When it comes to cooking a great meal, there’s nothing better than smoking a turkey. Most people go the traditional route of roasting their Turkey, but the problem is that this can often take all the moisture out of the meat. If you want to enjoy moist turkey, then grilling is the way to go.
You’ll be hard pressed to beat a delicious turkey that’s been cooked to perfection. The best part is that you don’t have to be a professional chef in order to smoke a turkey thats packed with flavor. Below we break down how you can smoke your turkey and create a meal that makes you the envy of your family and friends!
Preparing the Turkey
- First you need to choose your turkey. Depending on where you shop, there are tons of options available in must mainstream supemarkets. However it’s best to go with a whole turkey that doesn’t have any additional ingredients. Buying a whole turkey complete with bones will ensure that it stays moist throughout cooking.
- Once you’ve bought your Turkey and stored it, you need to thaw it. It’s important to remember that you cannot smoke a frozen turkey (at least not effectively!).
- Next clean your turkey by removing the neck, gizzard and other less desirable parts inside.
- Before you start smoking your turkey, submerge it in a gallon of water with a cup of kosher salt (in other words you brine your turkey). This will help to make the meat more tender and moist throughout cooking.
- Take your turkey out of the brine and rinse under cold water.
- After rinsing, dry your turkey off and leave it to rest for around 12-24 hours. This allows any salt or extra ingredients to seep into the meat.
- Next, season your turkey with your chosen ingredients.
- Complete a wet rub of the outside and a dry rub on the inside of the turkey. In the wet rub you want to use vegetable oil before mixing it in with your other seasonings into a paste. Proceed to rub all over the turkey. This ensures that all the moisture will be retained within your meat.
Once you’ve done all this, it’s time to start smoking the turkey!
Smoking a Turkey
- First, preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. At this stage, it’s a good idea to oil the grate of your smoker to stop the turkey from sticking to the surface.
- Next add your turkey and insert a thermometer inside if you have one. Throughout cooking you need to check up on your turkey to make sure the temperature doesn’t get too high. As a general rule, 30-40 minutes per pound of turkey, is how long it takes to cook. However it’s wise to keep a lookout as you don’t want to end up with a dry turkey.
- As an additional tip, periodically baste the turkey with vegetable oil. This will help to keep the turkey moist throughout cooking.
- Choose Your Smoke Wisely
It may surprise you to know, that the smoke you use to cook your turkey will have a massive effect on the taste of the end product. Turkey absorbs smoke at a much higher rate than traditional barbecued red meat. As such, you want to use mild woods to get the best flavor.
Woods like apple and cherry can provide a touch of sweetness to your meal. It’s a good idea to avoid stronger woods like hickory or mesquite as they tend to overpower the taste of the meat. However, if you’d like a touch of stronger wood, you can mix in a little hickory or mesquite will apple or cherry to give you are more well rounded flavor.
- Spatchcock Your Turkey
In many cases, you’ll not only want to smoke your turkey, but to spatchcock it as well. In order to do this you need to cut the spine out, remove the breastbone so that the turkey can rest flat. The great thing about spatchcocking is that the turkey will absorb much more smoke and cook faster.
There you have it, the secret to smoking the perfect turkey. Like all things, preparation is key if you want you cooking to be on point. Everything from your choice of wood, to your turkey, to your brine and your basting will effect the taste. However if you plan everything in advance and make a note of what needs to be done, you’ll make sure that you end up with the perfect smoked turkey.