When you have a few good poultry recipes up your sleeve, you add variety and a healthy red meat alternative to your diet. Chicken, turkey, Cornish game hens, ducks, geese, pheasant, and quail all respond well to smoker cooking.
Before you start smoking, I’d like to share a few "secrets" that will help you create the best smoked poultry ever.
A brine of salt, sugar, seasonings and water can do wonders to poultry. During the brine, liquid is absorbed into the flesh, adding moisture, flavor, and improving the texture. The absorbed water also conducts heat, so the plumped up bird will cook faster.
Whole poultry can be challenging to cook because different parts of the bird are done at different temperatures. Breast meat is done at 170 Fahrenheit, while the thigh is done at 180 F. Foil placed over the breast partway through smoking will prevent it from overcooking. Remove the bird from the smoker when the thigh reaches 175 degrees and the breast reaches 165. The temperature will raise five degrees as it rests before carving.
To make the best use of seasonings and rubs, put them between the skin and flesh of the bird. This is where they'll make the greatest contribution to flavor.
Here are a few of my best poultry recipes for chicken, pheasant and turkey. Smoked turkey is a favorite…it takes a while, but it's worth the wait!
These pages will guide you through several aspects of poultry smoking.
Poultry smokes in less time than beef or pork, and makes for a nice change of pace. Try one of these poultry recipes instead of the usual spareribs or brisket nest time you pull out the smoker...you'll enjoy it, I'm sure.