Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.
Lots of folks are intimidated by smoking meats, and lots of people think that it involves a ton of effort. The truth is that it's one of the easiest methods there is. The main tricks are really to just leave it alone and let the smoke do the work.
With that said, another major step to take for real success is to brine the bird beforehand. If you've never used a brine before, you'll be really amazed at the difference it makes and how much better your turkey will turn out. It's really just a soak in salted water (with some other seasonings if you wish), but it makes all the difference in the finished product.
Other than that, you have a simple baste, and your smoker will do all the work for you. I like hickory, or hickory and apple, but if you have a preference for another wood, by all means, go for it.
Keep your time in mind as well—this isn't a process that can be rushed. The bird in these photos was about 24 pounds and took a good 12 hours. Smaller birds will, of course, will be faster to reach that important 165F, so just plan accordingly and you'll be fine.
A couple quick tips and on to the recipe - leave the smoker alone. Other than basting you don't really need to open it. You'll let the heat out (and the smoke) each time you open the smoker. This causes longer and longer cook times. When you do open it, work quickly. Add chips as needed, and that's really all there is to it. Pinky promise.
Now go fire up your smoker!
- 1 brined turkey
- 2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Remove the turkey from the brine at least 30 minutes before beginning the smoking. This lets the bird come closer to room temperature, which will aid in the smoking process.
- Pat the bird dry and rub it all over with the olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt, place turkey in the smoker, and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. You're looking for a final temperature of 165F°. Use the wood chips of your choice—my favorite it hickory.
- Allow the bird to smoke for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, whisk together the chicken broth, honey, and apple cider vinegar.
- After a couple of hours, and then every hour or so until the basting liquid is all gone, baste the bird well all over with the honey/vinegar mixture. Refill chips as needed, and otherwise leave it alone.
- Allow the bird to smoke, refilling chips as needed, until the thermometer reaches 165F. Remove the bird from the smoker and allow it to rest for at least half an hour. The resting time is critical—don't skip it or rush it.
- Slice and serve! See? Easy!
Start With a Brined Bird
Brush With a Little Oil
Set the Termometer
Then Leave It Alone!
Reach 165F and Let It Rest
Perfectly Smoked Turkey - Easier Than You Think!
Moist, Juicy, and Delicious
Check out the Quick Tutorial!
How to Brine a Turkey
© 2017 Jan Charles
Rachel Alba on December 28, 2017:
Hi Jan, That turkey looks good enough to eat right off the page. lol There's nothing like a golden brown crispy turkey. Thanks for sharing this method of cooking one.
Blessings to you.