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This year we're going to try smoking a turkey for thanksgiving.

Being as we've never done this before, anyone have any tips?
 
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Go easy on the smoke, use something mild like apple or cherry wood not harsh like hickory. Poultry takes on a lot of smoke flavor so it's easy to over-do it. As far as times & temps, I'm not much help. I've dome one turkey and it turned out great. I cooked it on my smoker, but cranked up the heat to almost oven temp (350ish) so I could cook it like it was in the oven.
 
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It depends on what you are using to smoke it... I use a traeger to smoke my food and I have found using an aluminum pan to catch the drippings as well as allow me to cover it in case it starts to dry out towards the end of cooking is a great way to go.

Also, if anyone has figured out how to smoke poultry and get the skin crispy instead of rubbery let us know!!
 
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I have smoked a turkey for the last 2 years and they turned out..... wait for it!!! BANGIN!!!!:s0155: I washed and rinsed the turkey the night before and injected the brine/seasoning, that way it had all night to absorb the spices. I used sage, salt, pepper, oregano, smoked paprika (small amount), fresh garlic, smoke sauce, olive oil and savory. I also used a brown sugar rub on the outside to give the skin a crisp texture. The sugar helps keep the skin from getting soggy or drying out. The bird went in the smoker @ 6Am @180 degrees for 9 hrs. I basted it every 30 min after the 1st hr. Time and temp will depend on if you want the bird stuffed or not and the size of the bird. Oh and I used mesquite and apple wood for the smoke!
Blew my mind!!!!!!!!:s0001:
 

Mark W.

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I have done this a dozen or more time and everyone really likes it.

Little chief top load smoker

Apple chips

12lb bird remove the goodies make sure its defrosted

Make sure the skin is dry

Rub skin with Olive oil (I use a little garlic salt in the oil)

Wrap the legs and wings so they don't spread out and touch the sides but not to tight as to hold them against the breast. I use a little bit of dental floss.

Hang the bird with a coat hanger hook so the butt opening is down.

Burn 3 pans of apple chips under the bird takes about 2 hours.

Pull Bird rub skin with more Olive oil seasoning mix.

Place in Oven and cook as normal.

The mild smoke flavor will reach all the way to the breast bone the meat will be moist. And the Guests will lick the bones clean.
 
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It depends on what you are using to smoke it... I use a traeger to smoke my food and I have found using an aluminum pan to catch the drippings as well as allow me to cover it in case it starts to dry out towards the end of cooking is a great way to go.

Also, if anyone has figured out how to smoke poultry and get the skin crispy instead of rubbery let us know!!

Smoke as usual, then sear on a very hot gas or, better, charcoal grill. I have heard of using a propane torch but never tried it. I like Alder pellets in my Trager.

PS: I used to make a simple dipping sauce by reducing a pot of cranberry juice to a syrup! Season and sweeten, if necessary, near the end.

PPS: A good way to make smoking bird easier and faster is to use turkey breasts instead of whole birds.
 
Thanks for all the tips guys, much appreciated. I don't remember the name of the smoker, but it's one of those upright ones with the electric element on the bottom. I need to figure out the estimated cook time, I'm pretty sure the turkey is 20lbs or so. We have apple chips, but I'm still lost on how to season it.
 
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The best way to "season" a bird IMHO is to dry rub your spices under the skin. Make small incisions in the skin in 4 or 5 places and rub your seasoning mix directly on the meat. As for what spices to use, think about style of food you like. Traditional seasoning's include thyme,oregano,basil,sage,salt,pepper, ground mustard and so on. Just go with what sounds good to you. Almost anything is possible to combine spice wise in reason of course, if you prefer a sweet turkey, use brown sugar, garlic,salt,pepper,etc and mix up a small batch of molasses and cognac or brandy for a glaze. If you like more flavor or southwest style, use dried chipotle's, chili powder,paprika,garlic,salt,pepper,cumin and smoked chili's.
 

jbett98

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Speaking of turkey's, I once did a favor for a neighbor and they repaid me with one of their home raised birds.
Three days before Thanksgiving, the neighbor dropped off a live bird wrapped up to it's neck in a feed sack.
I took it to a place out in Boring, OR that processes live poultry.
20 minutes and $3.50 later, I was the proud owner of a dressed 42 lb turkey.
I had already called my Mom and told her that I was going to supply the turkey.
I forgot to mention that it was three times the normal size of most birds.
Needless to say, she wasn't too happy with the thought of getting up at 5:00 am and trying to get the bird in the oven.
12 hours later, it was the best turkey I have ever tasted.
Her ovens bottom rack was permanently bent from that bird.
Later on, my neighbor told me that I received one of the smaller birds that year, as most topped out at over 50 lbs.
His wife worked at Franz bakery and she took home pickup loads of day old bread, which was then fed to over 100 turkeys that they raised.
 
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Thanks for all the tips guys, much appreciated. I don't remember the name of the smoker, but it's one of those upright ones with the electric element on the bottom. I need to figure out the estimated cook time, I'm pretty sure the turkey is 20lbs or so. We have apple chips, but I'm still lost on how to season it.

I've smoked many turkeys, just none for Thanksgiving. I use apple wood, and for a 20 pounder, I run about 250 for 8 hours. This year I am thinking I will brine, inject, and smoke.
 
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