Make this year's smoked Thanksgiving turkey one to remember. After soaking in a simple brine that improves both flavor and texture, the turkey is seasoned with a flavorful rub mix. And after smoking, this turkey looks great on the Thanksgiving table! Use this smoked turkey recipe for any holiday feast. Better yet, enjoy this one any time of year.
All that need to be done here is to remove the excess fat deposits attached around the edges of the skin, then remove the giblets and neck from the body cavity. Rinse the bird inside and out with cold water.
Carefully separate the skin from the breast, being careful not to tear it. This will make it easier for the brine to get into the breast meat. And later, you'll season the breast with a wet rub mix, then cover it up with the skin.
In a food grade bucket, combine 2 gallons of water, 1 1-4 cups salt, and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar. Stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, then drop in the turkey. Weight the turkey with a foil covered brick to keep it completely submerged.
Place the "turkey-in-a-bucket" in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Remove the turkey, rinse well in cold water, and pat dry with a towel.
Two tablespoons of paprika, two tablespoons of onion powder, one tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder are combined with enough vegetable oil to make a paste. Rub the paste on the exposed breast meat, then pull the skin back over and secure it with toothpicks. Rub the remaining wet rub on the entire outer surface of the turkey.
Heat your smoker up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, using apple wood or pear wood for smoke. Baste the turkey with melted butter several times as it cooks in the smoker. Figure on it taking about 30 minutes per pound, more or less.
When the temperature of the thigh reaches 175F, it's time to remove it from the smoker. Wrap the smoked turkey loosely in aluminum foil, then in a couple of large towels and place it in a clean, dry cooler. Leave it there for a couple of hours to rest before serving.