We know preparing the holiday meal can be a daunting task especially when there are a lot of unfamiliar mouths to feed in the house. Well, here’s our BBQ Tricks guide to smoking a mid sized to large bird this was about an 17 pound turkey.
We’re using a standard Brinkmann gourmet bullet type charcoal smoker with a large chimney of charcoal briquettes and also watersoaked hickory chunks to add smoke. A weber smokey mtn. cooker or any indirect heat would be similar – hardwood lump charcoal may burn a little hotter so that may speed things a bit if you use that.
Get the charcoal ready by firing up a chimney and waiting until the top coals are burning with some white ash. We’ll have another video here to show you how to do that. Waiting til the coals are white lets you make sure most any impurities are burned out of the charcoal and won’t give the bird an off taste.
While the coals are heating up you can unwrap your bird. Typically large birds like this from the grocery store are already sold as “enhanced” with a brining solution already. It will be labeled on the packaging as enhanced. So really you do not need to brine unless you really want to. And you can. Over brining can actually make the meat kinda mushy,,. So just be aware of that.
All you need to do is give the bird a good rinse and pat dry with paper towels… remove the weird parts of it popes nose at the end , pull out the neck and organs that are stuffed inside and trim off any other excess skin you think is gonna detract from the final look of your turkey. Make sure you remove all the plastic packaging that’s inside too.
Season the bird generously inside and lightly out with your favorite dry rub seasoning. It could be anything. Then you may opt to inject the bird with some melted butter and Cajun seasoning. It’s nice.
The one tip we have is to inject from the INSIDE of the Cavity to keep the outside pristine. Or just do what we did here…. Loosen the skin of the turkey all around the breasts and as deep into the legs as you possibly can and massage some spice rub under the skin and into the meatiest part of the bird. Or as we like to call it getting to poultry third base here. It gets it nice and seasoned.
Next, it’s about time to load the smoker with the charcoal and top with some wood chunks like hickory to produce smoke. Place the bird over the water pan to prevent drips and block the direct heat of the fire just a little bit. Smoker should be 225 degrees – this smoker simply reads ideal – which is fine. Close the lid, leave untouched for two to three hours and reloading with more charcoal after that if you need. Reload wood chunks through that little side door each hour. You don’t want to open the lid if you don’t have to. That just adds 15 to 25 minutes every time you open the lid. By adding wood chunks to the side door you also get a little glimpse of the skin thru the side door to make sure you’re not over doing it.
After about three or three and half hours check the temperature of the bird using a meat thermometer – you’re shooting for minimum 160 to 170 degrees in the breast. Usually we’d hit deepest part of thigh but it’s kinda hard to get to in this smoker
Use gloves to carefully remove the bird and be careful of hot liquid in the carcass… drain that out if you can. Let the bird rest for at least fifteen minutes before carving.
This turkey took just about four hours and fifteen minutes with opening the lid simply once after three hours.
Our biggest tip… always give yourself an extra couple of hours leeway just in case. Because it’s easier to keep that bird warm and rest it a little bit longer than to rush the whole cooking process. It’s really that simple
If you need more turkey tips it’s all at the website – www.barbecuetricks.com.