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How to Smoke a Turkey

How to Smoke a Turkey

Smoked turkey is a delicacy, loved by most people. But many of us do not know how to smoke a turkey. Therefore, in this article we will learn different methods for smoking a turkey.
Tastessence Staff
Nothing has a more distinctive, delicious and rich flavor than a smoked turkey. Whether it is Thanksgiving or just any other festival, a smoked turkey suits all occasions. But the basic fact is buying a smoked turkey can be an expensive affair and so most people avoid having it in family dinners or get-togethers. So, to overcome this hurdle that keeps you from having smoked turkey for your dinner parties, how about smoking turkey at home. Trust me friends, a home smoked turkey is affordable, easy to prepare and tasty. Moreover, a smoked turkey doesn't need a list of ingredients or spices to develop an enticing flavor. You just have to add a little salt, pepper or poultry seasoning as it is the smoke that provides the actual flavor. So, without delaying, let us see how to make smoked turkey.
Smoking a Turkey in a Charcoal Smoker
Things Required: Charcoal smoker, 12 lbs turkey, water, fruit juice, wine or other flavorful liquid, charcoal, salt and pepper, food thermometer, and wood chips.
Procedure: Fill the smoker's liquid pan with water or any other flavorful liquid. Place an appliance thermometer on the smoker rack. Keep the charcoal in the charcoal pan, light and then cover it. Now rinse the turkey in cold water and take out the giblets and neck from the interior. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate the turkey until it is ready to be placed in the smoker. Once the charcoal is hot, keep the turkey on the grill in the smoker and close the smoker. Ensure that the internal temperature of smoker should be somewhere between 250°F - 300°F. Keep adding charcoal every hour to maintain the internal temperature and replenish the liquid in the pan, if needed. Now insert the food thermometer in the turkey and if the turkey shows 180°F in the thigh and 170°F in the breast, it is done. However, an average cooking time can be estimated by keeping in mind that per pound the bird takes 20 - 30 times to cook.
Smoking a Turkey in an Electric Smoker
Things Required: 10 pound turkey (fresh or completely thawed), salt and pepper, 1 cup white wine, 1 cup apple juice, 2 springs fresh rosemary, charcoal and Hickory wood chips.
Procedure: Soak wood chips in white wine or apple juice. Turn on the electric smoker and let it heat up. Wash the turkey in cold water, pat dry and remove the giblets and neck. Season it with salt and pepper and then strain and put wood chips once the smoker has reached temperature 250° F. Pour the wood soaked water mixture into the water pan and add sufficient warm water to fill it. Add rosemary to the water, keep the turkey in the smoker and close the lid. Make sure the temperature of the smoker is somewhere around 250°F. Check the water pan after every 3 hours and add more water if needed. Also check the temperature of turkey after 6 hours and if the turkey shows between 165°F - 170°F in the thigh, turn off the electric smoker.
Smoking a Turkey on a Charcoal Grill
Things Required: Charcoal grill, charcoal, wood chips, a turkey, 1/4 lb butter, 1/4 cup white wine, garlic salt and black pepper.
Procedure: Soak two handfuls of wood chips in water. Meanwhile, clean the grill and light a charcoal pyramid with a six briquette by four briquette base. Now lay the turkey breast side up on a board and tuck the wing tips behind its neck. Take a small sauce pan and melt butter, stir in the wine, garlic salt and pepper in it. After half an hour or so if the coals are ashed over, with the help of a shovel or a trowel move the coals into two fires: one along each side of the grill. Top each of the fires with six new briquettes and keep an aluminum foil drip pan having about half inch of water between the two fires.
Now scatter the soaked chips over the fires and keep the turkey in the middle of the grill. If the bird is small, place the turkey breast side down so that you can turn it over in the middle of cooking. But if it's too big, keep the turkey breast side up, and cover the breast with foil. Moisten the bird with the olive oil or wine mixture, and close the grill cover. Soak more wood chips, moisten the bird and add chips after every half hour. In the middle of the cooking, turn the bird over or remove the foil. Cook until a food thermometer shows a temperature of 165° F for the thighs. Remove the turkey from the grill and allow it to rest for 15 - 20 minutes.
Smoking a Turkey on a Gas Grill
Things Required: Gas grill, a turkey, 1/4 lb butter, 1/4 cup white wine, garlic salt and black pepper.
Procedure: Just like the charcoal grill method, soak two handfuls of wood chips in water. Meanwhile, clean the grill and preheat it on high. Now lay the turkey breast side up on a board and tuck the wing tips behind its neck. Take a small sauce pan and melt butter, stir in the wine, garlic salt and pepper in it. If you are using wood chips, create a smoker pouch. Wrap the chips in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and poke a few holes in its top. Keep the pouch directly over one of the outer burners and wait until it starts smoking. If you have three-off griller, turn the middle burner and if you have two-off griller, turn the front burner; lower the remaining burners to medium. Keep an aluminum foil drip pan having half inch water under the area where you will cook the turkey.
Place the turkey in the center but not directly over one of the burners that are on. Scatter the soaked chips over the fires and keep the turkey in the middle of the grill. If the bird is small, place the turkey breast side down, so that you can turn it over in the middle of cooking. But if it's too big, keep the turkey breast side up, and cover the breast with foil. Moisten the bird with the olive oil or wine mixture, and close the grill cover. Soak more wood chips, moisten the bird again and renew the smoker pouch or the chips if the smoke dies down. In the middle of the cooking, turn the bird over or remove the foil. Cook until a food thermometer shows a temperature of 165° F for the thighs. Remove the turkey from the grill and allow it rest 15 - 20 minutes.
Smoking a Turkey Breast in a Smoker
Things Required: Turkey breast, 1/4 lb butter, white wine or apple juice, garlic powder, mesquite flavored salt, black pepper and wood chips.
Procedure: Soak wood chips in white wine or apple juice. Wash the turkey in cold water, pat dry and remove the giblets and neck. Season the turkey with garlic powder, mesquite flavored salt and black pepper and keep it on the smoker, preheated at 225°F. Put the wood chips, a water pan filled with water in the smoker and close the lid. Now place a sheet of aluminum foil over the turkey breast, as this will shield the meat from some of the smoke and keep it from being overpowered with smoke flavor. Make sure the temperature of the smoker is somewhere between 225°F - 250°F. After every 45 minutes, baste the turkey with butter, garlic powder and salt. Generally, for every pound of turkey it takes 23 - 30 minutes to cook. Now insert the food thermometer in the turkey, if the turkey 156°F in the breast, it is done. Remove it from the smoker and wrap the cooked turkey breast in aluminum foil, so that the juices and smoke flavor disperse evenly into the flesh of the breast.
Hence, a little extra time and effort can deliver a special taste sensation of this noble bird. So, what are you waiting for, next time instead of buying smoked turkey, try making it at home and surprise your loved ones.