Cooking a turkey can be difficult and often results in an over-dry main dish for your Thanksgiving feast. Make sure your turkey is a hit this year with some tips on how to smoke it to perfection:
Don’t pick the biggest turkey you can find. As most know, the bigger the bird, the longer it takes to cook. Between 10-14 pounds is best, as it can take up to 8 hours to smoke a 12 pound turkey. If you have a big group, get two smaller turkeys instead of one large one!
If using a frozen turkey, be sure to plan ahead, as it can take a few days for a turkey to fully defrost. If using a fresh turkey, be sure to buy it only a few days before Thanksgiving.
Apply the rub or seasoning of your choice both on the turkey and under the skin to flavor the meat directly.
Don’t stuff your turkey! If you’re smoking your turkey this year, stuffing it prevents the heat from circulating around the bird and cooking it effectively. Cook your stuffing separately.
Use apple or cherry wood for a sweet, wood-fired flavor. For a smokier taste, use hickory or mesquite.
Lift the lid sparingly – every time you open the lid, you add about 10-15 minutes to your cook time.
The turkey is done when it reaches 165 degrees. Use a thermometer at the thickest part of the bird to be sure it’s ready to eat.
When it’s reached the optimal temperature, either tent the turkey with foil or put the turkey in a cooler (without ice) to keep it warm and allow the juices to start flowing throughout.
Once you’d successfully smoked your turkey, try out a few of these fun recipes to pair with the main dish:
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