Holiday turkey fads may come and go but smoking the turkey is here to stay - and for good reason. Smoking the turkey will give your previously boring and dry turkey new life, in a manner of speaking. Your guests will keep coming back for more of the juicy, amazing smoked flavor your bird will offer. Not to mention smoking your turkey will also leave your oven free for the rest of your amazing dishes and allow you to get dinner on the table sooner, despite the longer cooking process.
Here are the 10 things you'll need to get your turkey smoking!
1. A Good Smoker
Depending on your budget and fuel source, you've got options! The Masterbuilt 40" Digital Electric Smoker and the Masterbuilt 30" Digital Electric Smoker are both great electric choices. Both can cook 2 whole turkeys at a time! The 40" version has 975 sq. Inch of cooking space, a viewing window, and remote control. The 30" version is more moderately priced but is a best seller in it's price range.
If a propane smoker is what you're looking for, take a look at the Masterbuilt 40" Propane Smoker is just as big as it's electric cousin and comes with a 15,400 BTU stainless steel burner and temperature gauge. Smoke Hollow's 38-Inch Propane Smoker is similarly priced, well rated, and has a 20,000 BTU burner.
2. Safety Tips from USDA
Unlike the fire that may happen when trying to grill a turkey or the hot oil burns you might get from deep frying, smoking your turkey is relatively safe. But bone up on the USDA's safety guidelines for smoking meat just the same. No one wants to end up in the Emergency Room on Thanksgiving.
3. A Good Recipe
Duh...a good recipe goes without saying. These recipes will point you in the right direction:
This recipe has a 5 star rating and doesn't require brining of the turkey.
From Food and Wine:
This 5 star rated recipe also includes instructions for brining for an extra juicy turkey.
4. Smoking Chips
The smoking chips you choose will make all the difference in the flavor of your turkey. Some you can choose from: Oak, Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, Pecan, Apple, Alder, Peach, Cherry, and Jack Daniel's. Some people even like to mix them to get just the right nuance of flavors. Chad's BBQ has a great summary of which woods are best for which meats.
You’ll want to have TWO thermometers for this operation. One will measure the air temperature inside the smoker and one will measure the temperature of the turkey or other meat. Some smokers come with their own built in thermometer meaning you'll just need a meat thermometer. The USDA's safety guideline recommends maintaining a minimum air temperature for safe cooking as well as minimum internal meat temperature to indicate when the turkey is done.
The Silipower Wireless Digital Cooking Thermometer lets you monitor up to 6 different meats as well as the surrounding temperature in your smoker (or grill or oven). It will even alert you via your phone when your meat is ready. Pretty cool!
If you’re looking for more of an instant read thermometer, try Lavatools Javelin PRO. It solves some common problems by being Ambidextrous and Backlit.
6. A Brine Bucket
While you don’t technically have to brine your turkey if you’re going to smoke it, most experts recommend you do. A bucket designed specifically for this purpose makes life easier:
The Briner will accommodate up to a 25 lb turkey. The Ultimate Briner includes both a 22 qt and an 8 qt container.
7. A Brine Kit
The Fire and Flavor Turkey Brining Kit includes pre-mixed spices to be used while brining your turkey. Takes the guess work out of how much seasoning to use, which is especially useful if this is your first brining rodeo.
8. Complete Instructions
Smoker Cooking includes complete instructions and other tips and recipes for smoking your turkey.
9. A Glass of Wine
No, no, not for the recipe! This is to sip while you patiently wait for your delicious, moist, smoked turkey to be done.
10. A Platter to display your masterpiece
A classy Lenox platter or a traditional Spode platter will give your smoked turkey the perfect display case.
File under: How to Smoke a Turkey, How to Smoke a Turkey, Brine Recipe, How to Smoke a Whole Turkey, Best Smoked Turkey, Smoking a Whole Turkey, Smoked Turkey Time, Best Propane Smoker, Best Electric Smoker, Smoked Turkey Recipe, Smoking a 12 lb turkey,