Smoking Your Thanksgiving Turkey? Here’s a tip….

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If You’re Planning On Smoking Your Thanksgiving Bird, Here’s Some Important Tips….

Everybody seems to have the ultimate recipe/method for producing the tastiest, juiciest (well…….mmmmmaybe), turkey each year for the holidays. Whether it’s oven roasting, deep frying, microwaving… (just kidding); it requires practice, skill, the special blend of seasonings (so on and so on), to cook a turkey worthy enough for the holidays. Just watch “A Christmas Story” to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Smoking a turkey is actually a terrific method that yields the most delectable, delicious, juicy, tasty, tender, omigosh that’s a good turkey turkey. After trying it for the first time on my smoker with a combination of hickory and apple wood,  I simply won’t have turkey any other way ever again. (Imagining leftover smoked turkey salad sandwiches the next day…….drool).

So, if you decide you want to smoke a turkey for the holidays, please make sure you read and follow these tips that I’m about to share with you. I’m no professional chef, but BBQ is a passion of kind and I’ve done alot, I mean alot of reading and research before ookking my first turkey, which was a success, by the way.  🙂

Here are my tips/recommendations:

DO NOT attempt to smoke a turkey that weighs more than 13 lbs. Since smoking meat requires low and slow cooking in the smoker, a bird that’s too large will produce bacteria if it’s not cooked properly within a certain amount of time.

DO invest in a digital thermometer. This really is a must. Digital thermometers are sold at local dept stores or online as cheap as $10-15 bucks and up. They will give you the most accurate temp readings as reaching the correct internal temperature is critical. Oh, and that little pop-up thingy that comes on the bird? Toss it. Light it on fire. Seriously.

DO NOT stuff the bird before smoking it. Bad…..bad……pooey……ca-ca. (You get the picture). Prepare the stuffing separately and serve with the fully cooked turkey. Das good!

Cooking times vary according to the size and weight of the bird, but consistency is key. You want to smoke the meat low and slow in order to produce tender, succulent meat, but you have to be careful, ESPECIALLY with poultry. I usually go with 325 degrees farenheit, and it takes me about 4 hours roughly for a 13lb. turkey. Use the digital thermometer. Use it. Seriously. It is your friend. And always insert the probe into the thickest part of the breast or thigh meat away from the bone. You’ll get the most accurate temp reading that way. And you want to reach an internal temp to165 – 170 degrees farenheit.
Oh and don’t freak out at the color of the skin when its cooking in the smoker. Its going to get dark quick.. After a couple of hours, check the turkey and if the skin is pretty dark, then cover it with aluminium foil.

The internet is full of websites and blogs with recipes, tips, tricks…you name it. Smoking turkeys can be challenging, but if done properly, you will be handsomely rewarded. Your family and friends will most definitely be impressed. Not to mention smoked turkey club sandwiches, paninis, quesadillas, soups with the leftovers….omg. If you do end up smoking a turkey, tell me about it. Send me a pic.

Happy Thanksgiving and…..smoke’ em if you got’em!

Be safe-be blessed!

~Sam

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