How do I prepare a turkey in a smoker?
First things first, DON'T STUFF IT! It'll take too long to get to temp
and the possibility of food poisoning increases. You can do stuffing in
the oven, if you want a recipe let me know, I have a really nice one.
Get an injector of some form (the stainless steel baster from Chef's
Catalog has/is one, some folks get a horse syringe from a vet). Heat up
about 1/4 cup each, sweet white wine, butter and honey until all is mixed
and flows easy. Take the bird and inject it straight into the meat in
many locations - try not to inject any air. As you inject it you'll see
it bulging as it fills. Make sure you get the breast real good and the
drumsticks. Use about 1/3-1/2 of the mixture for it. Here's where you
can do it two ways. I usually spray it with a garlic/buttery flavored
Both methods are easy, the first one being a good solution for when you're
going to get some sleep before the football games start, guests start
arriving, etc. At Thanksgiving I usually start the bird late in the
evening (10pm or so) and use method number one and it'll stay in the oven
as long as necessary. Timing's a bit of a pain. I've done smaller
turkeys during the day, probably takes about 15-30 minutes per pound (which is
why the oven method is preferable - you can also play with the oven temp
to control finish time. Also if it's cold outside you don't really want
to be screwing around tending a fire!
- Put it in the smoker and keep it in heavy smoke until the skin turns a
nice golden brown. Line a pan large enuf to hold the turkey with foil and
leave enuf foil hanging over to wrap the turkey real good. Put the turkey
in the pan and pour the remaining injection mixture over the turkey. Wrap
it up real tite and put it in a 250-275 oven until it's done (determine
either by temp [don't let the breast go any higher than 165 or you'll dry
it out], shaking it's hand or when the juices run clear). I can
pretty much tell now by looking at it that it's done. Enjoy dinner. :)
- Put it in the smoker and smoke normally keeping the temp at about 225-
250. Baste initially with some oil and rebaste as necessary throughout
the cooking process. Determine doneness as in method #1.
Additional notes: Place a drip pan under the bird while in the smoker to
catch the drippings for the gravy. The bird
may very well finish quicker than 15-30 mins/pound so keep an eye on it - it
will depend on your firetending and cooking temps.