Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Smoking a Turkey on the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM)

I usually deep fry our Thanksgiving turkey, but a few years ago I decided to learn some new tricks. The goal was to smoke the bird low and slow at 250 degrees or less and prevent it from drying out to compete with the moist and tender deep fried birds we've been eating for the past several years.

I started out at Publix and purchased a Fresh Not Frozen turkey.

Next stop...Ace Hardware for some Cherry Smoking Chips.

The turkey was injected the night before smoking with Shake's Honey Brine and refrigerated.

I started by making a "smoking pouch" for the chips and placed them on the charcoal resulting in instantaneous smoke. Tip: Soaking them in water overnight will help them burn a little slower and the smoke will last longer.

Another tip: If you have access to cherry wood "chunks", you'll achieve more smoke flavor. I had to settle for the cherry wood "chips" this time.
After reading a few of the posts at The BBQ Bretheren, I decided to drape some bacon on the bird for a little insurance, but I was hopeful to avoid a turkey that tastes like bacon. Tip: If I do this again, I'll start the cooking process without the bacon, which will help achieve golden brown skin on the bird. Bacon is effective, but could be added after the turkey has been cooking for a couple of hours.

I started the water pan with a 1/2 gallon of apple juice mixed with a 1/2 gallon of water. I stuffed the turkey cavity with five or six apple halves and smoked the bird on my WSM at temperatures hovering consistently between 240 - 250 degrees. I pulled the turkey off the smoker when the temperature in the breast reached 170 degrees. I've read a lot of "guides" recommending cooking the birds to 180 degrees as measured in the inner thigh as well.

After looking back through my pictures tonight, I noticed that I failed to take a picture of the finished product.

My smoked first smoked turkey was a semi-success. I achieved tender and moist white meat, but the bbq turkey was not quite as satisfying for me as the deep fried turkeys I'm more accustomed to.

Will I do it again? Definitely yes. I love a bbq challenge.


Chris said...

Wouldn't you know that my 40 lbs of cherry chunks are too green still? They are going to have to season until spring.

Oh well, until then, I'll keep buying chips.

What were your thoughts on the flavor the injection added?

The BBQ Guy said...

I've been injecting with Shake's Honey Brine for about 6 years for all our deep fried turkeys. I think it enhances the true flavor of the turkey and helps maintain a little more moisture.

As for the commercial injections, I've only used them a few times a long time ago and don't remember much about them, but I think injecting is better overall than not injecting (if that helps).

Alyssa Ast said...

I prefer smoked turkey to any other method. These are some really great tips! said...

I tried water soaked dry herbs (rosemay and sage)to smoak first few minute, followed my pear wood and placing compound butter with my herb rub under the skin of bird. It was a big hit. Let me know if i can be of any help by vising my blog "cookwithharry".