Serving the Best Turkey
Switch up the Thanksgiving game with a turkey done in a new way. If your guests are die-hard, roasted turkey loyalists, you can change their mind with your perfectly smoked turkey. Then you can enjoy your status as The Turkey Maker until next year when you have to do it all over again. You can try to best your last year’s self!