Smoked Turkey

Tired of the same old turkey roasted in the oven. Try smoking one. Believe me you will never go back. All you need is a smoker...gas, electric, wood..(really doesn’t matter), wood or wood chips and about 10-12 hours.

The most important thing about cooking a turkey, especially if you are smoking it, is to brine it ahead of time. 


What You Need

  • Turkey - Thawed and brined for at least 24 hours, neck and giblets removed.
  • Smoker - any type will do, as long as it provides indirect heat and is big enough.
  • Wood - preferably hickory, pecan or apple. Avoid mesquite which tends to be harsh
  • Thermometer - to check doneness of the bird.
  • 1 disposable roasting pan (drip pan)
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2-3 Tbs  Simon and Garfunkle Rub***
  • 2 Tbs. Water
  • ¼-½ tbs Kosher Salt per pound


How It’s Done

  Dry Brine***  the bird the night before. (See Tips below to find out how to how  Dry Brine) and refrigerate uncovered. NOTE: If your turkey is labeled: “Enhanced”, “Flavor Enhanced”, “Self Basting” or “Basted” they have already added the brine at the packing plant and don’t need additional brining.

  Preheat smoker to 325℉

  Remove turkey from fridge allow to rest.  In a small bowl add the Simon & Garfunkle rub, the minced Garlic and the water. Mix until well blended and apply all over the outside of the bird. 

  Place turkey directly on cooking rack with the drip pan directly beneath if possible. If you don’t have room for the drip pan below the bird don’t fret. Place a wire rack in the pan under the bird. This will allow the bird to be raised above the juices avoiding a soggy underside. Smoke at 325℉  for approximately 2½ - 3 hours, or until internal temperature of the inner thigh reaches 175 F (breast about 165℉)

   Remove bird from smoker onto cooling rack, loosly tent with aluminum foil and allow to cool for about 30 minutes before carving and serving.


Tips

  • Dry Brine - For years I always Wet Brined my birds. Well…no more. I am totally sold on Dry Brining. Much less mess and much better. You simply use ¼-½ tsp Kosher Salt per pound. Sprinkle it over the entire bird paying particular attention to the breast and thighs. There is no need to place it under the skin since it will penetrate it. 
  • Thermometer -  to use is one with a remote readout. The probe is inserted just once, and you can monitor the temperature during the cook. Don’t ever trust the built in thermometer that came with your smoker/grill unless you have verified its accuracy. Once you know how far it is off you can adjust the temperature accordingly.  
  • Rack - If possible use a rack in the roasting pan to raise the bird so it doesn’t sit in the juices.
  • Cooking times - I prefer cooking Turkeys at a much higher temperature (325℉) for various reasons. Primarily because it produces a much crisper skin when done.  Actual cook times vary greatly due to a number of factors. The size of the bird, type of cooker - offset, vertical, insulated etc. and more then anything, accuracy of thermometer used. 
  • Stuffing - Don’t stuff the bird. For the stuffing to be done it must reach 165℉ to be safe since raw juices leach into it while cooking. By the time the stuffing in the center of the bird reaches that temperature…the breast is way over done. An unstuffed cavity also provides room for smoke and heat to penetrate and cook from the inside also.