A smoked turkey is a perfect way to serve turkey during the holiday season, whether it be Thanksgiving or another special occasion. If you haven’t tried the delicacy that is smoked turkey, now is the time—try it, you won’t regret it!
Smoking a turkey is a whole different beast compared to a brisket or other cut of meat. Here are some common questions you might be asking before you smoke your first bird. Following the tips below will bring you to holiday fame in the eyes of your guests, and crown you the king (or queen) of turkey dinner perfection.
How do I Smoke a Turkey?
Any grill or smoker you have will work for a smoked turkey.
At Cookshack Inc., we recommend a pellet smoker because it maintains the smoke and temperature so you don’t have to do as much babysitting. But you can make this smoked turkey on a gas grill, charcoal grill, or any type of smoker you have.
Ideally, you should use a grill that allows indirect heat, maintains consistent temperatures, and allows you to add in wood smoke.
Smoking a turkey definitely takes a bit longer than roasting. Read on and plan in advance so you can have plenty of time for the perfect turkey!
What Supplies do I Need for a Smoked Turkey?
Here’s what you’ll need to assemble in advance to make sure your dish is a success:
- Turkey. Make sure it is fully defrosted and around 15 pounds or less for food safety reasons.
- Fuel. Ensure you have plenty of propane, gas, pellets, etc. before smoking this turkey.
- Smoking Wood. This may consist of chips, chunks, or pellets. We definitely recommend apple, cherry, or hickory for smoked turkeys
- Drip Pan. This turkey is gonna be juicy, so make sure you have a drip pan on hand to catch all that!
- Instant Read Meat Thermometer or Remote Meat Thermometer. Temp is key when smoking a turkey.
How Do I Season My Turkey?
Many folks go with brine when they roast a turkey, but now that you have chosen to smoke your bird this year, why not shake things up with a rub as well?
There are a plethora of rubs out there to choose from, but if you want to keep things simple for your first smoked turkey, check out the one in our Turkey 101 Guide. The key to a perfect turkey rub is ensuring that it gets evenly distributed under the tough skin since applying it on top does not allow all the flavors to easily penetrate.
How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Turkey?
Here are the basics:
- Purchase a fresh, medium-sized bird weighing about 10 to 12 pounds. Follow the directions for crafting the perfect brine here.
- Brine for 48 hours (keep it in the fridge to keep it cold)
- Put your favorite rub underneath the skin, inject if you want, and slather it with butter (or oil)
- Place in a hot smoker, set to at least 250°F
- About 2 hours into the smoke, rub more butter (or oil) on skin
- Smoke until a temperature probe inserted in the breast registers 160°F and the thigh registers 175°F. It will be done in as little as 3 hours, or up to 5
At Cookshack Inc. you’ll find everything you need for smoking the perfect holiday turkey this year, including an award-winning, made-in-the USA line of smokers and grills. Contact us today for more information on all our products.