Instructables

Smoked Turkey: Just In Time For Thanksgiving!

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So it's Thanksgiving...  you're looking to spice up your holiday bird but you're just not sure how. Sure there is the deep frying option, but you don't really feel like setting your house (or yourself), on fire. So what do you do?  The answer is quite simple my friends... Smoke it! In the following instructable I'll guide you through a step by step process that will be sure to impress the taste buds of all your family members and friends.

I would like to take this opportunity to make sure I thank mnlang  for his instructable, "Pulled pork on a Weber Kettle Grill" , which introduced me to the process of smoking and got me hooked to this cooking process.

So without further ado... Let's smoke a bird shall we?
 
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Step 1: The Tools of the Trade

Alright so if we're going to smoke a turkey we're going to need a few things, so let's have that list...

First thing is first...  you're going to need a turkey. Now I know what you're saying, "But Bryan... what kind of turkey should I get?" I am not going to tell you exactly what kind of turkey you are going to buy, instead I am going to give you some guidelines. Whether you want to visit your local butcher, pick up a frozen turkey from the super market, or buy one of those really expensive all natural turkeys, these guidelines will help you get the perfect bird for smoking.

Turkey Guidelines
• The turkey should be anywhere from 10-14 LBS. The turkey in this instructable was 13.2 LBS. Anything larger than that and you are going to have very long cook times. If you need to provide for a larger number of people consider making more than one turkey.
• The Turkey must be thawed! You are going to need to prep this turkey a day in advance. So make sure you leave yourself enough time to get everything done.
• Make sure your turkey is not flavor injected or pre-brined! This is super important! you are going to be doing enough seasoning and you don't want some factory's prefabricated turkey filler effecting your hard work.


Now onto the Brine... Now if you're new to the whole brining process, don't worry we'll get into more detail later. All you need to know is that you are going to need...

1. A 5 gallon bucket. If you are concerned about poly vinyl chloride, you might want to get a bucket that uses food grade plastic.
2. 1 Half gallon of vegetable broth
3. 1 Half gallon of apple juice. Not from concentrate, don't skimp out on me!
4. 1 Gallon ice cold water
5. 1 TBS Thyme
6. 1 TBS Paprika
7. 1 TBS Rosemary
8. 1 Cup Salt


Now for the smoke ... Here are the items you are going to need to cook the Turkey. I mean, you're going to want to eat it right?

1. A smoker - I use an old fashioned $25 charcoal grill, but if you've got something fancier by all means use it!
2. Charcoal
3. Charcoal Chimney - This isn't necessary, but I prefer to use it. You can light the charcoal without using any nasty lighter fluid. In the words of the great Hank Hill, "Taste the meat, not the heat."
4. Aluminum lasagna tray - the 99¢ store has these for way cheaper than your grocery store.
5. Wood Chips - I use a half and half mixture of apple wood and hickory
6. Meat thermometer - This is an absolute must. You are going to need to use this to make sure your turkey is done. You definitely don't want salmonella. You can use a regular meat thermometer or a fancy digital one. I have this one that I got at Lowes. It doesn't have the best reviews but I've never had a problem with it.


Alright, so there is the list... I know it seems like a lot but trust me, it's totally worth it. So let's get cooking!
vocalsavvy10 months ago
thank you. I followed the instructions to the letter and my turkey came out great. Mine cooked in about 5 hours but stayed warm under aluminum foil for over an hour. Made an awesome smoked turkey soup with the carcass.
cimz (author)  vocalsavvy10 months ago
AWESOME! I'm so happy your turkey came out so well and I'm glad you found my little guide helpful. Smoking is one of my favorite hobbies so it's been so great to be able to share this recipe. I was so excited to see that my Instructable was featured in it's "20 Turkey Recipes for Every Appetite" section, is that how you found it? Any pictures of your bird? THANKS AGAIN!
Mackramer2 years ago
Great instruct able! We smoked one last year, injected it with orange juice and placed OJ in the pan below it. Crowd loved it.

One difference, we used a digital thermometer with a remote sensor. This allowed us to keep the lid closed until we needed to add charcoal and keeps the heat in the smoker.

Happy Thanksgiving!
cimz (author)  Mackramer2 years ago
Thanks for the comment! Orange juice sounds like a really interesting twist, I didn't hear about anyone using OJ when I was doing my research to figure out a recipe I might have to try it for sure! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!
friger3 years ago
Thanks for the inspiration, my turkey turned out awesome.
IMG01329-20111009-1719.jpg
cimz (author)  friger3 years ago
Awesome! So glad it turned out well!
Great job Cimz... i'm going to have to borrow my buddy's grill and make this!... looking forward to your next -'able
cimz (author)  emotschwiller3 years ago
Hahaha well thank you kind sir! Enjoy the turkey & go Islanders!
Verga3 years ago
Great Job, Nice pictures and very clear directions.
Couple of things you might want to add to the process.
I use a meat injector and use either apple cider or orange juice, gives the bird a fruitty flavor, but not over powering. Ihave also jumpred a single can of fruit cocktail in the cavity as well. this helps to keep things very moist.
I have also used cherry chips with much success as well.

Once again great ible, and happy smoking.
cimz (author)  Verga3 years ago
Thanks so much for the comments and advice, injecting the bird with juice was something I was definitely thinking about doing but I didn't have an injector. It might be something that I get in the future though. I love the fruit cocktail idea that sounds awesome.
Thanks again and happy smoking to you too as well!
friger3 years ago
I see this happening to a turkey at my house in the very near future, great instructable!
cimz (author)  friger3 years ago
Thank you so much! Let me know how it turns out.
friger cimz3 years ago
I'll post you some pics here. Would a metal stock pot be alright for the brining?
cimz (author)  friger3 years ago
That should be fine, I didn't have pot quite large enough to hold all of the contents so I resorted to the bucket, but if you have something large enough by all means use it. Excited to see your results!

By the way, I really dig your cigar box guitar. I was tempted to buy one from daddy mojo guitars a while back but I held off. Maybe I'll just make one instead.
friger cimz3 years ago
Daddy Mojo are probably the best on the market,but by all means build your own, they are so much fun just to build.
cimz (author)  friger3 years ago
Yeah I really wanted to get one but my guitar collection is now creeping into the mid 20s so I really couldn't justify spending the money. I'd love to build one and throw a P90 in there!
thingy3 years ago
I've done a few of these and you can really decrease your cooking times by splitting the turkey down the back and spreading it out flat. It's still juicy and flavorful. It saves me at least two hours.

On a side note, my wife and kids were not a fan of turkey until i started smoking it.
cimz (author)  thingy3 years ago
Thanks for the tip! Maybe I'll give that a shot for my next bird. Not only would it decrease cook time but it would also save space and allow me to use a larger bird. Thanks!
Kogitsune3 years ago
The coolest part about smoking food is that the only other way to get that beautiful red / brown exterior, you need paint. It's like edible art.
cimz (author)  Kogitsune3 years ago
Agreed. Thanks for the comment!
Oooh this looks delicious. Cant wait to try this! Thanks for the great post...
cimz (author)  lmastrangelo3 years ago
Thanks so much! Let me know how it turns out!
sunshiine3 years ago
Love your kitchen! Nice turkey! Great Instructable! Last year our son roasted our turkey outdoors because he is in the middle of building a house and ruffing it on the property. He used various woods and it was so good. Here is a picture to share.  Thanks for sharing and have a splendorous day!  
Sunshiine

 
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cimz (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
Thank you so much! The turkey roast sounds awesome and the bird looks delicious. Hopefully your family has another great bird to look forward to this year! -Bry
sunshiine cimz3 years ago
Thanks! We are having a simple dinner this year but now next year we are going to celebrate. My son has been in college 10 years and I have not seen much of him. Next year we all will live closer together, well, not next door LOL.
Sunshiine