Impress your visitors with Smoked Turkey this Thanksgiving! It’s tender and juicy because of an herbaceous, citrusy brine, and that smoked taste makes it unforgettable. Finest! Turkey! Ever!
Why You’ll Love This Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
- Turkey Is Made for Smoking. The smoker is good for holding turkey moist, and the smoke infuses the meat with taste. If dry, bland turkey has rained in your Thanksgiving parade 12 months after 12 months, it’s time to attempt smoking it! (I’m additionally keen on Smoked Salmon and Smoked Hen Thighs.)
- It Frees Up Your Oven. Whereas we love a conventional Roast Turkey and Spatchcock Turkey, when you’ve got a single oven, managing Thanksgiving dinner is just like the worst sport of Tetris you’ve ever performed. Resolution? Smoked turkey, after all!
- Simpler Than You Suppose. Smoking turkey is a mission, however let’s be sincere: so is roasting turkey within the oven. Except you’re making Air Fryer Turkey Breast or Crockpot Turkey Breast, there’s actually no straightforward strategy to do Thanksgiving turkey, however the smoker isn’t as onerous as you would possibly count on—particularly if you happen to’ve made different smoker recipes like Smoked Hen Breast and Smoked Pork Tenderloin.
- Conventional With a Slight Twist. Whereas the smoking half won’t be conventional, the remainder of this turkey recipe is precisely what you count on in a Thanksgiving roast—the aromatics stuffed within the cavity for taste, the butter rubbed all around the exterior, and the leftovers for making turkey sandwiches on Selfmade Dinner Rolls for lunch the subsequent day.
How you can Make the Finest Smoked Turkey
- Turkey. I like to recommend shopping for a recent turkey from an area butcher—no thawing and also you’re supporting a small enterprise. Win-win! For those who do purchase a frozen turkey, you’ll have to thaw it earlier than smoking. Unsure how large your turkey ought to be? Begin right here: How A lot Turkey Per Particular person.
- Dry Brine. Utilizing dry smoked turkey brine helps the turkey retain its juices, leading to excellent, succulent meat. You should use a moist brine if you happen to insist, however I like to recommend utilizing dry for this smoked turkey recipe; you’ll get crispier pores and skin too.
- Aromatics. Carrots, pink apple, yellow onion, lemon, garlic, and recent thyme infuse the turkey with taste because it smokes. Be happy to toss in different herbs like recent rosemary or sage.
- Unsalted Butter. It’s essential to make use of unsalted butter since there’s already salt within the brine.
- Freshly Floor Black Pepper. Coarse black pepper provides large taste to smoked turkey.
- Liquid. Apple juice, white wine, or hen broth.
- Brine the Turkey (1-3 Days Earlier than Smoking). Pat the turkey dry, rub the dry brine all around the fowl, together with within the cavity, then refrigerate for twenty-four to 48 hours.
- Uncover (24 Hours Earlier than Smoking). Uncover the turkey, then return it to the fridge. This helps the pores and skin dry out so it will possibly crisp.
- Deliver to Room Temperature (1 Hour Earlier than Smoking). Take away the turkey from the fridge and let it stand at room temperature.
- Put together the Aromatics. You don’t have to peel a factor.
- Stuff the Turkey. No matter doesn’t match contained in the turkey, scatter within the roasting pan.
- Tuck the Wings. This prevents them from burning.
- Tie. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs collectively.
- Get Prepared for Smoking. As soon as your smoker is 325°F, brush the fowl with the melted butter and set the pan on the smoker. Pour in your liquid.
- Smoke the Turkey. Cowl the smoker and smoke your turkey at 325°F till it reaches 155°F within the breast and 160°F within the thighs.
- Relaxation and Carve. 20 to half-hour relaxation is necessary or your turkey might be dry. Carve (see: How you can Carve a Turkey) and ENJOY!
How Lengthy Will It Take to Smoke a Turkey?
- Smoke entire turkey for 10 to 12 minutes per pound.
- This implies a 12- to 14-pound turkey will want 2 to three hours smoking time.
As a substitute of following the clock, the BEST strategy to know when your smoked turkey is finished is by temperature.
- The thigh ought to register a minimum of 160°F and as much as 180°F; the breast ought to be a minimum of 150°F (and not more than 165°F) on an immediate learn thermometer inserted within the thickest a part of the meat.
- The thermometer shouldn’t contact the bone or the turkey cavity.
- Per FDA pointers, turkey is taken into account cooked at 165 levels F, however its temperature will rise because it rests. See my publish on How Lengthy to Prepare dinner a Turkey for extra info.
A Notice About Smoked Turkey Gravy
Some folks love smoked turkey gravy; different folks discover the smoky taste to be a lot too sturdy. For those who’ve by no means had it earlier than, it’s possible you’ll wish to make Vegan Gravy or Mushroom Gravy for backup.
To make smoked turkey gravy, use my Turkey Gravy recipe with the drippings within the pan. Listed here are just a few suggestions:
- If there are charred and burnt bits within the pan, don’t scrape them off to incorporate with the drippings. There’s already sufficient smoky taste within the drippings and people charred-on bits will make it too sturdy.
- It’s possible you’ll have to refill the pan with water through the smoking course of. Don’t refill it with broth, wine, or apple juice; simply use water. It will reconstitute the unique liquid and hold your gravy from being too sturdy.
- To Retailer. Refrigerate leftover smoked turkey in an hermetic storage container or ziptop bag for as much as 4 days. To maintain the meat moist, drizzle a few of the turkey pan drippings or hen broth excessive earlier than refrigerating it.
- To Reheat. Wrap the smoked turkey in an aluminum foil pouch, drizzle turkey drippings or broth over the meat, then seal it. Heat the pouch in a baking dish in a 300 levels F oven.
- To Freeze. Freeze turkey in an hermetic freezer-safe storage container for as much as 3 months. Let it thaw in a single day within the fridge earlier than reheating in line with the directions above.
What to Serve with Smoked Turkey
- Mashed Potatoes. The Finest Basic Mashed Potatoes Recipe is my favourite conventional recipe, however if you wish to go the non-traditional route, attempt Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Crockpot Mashed Potatoes, or Instantaneous Pot Mashed Potatoes.
- Candy Potatoes. We’re speaking Candy Potato Casserole, Glazed Candy Potatoes, Mashed Candy Potatoes, and Candy Potato Souffle. Gotta have ’em!
- Cranberry Sauce. Cranberry Orange Sauce and Cranberry Orange Relish would each be pleasant with smoked turkey.
- Veggie Sides. Clearly, there’s Inexperienced Bean Casserole, however don’t overlook about Corn Casserole and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
- Stuffing. Clearly I like stuffing, as a result of I’ve recipes for Chestnut Stuffing, Crockpot Wild Rice Stuffing, Cornbread Stuffing, and Crock Pot Stuffing.
- Pie. Follow conventional Candy Potato Pie or attempt one thing new with Buttermilk Pie, Pumpkin Pecan Pie, or Crustless Pumpkin Pie.
Recipe Suggestions and Methods
- Don’t Depend on the Pop-Up Thermometer. In case your turkey comes with a pop-up thermometer, do away with it! You continue to wish to use a meat thermometer. Pop-up thermometers typically pop up when the turkey’s already over-cooked.
- Keep in mind to Thaw in Advance. For those who purchase a frozen turkey, it’s possible you’ll want per week of lead time to make your turkey—as much as 4 days of thawing and as much as 3 days of brining. Planning forward is essential.
- Don’t Stuff the Turkey. Make your stuffing and your smoked turkey individually. For those who stuff the fowl, by the point the stuffing reaches a protected temperature, the remainder of the turkey might be over-cooked.
- 1 12- to 14- pound turkey* THAWED
- 1 batch Dry Brine
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 pink apple
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 lemon
- 1 head garlic
- 8 sprigs recent thyme
- 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter melted
- Freshly floor black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups apple juice, white wine, or hen broth
THAW THE TURKEY whether it is nonetheless frozen. This could take days. See notes.
1 to three days earlier than smoking: Take away the neck and giblets from the turkey (discard or save for gravy). With paper towels, pat the turkey dry. You do not want to rinse the turkey.
Combine up the brine: Add the dry brine elements to a small bowl. Stir to mix. Rub all around the fowl, together with contained in the cavity. Place the turkey on a rimmed baking sheet. If cooking inside 24 hours, depart it uncovered and refrigerate; if cooking in 2 to three days, cowl with plastic, then refrigerate for as much as 3 days complete.
About 24 hours earlier than smoking: Uncover the turkey, then return to the fridge. This step dries the pores and skin, which helps it crisp.
1 hour earlier than smoking: Take away the turkey from the fridge and let stand at room temperature.
Warmth your smoker to 325°F. We’ll be cooking over oblique warmth.
Lower the carrots into 1-inch items (in case your carrots are very thick, halve them lengthwise first). Lower the apple, onion, and lemon into eights. Lower the pinnacle of garlic in half crosswise (that is horizontally by way of the cloves), then break every half into just a few large items. No have to peel or core any of those; they’re only for taste.
Stuff the turkey cavity with the thyme and a combination of the carrots, apples, onion, lemon, and garlic. Scatter the remaining carrots, apple, onion, lemon, and garlic within the backside of a big disposable aluminum roasting pan.
Tuck the turkey’s wings: Stretch them upwards, then tuck them underneath the turkey’s physique (as if the turkey have been reaching its wings up and behind its neck). Tie the legs snugly along with kitchen twine (or in determined occasions, a rope of aluminum foil).
Set a rack within the roasting pan, then place the turkey on prime. Brush the turkey throughout with the melted butter. Sprinkle with black pepper.
You probably have a meat probe, insert it within the thickest a part of the thigh with out it touching bone (a digital one with an alarm set to 160°F is good). Set the Turkey on the smoker, then pour within the apple juice.
Smoke the turkey for 10 to 12 minutes per pound—a 12- to 14-pound turkey will want 2 to three hours roasting time), till the thigh registers a minimum of 160°F and as much as 180°F and the breast is a minimum of 150°F (and not more than 165°F) on an immediate learn thermometer inserted within the thickest a part of the meat with out the thermometer touching bone or being within the empty turkey cavity – per the FDA turkey is taken into account cooked at 165 levels F, however its temperature will rise because it rests. DO NOT OVERCOOK THE TURKEY. Verify the turkey early to be protected, and see How Lengthy to Prepare dinner a Turkey for extra info.
Let the turkey relaxation (necessary!): Switch the turkey to a slicing board. Cowl and let relaxation for a minimum of 20 to half-hour (it is going to keep piping sizzling for much longer; don’t fear about it getting chilly).
Carve the turkey and serve with the pan juices and/or gravy. WAY TO GO!
- *Be sure that your turkey is NOT already brined. If it does come pre-brined (many Butterball turkeys do come already injected), brine it for twenty-four hours as a substitute of 48 hours. Kosher turkeys don’t have to be brined.
- THAWING: For each 5 kilos of turkey, plan on 24 hours thawing within the fridge (that’s 3 days thawing for a 15-pound fowl). For emergency quick thawing, place the turkey in a chilly water tub and alter the water each half-hour. It will nonetheless take about 8 hours for a 15-pound turkey. In a really perfect world, buy your turkey recent from an area butcher. That manner you possibly can keep away from this time-consuming (and fridge hogging) step solely. You can also thaw turkey in a cooler, supplied it’s stored under 40 levels F.
Chicken sizes: When attainable, attempt to not buy a fowl that’s bigger than 16 kilos—their proportions make it far more tough to get juicy meat all through. If you’re cooking for a big crowd or need a whole lot of leftovers, prepare dinner two smaller birds as a substitute.
- A NOTE ON TIMING: A LOT will have an effect on how lengthy it takes your turkey to prepare dinner—how constant the temp of your smoker stays, the kind of turkey you obtain, the temperature outdoors…I may go on! Plan on buffer time on both finish.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover smoked turkey in an hermetic storage container or ziptop bag for as much as 4 days. To maintain the meat moist, drizzle a few of the turkey pan drippings or hen broth excessive earlier than refrigerating it.
- TO REHEAT: Wrap the smoked turkey in an aluminum foil pouch, drizzle turkey drippings or broth over the meat, then seal it. Heat the pouch in a baking dish in a 300 levels F oven.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze turkey in an hermetic freezer-safe storage container for as much as 3 months. Let it thaw in a single day within the fridge earlier than reheating in line with the directions above.
- Tailored from my Thanksgiving Roast Turkey.
Serving: 1(of 8)Energy: 731kcalCarbohydrates: 0.004gProtein: 105gFats: 33gSaturated Fats: 11gPolyunsaturated Fats: 7gMonounsaturated Fats: 10gTrans Fats: 1gLdl cholesterol: 363mgPotassium: 1084mgSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 445IUCalcium: 55mgIron: 4mg
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Regularly Requested Questions
No, there’s no have to wrap a turkey in foil while you’re roasting it.
Smoking a turkey received’t dry it out so long as you monitor the temperature. All the time err on the aspect of checking the temperature early quite than later! Utilizing a dry brine additionally helps hold the turkey moist and juicy.
You don’t have to baste your smoked turkey if you happen to brine it.
Place the breast aspect up on the rack you’ve set within the roasting pan.
Though you possibly can skip brining smoked turkey, due to the best way that brining adjustments the protein construction of meat (it helps the meat higher retain moisture), your outcomes are much less more likely to be as moist. Notice that when you’ve got a kosher or pre-brined turkey, you possibly can skip brining.