With Thanksgiving fast approaching, a lot of families are getting into the spirit. Probably one of the things that makes Thanksgiving complete is having turkey during dinner. In fact, most people equate Thanksgiving to roasted turkey. The American tradition of cooking turkey for Thanksgiving has become so popular that even people around the world are doing it too. But if you only know one way to cook turkey (which is using an oven), then sometimes, the taste can get bland. So, it’s time to mix things up a bit. One of the best ways to cook turkey is by smoking it. If you’re interested in knowing how to cook smoked whole turkey, keep reading.
- 1 17 lb. Fresh Whole Turkey, neck and giblets removed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 TB ground black pepper
- 1 TB garlic powder
- 1/2 TB paprika
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1 TB cracked black pepper
- 1 TB brown sugar
You ask why dry brine is better than wet brine? Well, dry brining the bird is great when you’re just learning how to smoke a whole turkey. That’s because there are some questionable safety issues related to soaking a big bird in a water bath for a long period of time. Plus, a wet brine can add to the already fairly long process of de-frosting and preparation.
So, after you’ve prepared the dry brine, you can start prepping your smoker. Of course, the preparation of the smoker will actually depend on the type of smoker you have. So, we’ll leave you to that. Remember that the rule of thumb is to smoke the turkey at 300 degrees and 15 minutes for each pound. So make sure to take note of the weight of the turkey you get. Also, keep in mind that the turkey is safe to take off the smoker when it has reached 165 degrees. A thing to take note of too is that this is a faster smoke than you will see on some recipes for how to smoke a whole turkey. There are recipes that require 8 or 9 hours. You can do that too, but you’ll need to lower the temperature to 225 degrees and follow a rule of about 30 minutes for every pound. Choosing the right wood will also rely on your preference. Use whatever you’re used to; hickory, oak, cherry, apple or mesquite, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is, this is what you prefer.
The first thing you have to do is to rinse the turkey under cold water. Then pat dry it with paper towels. Afterwards, place the turkey on a baking sheet. Once that is done, mix the dry brine ingredients in a small bowl and rub it on the exterior and internal cavity of the turkey. Then place the turkey in the refrigerator for two hours.
While waiting, preheat your smoker to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. After it has been refrigerated for two hours, loosen the skin around the turkey breast by inserting your hand. Then rub the softened butter under the skin using your hand. Afterwards, use a paper towel to wipe most of the dry brine from the turkey skin. Brush it with olive oil next and then lightly sprinkle the black pepper, garlic powder and paprika on the turkey. Smoke it at 275-300 degrees Fahrenheit for about four hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that you should measure the thickest part of the breast for this. You then need to baste the bird every hour with juices from the drip pan. The turkey will have a golden brown appearance from taking on the smoke. If want to limit the dark color, you can make a tent around the bird with aluminum foil. This will cut down on the amount of smoke that will reach the skin.
That’s it. See how simple it is?
As a bonus, this meal goes well with Bacon Green Bean Bundles. Here’s how to make it.
- 1/2 lb green beans
- 4 pieces of bacon, halved
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
You can do this while waiting for the turkey to be cooked (remember, it takes four hours). First, you need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then clean the green beans by snapping or cutting off stems and dead ends. Form the green beans into bundles of 5-6 beans. Wrap one piece of bacon around each and secure it with toothpick. Arrange the bundles on the baking pan with edges, so that the juices don’t run off into oven. Mix the butter, brown sugar and garlic powder in a small microwave safe dish. Microwave it on 50% power for one minute. Then remove it from microwave and stir to combine. Afterwards, pour the butter and brown sugar glaze over the green bean bundles and place the pan in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes.
Now, if you already have a smoker that’s great but if not I recommend the below options. Feel free to check them out!!
Bradley electric smoker (Electric) Recommended
Jim Beam Electric Smoker (Electric) Recommended
Weber Smokey Mountain 22 inch (Charcoal) High level of skill required to maintain constant temperature