How to Smoke a Turkey
We’ve been married for 23 years, and had Turkey every year for Thanksgiving Dinner. Typically, we’ve usually had Oven Roasted Turkey, and a few times we’ve had Fried Turkey, but last year, we researched How to Smoke a Turkey and tried that for the first time!
It was DELICIOUS! In fact, every last bite of the 15 lb Turkey was devoured, and people were looking for more.
I’d just had major surgery, so Nick and the boys were on their own for the Thanksgiving Dinner Meal Preparation. We have some amazing local friends who invited us to eat dinner with them, they handled most of the meal, we just brought the Turkey, a couple of sides, and a dessert.
Years before we moved to Texas, Nick began researching smokers. He loves to grill and it’s always been his dream to have his own smoker. He bought a Camp Chef Smoker, and it uses Pellets to smoke.
BRINING THE TURKEY:
We chose a 15lb Butterball Turkey, let it unthaw for a few days ahead of time in the refrigerator, and the day before began the brining process.
To brine, we prepared the turkey (remove giblets, wash, pat dry) then placed the turkey in a XL Ziploc Bag. Add in 1 gallon vegetable broth, 1 gallon ice water, 1 cup kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 12 oz molasses, 12 oz honey, 8 oz minced garlic, 1 tbsp rosemary, 1 tbsp thyme, 1 tbsp sage, and 1 tbsp poultry seasoning.
Do you HAVE to brine? No. But, it does come out more flavorful and moist if you do.
SMOKING THE TURKEY:
In our research, we found that the rule of thumb is to smoke the turkey at 275 degrees, 15 minutes for each pound. We had a 15 lb Turkey, so we smoked it at 275 degrees for just under 4 hours.
Times may vary according to type of smoker, did it hold a constant temperature, etc. so be sure to allow some extra time and monitor the smoker temperature while it’s smoking.
We use a Food Thermometer to test the temperature before we remove it from the smoker. Turkey is safe to take eat when it’s reached 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and 180 in the thigh.
When our turkey reached it’s perfect temperature, we removed it to a roasting pan for transport, and allowed it to rest for 20 minutes on our drive to our friends house, covered in foil. When we arrived, we removed the foil, and carved it. We prefer to use an electric carver.
We received an electric carver as a wedding gift 23 years ago, and it’s still going strong! It makes slicing SO quick and easy, so you can get the turkey on everyone’s plate as fast as possible, and get down to enjoying the meal!