smoking a turkey

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by smokin momma, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Ok folks, I have smoked a turkey (well I usually cut the turkey up or buy "parts") to cut down on overall time, and it has always turned out awesome.  I also have a roast turkey recipe ,that is the moistest tastiest turkey, that I have made on a couple of occasions (new recipe) that is brined for 24 hours and marinated for at least another 24 hours, then roasted in the oven for several hours.   Whoever said that a turkey was a quick fix, you know 3-4 days to defrost, 1 day to brine, 1 day to marinate and another several hours of cooking and pretty soon it takes a week to cook a turkey!! [​IMG]   Anyway, back to my question, any thoughts on using this same process and then instead of roasting, smoking the turkey.  Would the smoke add that extra level of wowness or would it just be overkill?  Would it still be moist?  I typically don't like turkey but this recipe (which I got off of the net) makes a fantastic turkey.  Should I just stick to the original recipe or give it a shot and see what happens?  What are your thoughts folks?  Good or bad, I want to know your ideas about this.  Sorry this is a bit long, I tend to be long winded!
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  3. Thanks for the reply, I wasn't sure it had posted as I got some weird error message.  This is exactly the feedback I am looking for.  Thanks.  If it is ok, I would like to post the recipe that I am currently using for this tasty turkey.  I did not come up with it on my own but of course, as with any good cook, have tweaked it a bit. 
  4. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Go for it. I use a lot of the rubs and marinades that we use in ovens at work in my smokes. The smoke adds an extra level of flavor. Think of steaks and the difference a wood grill makes over using a gas grill or in a sauté pan... Just remember to post pics for us to drool over and recipes for us to try..
  5. jrod62

    jrod62 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  Go ahead and post the recipe . Sound like it be a good one.

    Smoke turkey is the best. One year my wife cook one in the oven and I smoke one .

    At the end of the day the smoke one was gone and 95% of the oven one was still on the platter [​IMG]
  6. Look like you got some great advice! I figure if I canmost meats in the oven, I can them in the smoker. By all means post the recipe, I'd love to see it. I smoked my first turkey last year using the Slaughterhouse recipes and it was great.
  7. I have a similar question.  Will also be smoking a breast.  However, I will be doing mine Wednesday night and transporting it the next morning.

    So if it comes off the cooker between 8-10pm Wednesday.  Should I just wrap in foil for an hour, then stick it in the fridge until I leave the next day (around 9am Thursday)?

    Is that the best way to go about it? 

  8. Thanks all for the suggestions and support, I will post pics when it happens.  How long do you think I should smoke a 10 -12 lb turkey.

    Here is the basic recipe and instructions that I have used for my turkey.  I have made 2 of them and they turned out so moist/juicy/tasty. And I don't really like turkey!!  I have tweaked it a bit but don't actually remember what I did different, I never make anything the same way twice!!  I just wing it as I go.  I also don't remember exactly where I got if from but here it is, enjoy!  Sorry it is a bit long, again [​IMG]

    Jose Garces prepares this turkey in the same style as a traditional Yucatán dish called cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus and annatto paste (made from achiote seeds, the condiment adds an orange hue to foods). Brining and marinating the bird make it especially succulent.

    Serves: 12 Edit         Total Time: 5 hr


    Brined Turkey

    • 1 gallon(s) water
    • 2 cup(s) apple cider
    • 2 cup(s) kosher salt
    • 2 cup(s) sugar
    • 1  (15-pound) fresh turkey, giblets and neck reserved


    • 10 clove(s) roasted garlic (see Tips & Techniques)
    • 10 clove(s) raw garlic
    • 1 3/4 cup(s) vegetable oil
    • 3 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
    • 3/4 cup(s) fresh orange juice
    • 1/4 cup(s) cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup(s) kosher salt
    • 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice
    • 3 tablespoon(s) dried oregano
    • 3  chipotles in adobo
    • 2 tablespoon(s) annatto paste (see Tips & Techniques)
    • 1 tablespoon(s) ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon(s) ground allspice


    • 9 cup(s) chicken or turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth
    • 3 tablespoon(s) canola oil
    • Reserved turkey giblets and neck, liver discarded
    • 3  shallots, coarsely chopped
    • 2  carrots, coarsely chopped
    • 2  celery ribs, coarsely chopped
    • 1  onion, coarsely chopped
    • 10 clove(s) roasted garlic (see Tips & Techniques)
    • 8  black peppercorns
    • 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper

    1. Brine the turkey: In a very large bowl, stir the water, apple cider, kosher salt, and sugar until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Line a stock pot with a large, sturdy doubled plastic bag. Put the turkey in the bag, neck first. Pour in the brine and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
    2. Marinate the turkey: Remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. In a blender, combine the roasted garlic with the 10 raw garlic cloves, the vegetable oil, orange juice, cider vinegar, kosher salt, lime juice, oregano, chipotles, annatto paste, cumin, and allspice. Puree until smooth. Slather the turkey inside and out with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
    3. Cook the turkey: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lift the turkey out of the marinade and set on a rack in a roasting pan. Brush the breast with some of the marinade. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the stock into the bottom of the pan and cover the turkey very loosely with foil. Roast the turkey for 2 hours. Remove the foil and add another 1 1/2 cups of the stock to the pan. Continue roasting for about 2 1/2 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 175°F.
    4. In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the giblets and neck and cook over moderate heat until browned. Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots, carrots, celery, and onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Return the turkey parts to the saucepan. Stir in the roasted garlic and peppercorns, add the remaining 6 cups of stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 1/2 hours. Strain the enriched stock into a heatproof bowl and discard the solids.
    5. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and remove the rack from the pan. Pour the pan juices into a bowl and skim off the fat, reserving 2 tablespoons. Transfer the reserved fat to a saucepan. Add the butter and flour and cook over high heat, whisking constantly, until golden brown, 2 minutes. Add the enriched stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the gravy is reduced to 3 cups, about 10 minutes.
    6. Place the roasting pan over one burner on high heat. Add the strained, defatted pan drippings (there should be 1 cup) and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Strain the pan drippings into the gravy and season with salt and pepper; keep warm.
    7. Carve the turkey and transfer the slices to a platter. Serve with the gravy.
    Tips & Techniques:  To roast garlic, place 20 unpeeled cloves in a small baking dish and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Cover and roast at 375°F for 40 minutes, until tender and caramelized. Let cool, then squeeze the garlic from the skins.

    Jose Garces likes using El Yucateco brand achiote annatto paste. It's available at

  9. I don't really have an answer for how long to smoke the breast, I have done several but don't have exact times.  I am not a fan of white meat but I have to say that when it comes to smoked turkey, the breast is the best part.  One trick that I use is that I always loosen the skin and stuff flavored butter up under the skin and then hold it down with a toothpick.  It gives extra flavor and juiciness.  You will happy with your results.
  10. I like to foil, towel, and cooler my turkey breasts for at least an hour. I think this makes the breasts more moist. Maybe fridge it after that. I don't know about reheating a whole breast the next day. Haven't tried that. 
    dwrek likes this.
  11. I have a friend who smokes alot of meat for Thanksgiving/family get together. He removes the meat from the smoker, sticks it in an ice chest (no ice) and 9 hours later, it's still warm and tender as can be when he gets to his inlaws house.  I'd make sure it's a good ice chest though, no styrofoam.  
    dwrek likes this.
  12. blodzoo

    blodzoo Fire Starter

    This is an old thread but I'm looking for thanksgiving ideas and this is the only time I've seen anyone mention brining and then marinating a turkey (and then smoking it!)  There's no followup here, did anyone try it?  It sounds delicious but I'm inexperienced and only smoke one turkey per year, I don't know if I should gamble this much.
  13. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I dont see a need to brine then marinade. They can do basically the same thing if the recipes are tweaked a bit. Just make your brine with more flavors that will get infused into the meat.
  14. blodzoo

    blodzoo Fire Starter

    You are probably right.  I should focus on getting simple done well.  I am always just tempted to try more interesting things.
  15. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would agree keep it simple. I am very guilty of over complicating things that could be very simple.
  16. generalee

    generalee Fire Starter

    I think I'll jump in here -

    1. I cook at 1/2 hour per pound at roughly 250deg F...I try to stay under just a touch

    I usually smoke whole birds roughly 11-13#s each.

    This year, I'm at smoking 16 whole turkeys and a couple of breasts....I sell them some.

    2. Brine, don't marinade...I find that it's the brine needed big time for moistness.

    I brine no less than 24 hours, and try to get 36hours in.

    My brine is nothing special, got it out of a book.

    3.  Definitely smoke the bird.  Mix some oak, charcoal briquettes, fruit woods.

    4.  Thawing the turkey - put it in a cooler...keep the lid open, get a box fan or other type of fan.

    Point it so the air flows down into the cooler, put it on medium, and go to bed...Mostly thawed in about 12 hours.

    The air circulation will thaw it.  It should still be pretty cold on the inside of the bird/cavity.

    5. Before going into the brine...It must be fully thawed...otherwise I find it doesn't thaw til on the smoker.

    Have fun and enjoy!
  17. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    All sounds good and very similar to what I would do. The only thing that I caution on is the thawing process. Only food service approved ways are slacked out in a refrigerator or under cold slightly running water. Unless the ambient temperature does not go above 40°, I would not use this method.

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