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The BlueSmoke Gazette, Issue #018 -- November 10, 2007
November 10, 2007

Smoked Turkey Tips

If you're going to smoke a turkey this Thanksgiving, now's the time to begin the preparations. Items you may need to have are a bucket for brining, an injector, wood chunks or chips for smoking, plenty of propane or wood for the heat, ingredients for the brine and the rub, and of course, a turkey or two. And if you've never smoked a turkey before, I highly recommend practicing on one before smoking that Thanksgiving bird.

Turkeys can be smoked in any kind of smoker, and even on a good sized grill. A large propane grill does a good job smoking with indirect heat.

Brining the turkey improves the flavor and texture of the meat, but I have made some tasty smoked turkey using pre-basted birds. I didn't brine them, but just coated them inside and out with a good poultry rub.

Turkeys can be smoked at lower temperatures, but I've found that they also smoke well at 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit. By smoking at a higher temperature, the temperature of the turkey will rise above 140F (out of the Danger Zone) quicker. You'll also be eating your turkey in just a few hours, instead of eight to twelve hours.

Sizewise, I recommend that turkeys for smoking weigh 14 pounds or less. Larger turkeys tend to heat up too slow, allowing time for bacteria to multiply. Besides that, it can be a challenge to make one of those 20 pound birds fit in most smokers or grills.

Smoked Turkey Recipes

Grill Smoked Turkey
Turkey can be smoke cooked successfully on a covered gas grill. The above recipe for grill smoked turkey is one used by my brother Joel for years. It makes some really tasty smoked turkey.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey
I've used this recipe many times. By putting some of the spicy rub mixture under the skin of breast, the meat really gets a lot of flavor. The temperature of the smoker can be upped to 300, or even 350 degrees for quicker cooking.

Cooking Thermometers

Remote Meat Thermometers
Insert the probe into the thigh, being sure not to touch the bone. When the internal temp reaches 175F, the turkey can be taken out to rest before slicing.

Analog Dial Thermometers
You'll have to open the smoker or grill to check the temperature of your smoking turkey, losing heat and increasing the cooking time. But if you're on a tight budget, these are a bargain.

Recipes and Info

Making Turkey Brine

Turkey Brine Recipes

The Smoked Turkey Tutorial

Memphis Style Rib Rub

Smoked Bourbon Spareribs

Other Topics

Food Safety Tips For Outdoor Cooking

All About Salt

Types of Woods Suitable for Smoking

Gas Grill Smoking

The Bradley Electric Smoker

About Meat Smokers

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