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Smoking the Thanksgiving Turkey

Rainbow Dash

Embrace yourself.
2 Year Member
I don't think there is a right or wrong way. Here's what I do and it always turns out really good and I always get complements.

1. I mix up a standard brine in a 5 gallon bucket (I use ice and will often use some apple cider in the brine) and soak a fresh, non-basted bird for 12 hours.

2. I take out the bird, pat dry with a towel, wrap in saran wrap and foil, stick it in the fridge for 6-8 hours.

3. I rub olive oil all over the bird and then put the rub/seasonings on.

4. I have a Bradley electric smoker. I believe that poultry is best when it's cooked quickly and not fully smoked (just my personal preference). I smoke the bird for half the time at 250 degrees and I finish it off in the oven at 300 degrees with an oven bag. I recently did a 18.5 lb bird 3 hours in the smoker and 3 hours in the oven.

5. I cook it to 160 degrees (thigh temp) and pull it out. I let it sit an hour before I carve.

6. After carving I put in glass baking pans and pour the excess juices in the bottom of the pan over turkey, put foil over it, and place in oven just warm enough to keep the temp ready to eat until serving.
 

KingTM

All Big 10
5 Year Member
http://www.traegergrills.com/recipes/poultry/maple-brined-turkey

I know it may sound lame, but Traeger's recipe for smoked maple bourbon turkey is stupid good. I've done it for the last three years.

Two modifications: Double the bourbon in the brine and brush with maple syrup every thirty minutes.

One best practice suggestion: Get a big bottle of bourbon and drink the rest while cooking.
Coincidentally, here's the one I did, with a little of my own flavor added. That may have been the best turkey I've ever had. I'll post up some pics later.
 

KingTM

All Big 10
5 Year Member
Here's a pic of the bird on the smoke;



It was a little windy Thursday so I cozied my Weber up to the gas grill to block some wind.

Here's a pic of my "snake method" setup;



As always, works like a champ when you're too lazy to walk down the stairs to the patio, where the real smoker sits.
 

jikastew

All Legend
10 Year Member
I brined about a 14 lb turkey this year. I usually don't, but thought, what the hell. I then rubbed with only butter, olive oil, thyme and rosemary.

Smoked at 315 for 4.5 hours, then rose to 400 for the last 30-40 minutes.

It turned out about the same as my typical non-brined birds, just a little more salty. Next year I'm going to hit about 425 for an hour. The skin was edible this year, but I'm looking for crispy. I think the oil and butter had more to due with the better skin texture than the heat. So, I'm increasing the heat length next year to make the difference.
 
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chicago husker

Scout Team
2 Year Member
I brined about a 14 lb turkey this year. I usually don't, but thought, what the hell. I then rubbed with only butter, olive oil, thyme and rosemary.

Smoked at 315 for 4.5 hours, then rose to 400 for the last 30-40 minutes.

It turned out about the same as my typical non-brined birds, just a little more salty. Next year I'm going to hit about 425 for an hour. The skin was edible this year, but I'm looking for crispy. I think the oil and butter had more to due with the better skin texture than the heat. So, I'm increasing the heat length next year to make the difference.
just so you know your oven will smoke quite a bit at the beginning from the high temp and oil butter combo. just turn on a fan and don't pay it much mind as it will settle down and turn out fantastic. i cooked this year at 425 crispy skin at last. put another in the smoker so we had a pickem turkey
 

jikastew

All Legend
10 Year Member
just so you know your oven will smoke quite a bit at the beginning from the high temp and oil butter combo. just turn on a fan and don't pay it much mind as it will settle down and turn out fantastic. i cooked this year at 425 crispy skin at last. put another in the smoker so we had a pickem turkey
Oven? What do you take me for?
 

Squatchsker

Mom said you still owe her money
10 Year Member
I am sold on the method I have been using for the last year or so. Quick rub, no overnight brine. Then I place in the smoker with the wings up so the cavity is down using the basket I got with my Big Easy Fryer. After 3 hours at 200 degrees I take it and put it in the Big Easy until done. The move from low heat to high heat crisps the skin while tightening it up and trapping all the juices inside. Best of both worlds, it is smoked (I use mesquite as we like a heavier smoke flavor) and fried while remaining extremely tender and moist.
 

KingTM

All Big 10
5 Year Member
I am sold on the method I have been using for the last year or so. Quick rub, no overnight brine. Then I place in the smoker with the wings up so the cavity is down using the basket I got with my Big Easy Fryer. After 3 hours at 200 degrees I take it and put it in the Big Easy until done. The move from low heat to high heat crisps the skin while tightening it up and trapping all the juices inside. Best of both worlds, it is smoked (I use mesquite as we like a heavier smoke flavor) and fried while remaining extremely tender and moist.
Will you adopt me? I'm pretty quiet and I don't eat much.
 
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