Smoked turkey can be prepared in five easy steps. Now it is time to get to the nuts and bolts of it.
As obvious as it may seem, the first step is buying a turkey.
It is great if you can buy a fresh turkey because it is ready to start preparing for the smoker, however, modern flash freezing contributes well to the freshness if you choose frozen.
When smoking turkey try to hold the size to about ten pounds, give or take a little. The reason for this is the low temperatures used in smoking. The larger birds might not heat up quick enough to prevent bacteria.If you do use a larger turkey, twelve pounds or more, it would be wise to smoke at a higher temperature.
With buying a turkey done, it is time for step two.
If the turkey is frozen let it thaw out in the refrigerator. Keep in mind it could take up to two days to thaw completely, so adjust your time appropriately. Do not put it on your counter top to thaw.
When it is thawed or if you have a fresh turkey, wash it with cold water. Do a good job and do not forget to wash the inside as well. Pat it dry.
Loosen the skin of the turkey with your hand or a spoon. Slip in between the skin and the meat and gently separate it from the breasts, thighs and any other areas you can. This will allow your seasonings and smoke to penetrate the turkey meat.
In preparing your turkey it is a good idea to soak it in a brine solution for twenty four hours. Although this is not required it does help to kill bacteria and to make the meat juicy and tender. You do not want to end up with a dry smoked turkey. After brining, thoroughly rinse with cold water both inside and outside. Pat it dry.
It is time for step three, which is applying a rub. A rub consists of different herbs and spices. You can purchase a variety of rubs at your local market or you can put your imagination to work and make your own secret recipe.
Sprinkle some rub inside the turkey cavity. Continue placing rub over the entire turkey between the meat and skin. Take your time and do a good job. When your done put it back in the refrigerator for safe keeping.
Prepare your smoker is step four. No matter which kind of smoker you have, you need to get it up to a temperature of 225 degrees to cook a smoked turkey. This temperature needs to be maintained throughout the cooking process.
Pick out the type of wood or chips you are going to use to create that special smoky flavor. With this accomplished, place your turkey on the smoker rack.
If you want to you can put a drip pan under the turkey with a little water, juice, wine or even beer in it. This will catch the drippings and create a little steam which helps in keeping the smoked turkey moist.
Manage your smoker is step five. Add wood chips as necessary to achieve the smokiness you desire. Keep the smoker temperature as close to 225 degrees as possible.
If you are cooking a larger bird raise the cooking temperature to 250 degrees. You will need to smoke the turkey about thirty to forty minutes per pound.
When you have about one hour left to go you can baste the turkey with the drippings from the drip pan. You will know when the turkey is completely done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Use a meat thermometer and check the temperature on both sides of the turkey.
Do not let the probe touch a bone or a false reading could occur. When done remove it from the smoker and transfer it to a platter. Cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for fifteen minutes. This allows the juices a chance to seep back into the meat.