Take the “Ho-Hum” Out of Thanksgiving With a Smoked Turkey

By Dede Mulligan | Food Preparation
Nov. 202014
Change Up Your Thanksgiving Celebration this Year - Have a Smoked Turkey!
Change Up Your Thanksgiving Celebration this Year – Have a Smoked Turkey!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner…and…have you always prepared your turkey the same way, year-after-year? Do you think it will be too much work to serve turkey from your fire pit or smoker? Think of preparing your turkey this year as an adventure, not a burden!

The 3 Ways to Prepare a Smoked Turkey

The first way is relatively simple, but it requires a lot of time. Build a steel teepee and hang your turkey from it after you have started a fire with kiln dried cooking wood in your fire pit.

The second way is to put your turkey on your charcoal grill. Add wood chunks and saw dust to the fire and make certain your charcoal briquets are completely grey. This option can take more time than the teepee option because you will cook the turkey slower, but the your turkey will remain very flavorful and moist.

The third way is to use a smoker; which is probably the least time consuming of the options listed above. Yes, it requires time (4-7 hours), cooking woods and chips.

Here is a recipe I found on the Food Network website for Smoked Turkey that looks really good for a smaller gathering:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 1 13 -pound turkey (neck and giblets removed)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 pound sliced applewood-smoked bacon or guanciale

Make the brine by combining 1 cup salt, the red pepper flakes, garlic, jalapenos and 2 quarts hot water in a large bucket or pot, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the turkey, breast-side down, then add enough cold water so the turkey is fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours. Drain the turkey, rinse and pat dry.

Soak wood chips in water for 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the spice blend: Combine the chili powder, coriander, cumin, brown sugar, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper in a bowl. Loosen the skin of the turkey breast with your fingers, then rub the mayonnaise under the skin. Rub the spice blend all over the outside of the bird. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a large disposable roasting pan. Lay three-quarters of the bacon over the breast, overlapping the slices, and secure in several spots with toothpicks. Wrap the legs with the remaining bacon, securing it with toothpicks.

Drain the wood chips. Prepare a smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the soaked wood chips; preheat to 210 degrees F. Put the turkey in the disposable pan on the smoker or grill grates; cover and cook 6 to 7 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 190 degrees F. Add a few handfuls of soaked wood chips every hour to maintain the smoke. If the bacon is browning too quickly, loosely cover the turkey with foil.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes. Remove the bacon and carve the turkey. Chop the bacon and sprinkle on top, if desired. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Premier Firewood Company™

At Premier Firewood Company™, We Offer A Wide Selection of Cooking Woods

  • Oak, hickory, cherry, apple and a blend of mixed hardwood firewood for cooking is available
  • All of our cooking woods can be cut to order and sold loose or in .75cu. ft bundles.
  • Specialty items such as wood chips, chunks, and saw dust are also available for purchase

Please call us to place your order at 203-866-4252 or place your order online!

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