For years a coworker is using a BBQ smoker to prepare a turkey for Silvester dinner. After hearing him so many times about how excellent this is, time to try this out myself. I cannot wait for the year-end, so I have put a full size turkey into my smoker today 🙂
This is the first time I smoke such a big bird in my smoker, so bear with me 🙂
From my butcher I have a fresh/not frozen Turkey. I wanted to start with a rather small one, this one is ‘only’ 3 kg (6.6 pounds). Still a lot of poulet:
There are many recipes on the internet to ‘wet brine’ the bird about 24 hours before putting into the smoker. ‘Wet’ means putting the bird completely into a salty water solution. Other posts say that this is a complete overkill, and ‘dry’ brining will do it as well. So I decided to use the ‘dry’ method and salted it with about 1.5 table spoons of salt:
Salted the bird, wrapped it in foil and put it into the refrigerator over night:
The Wet Rub
For this bird, I’m using a simple wet rub:
- 1 table-spoon Rudy’s BBQ Rub
- 1 table-spoon onion power
- 1 table-spoon garlic powder
- 2 table-spoon paprika powder
- Sunflower oil
Mixing everything together, and adding sunflower oil until it is liquid enough:
For the gravy I’m using a large pan which then will be put under the bird while smoking it:
- 330 ml apple juice
- 2 Liter water
- 2 onions, skin on, cut into quarters
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
- 1 celery, cut into pieces
- 2-3 dried bay leaves
Everything put into the bowl:
Estimated time: 30-40 minutes per pound, so I’m prepared for about 4.5 hours.
Preparing the Smoker
Pulling out the smoker and preparing the wood:
At 12:30 the smoker gets heated up:
The gravy bowl gets placed into the smoker so it can warm up too:
Preparing the Bird
While the fire warms up the smoker, I took the bird out of the fridge. The salt has dissolved over night. First I was thinking to remove the bonding, but then I decided to keep it.
The bird received the first basting:
I have placed the bird at 13:30 into the smoker with the breast side up, above the gravy bowl:
I keep the smoker temperature stable around 225°F-250°F (107°C-, 4-6h until the bird reaches an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C).
After one hour:
The second basting applied:
After 2 hours, I have foiled the legs:
Here is the bird after 2.5 hours:
After three hours, the internal temperature reaches 169°F, and it gets basted with melted butter:
After 3.5 hours, the bird reached 170°F and we took it out of the smoker. Wrapped into foil and placed it into the oven at 70°C to keep it warm and resting.
I did put the gravy into a bowl to simmer it down:
Reduced it to about half of the volume, mixed it, skimmed it and strained it. However, it tasted not that good (too much smoke taste), so we skipped that part 😦
The bird came out great! Because of the foil, the skin could have been a bit more crispy. So we put it back into the oven without the foil for a few minutes at high temperature to dry the skin which worked very well.
The meat was very tender and juicy. For my taste there was a bit too much smoke taste on the skin, probably because I used this time more apple wood than beech wood.
Other than that, that was a very good bird!
My first Turkey bird in the smoker definitely was a new experience and a lot of fun! Even with only smoking a rather small bird, that’s a lot of meat. To eat that amount of Turkey in one meal, I would have to double the size of the family (which I’m not planning for 🙂 ). I’m not happy with the gravy, so I do need to do some research how to make that part better. Other than that, I understand now why Thanksgiving with Turkey must be popular in other areas of the world. Regardless: a brisket is already waiting for its schedule into the smoker 🙂
Happy Turkeying 🙂
- Amazing Ribs with tips for smoking a turkey: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/chicken_turkey_duck/ultimate_smoked_turkey.html#timeline