How To Smoke a Turkey

Here is an easy how to smoke a turkey action plan.

First, I run the smoker in the temperature range of 220 degrees F to 240 degrees F.

The next step is the turkey. A 12-16 pound turkey will be good. A big part of how to smoke a turkey is the cooking time. Plan on 30 to 40 minutes per pound. If you do pick up a frozen turkey always follow the instructions for defrosting.

While learning how to smoke a turkey you will need the following: a smoker, a good meat thermometer, a good hardwood like cherry or apple, charcoal, and patience.

For the smoker you can use a kettle style grill if you are familiar with low temperature cooking in it.

A good meat thermometer is a must. It should read fast and be very reliable.

For the wood I recommend a fruit wood because the flavor works best with turkey. Something like a cherry or apple would be good, though hickory and oak can add a nice flavor as well.

While learning how to smoke a turkey remeber to be careful not to over smoke a turkey, especially if you are doing a long smoke.

Smoked turkey has a different color and texture than oven roasted turkey. The meat may appear pink and have a smoother texture. This is normal. The smoking process causes a chemical change in turkey that causes this color change. As long as the turkey registers a temperature of 165 degrees F. it is safe to eat no matter the color.

Prepare your smoker. You will want to build a fire to hold a steady temperature right around 230 degrees F. Since most smokers start hot and cool down as the fire settles into a good smoke that you plan on putting the turkey in at about 250 degrees F and let the smoker drop down to the cooking temperature. 
Apply your favorite dry rub. Of course the simplest method would be to brush some olive oil to keep the skin moist and help your turkey develop a rich deep tan.

Put the turkey in the smoker breast side up. You can use a roasting pan or heavy foil to help reduce any mess or just set it on the rack.

Check the smoker temperature every hour or so to make sure it’s behaving properly but you won’t need to do anything with this turkey for several hours. DO NOT LIFT THE TOP, NO PEAKING!!

Calculating 30 minutes per pound at about 230 degrees F, determine the approximate time that the turkey could be ready at the earliest. This is when you want to start testing for doneness. Using a good meat thermometer to test the internal temperature turkey in two different places, leaving the thermometer in long enough to get a good reading. Remember, don’t test too close to bone. When you have two reading about 165 degrees F. then you can take the turkey out.

After removing the turkey from the smoker place the turkey on a cutting board and let the turkey rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Giving the turkey a rest will allow the meat to relax, the juices to flow and the temperature to come up a little and even out. This is one of the secrets to a great bird. Don’t rush to carve, or your turkey will be dry.





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