At Christmas time there is nothing my family loves more than tucking into a beautiful smoked turkey.
So naturally, creating this meal is something I take great pride in. I love firing up my gas smoker and spending some quality time in the yard, but the best part about smoking a turkey? The smile on my family’s faces when I walk in with the finished product!
Because of its size and reputation as being something hard to cook, smoking a whole turkey can be quite intimidating for those of you who have never done it before.
So I will break this down this process as simple as I can for you.
One essential part of smoking a turkey is carving it at the table. So an important rule is to have a nice sharp carving knife! The last thing you want to is be cutting this thing of beauty with a bad knife!
Lets get into everything you need to know about smoking a turkey in an electric smoker!
Your 7 Essentials to The Best Smoked Turkey
- Your turkey does not need a lot of stuffing, stuff your turkey with the minimal amount of aromatics only. Minimal stuffing will ensure you get proper airflow throughout and a nice even cook.
- You should never carve your turkey from the carcass. Deconstruct your bird into pieces and carve each piece individually.
- Quality, quality, quality! I can’t stress this enough, if you want the best tasting bird, forger the supermarket, the online meat market will ensure you bring the best bird to the table!
- Along with chicken turkey needs a very mild wood for smoking. A strong wood can very easily overpower the meat. You want to go with a wood like an apple, alder or cherry. A mixture of chunks and chips is perfect.
- You should always brine your turkey overnight. This might seem like overkill but you will thank yourself when your turkey comes out lovely and moist. Basting the turkey whilst cooking won’t make it moister it will only make the skin soggier.
- Never truss the turkey. A trussed turkey is something you want to avoid. This basically means that the whole bird is cooked to the same temperature. This will result in some parts being overcooked and dry. You want your turkey breast to be at a perfect 165°F and the darker meat to be 175°F.
- Lots of Leftovers? With a turkey, you are ALWAYS left with extra! I like to do a big batch of it and put it in the fridge for sandwiches. Otherwise, the whole family end up hacking at it!
- Do not smoke (or roast) your turkey directly inside a roasting pan or rack, and definitely stay away from roasting and smoking in liquid. This will result in a very soggy turkey.
- The best way is to rest your turkey directly on the grill plates, with a pan filled with around 1” of water resting underneath the grates (around 3 – 4” below the meat). This will create a nice moist environment but still give you the nice crispy skin we all dream of.
What Temperature To Smoke A Turkey At
You want the internal temperature of the meat to be at least 165°F before you eat. The best way to make sure your internal temperature is correct is with a wireless bluetooth meat thermometer.
Using one of these bay boys allows you to enjoy family time while still monitoring your bird.
|Temperature (C)||Temperature (F)||Time|
|135||275||20 – 25 minutes per pound|
|120||250||25 – 30 minutes per pound|
|115||235||30 – 35 minutes per pound|
Best Wood For Smoking Turkey
When it comes to deciding which wood to use to smoke anything, it mainly comes down to personal preference, everyone has their own favorite and their personal opinions.
However, when it comes to selecting what wood you should use for smoking turkey there is one main rule that you should follow:
You should pick a wood that does not have a very overpowering flavour. Turkey is a delicate flavour and can be overpowered very easily.
My top choices for the bet wood for smoking turkey are:
Charlie Guide to Smoking a Turkey in a Gas Smoker
Simple Smoked Turkey Recipe
Charlies Hot Turkey Tip
You need to have gravy for your turkey! I have two favourite recipes, the one below and this one
This gravy is quick, simple & easy. You will thank me later when you are chowing down on a smoked turkey sandwich dripping with gravy!
1. While the turkey is smoking take the gizzard, neck & around 10 peppercorns. Simmer in a quart of water on a low heat.
2. Once your grill has cooled, carefully remove the drip pan and run the drippings through a fat separator then add into the simmering neck, gizzard & peppercorn broth. Add in any leftover meat from carving the bird.
3. Fish out the gizzard, neck and most of the peppercorns and keep on a very light simmer.
4. In a separate pan make a roux by melting 2 teaspoons of butter while mixing in 2 ½ teaspoons of flour. Stir constantly until golden brown.
5. Stir the roux into the gravy broth and season with a little thyme, salt & pepper to your taste.
6. Simmer for around 5 minutes on a low heat until thick. This gravy is best served nice and hot!
Smoking a turkey is not as scary and hard as you first thought is it? This turkey recipe is really quick & simple and is a real crowd pleaser.
I hope this step-by-step guide has given some of you an insight ( and confidants) on how easy it is and rewarding it is. We love making left over turkey sandwiches the next day!
For those of you who are new to the smoking world, I have created a list with (in my opinion) the best BBQ blogs of 2018 that you should keep an eye on, these blogs have a great range of information with everything from, recipes, reviews and tips and tricks.
Do you smoked turkey recipes of your own? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!