Smoking Turkey Times and Temps

Thanksgiving Turkey Smoking Times

For Great Tasting Thanksgiving Turkey Every Time!

We’ve had a few requests for Turkey Smoking Instructions on our MeatSmoking Facebook Page.

So we figured we’d share our “secret” recipe… 🙂

For starters, we’re big fans of brining foul. Brining will plump up the bird and give it some base flavor.

There are all kinds of brining recipes, but here’s how we do it.

We line a 5 gallon Home Depot bucket with a food grade plastic liner. In a pinch I’ve used garbage bags but some people are concerned with BPA’s and I understand it.

We then combine 1 gallon of refrigerated bottled water, and 1 gallon of refrigerated apple juice (fresh pressed preferred) and 1 to 1.5 cups of Kosher salt. (1. DO NOT BRINE DIRECTLY IN A METAL CONTAINER AS THE SALT CAN REACT WITH CERTAIN METALS AND YOUR BIRD CAN TASTE FUNKY! 2) Refrigerated liquids will help keep the bird out of the danger zone in an attempt to slow any bacteria growth.)

Allow the salt to dissolve in the mixture by stirring it up a bit.

Once the majority of the salt has dissolved, rinse your completely thawed turkey and place it into the mixture. You want to make sure the bird is completely submerged. You can twist the garbage bag and then place a plate on top of the bird to add some weight to it in an attempt to keep it submerged. (I usually submerge the bird neck-side up.)

Place the bucket into the fridge and let it sit for 6-24 hours. You can play with the brining time. I have a friend who is one of the top chefs in the nation. He brines his turkeys for 7 days and serves them at the hotel. They do about 600 birds each year. It’s unheard of but he swears by it. I typically do a 3-4 day brine..

Once your brining time is up, remove the turkey from the mixture and dispose of it. Remember, you are working with foul so do what you can to keep things clean. Rinse the bird and put it out on some tin foil or a baking sheet so that you can apply the rub. Pat the bird dry.

For the rub, mix up the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground basil

I’m a big fan of fresh herbs and spices so if you can get ’em great. If not, use what you can find.

Generously rub the bird with the mix. You may have to time-and-a-half the rub recipe for a larger bird. Don’t be scared to use too much. 😉

Now, put two whole sticks of butter into the butt of the bird and place it into the smoker breast side down for the first 2/3 of the cook. After that, flip the bird breast side up for the remainder of the time.

Thank You,
John Kirker

I know more about women then BBQ – and according to my wife, I don’t know much about women!

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