Tips and Tricks for Cooking Smoked Turkey

Cooking smoked turkey is a delicious and different way to enjoy your turkey on Thanksgiving or Christmas. To get started, you will need to purchase a smoker. There are charcoal smokers, electric smokers, gas smokers, and water smokers.

Water smokers keep your turkey moist even if you accidentally leave it there for 30 minutes longer than you should have. You will also need to have plenty of charcoal because it takes over 10 pounds of charcoal to cook a 10-14 pound turkey.

When cooking smoked turkey, make sure not to choose the biggest bird you find. Think 14 pounds max. The bigger the bird, the longer it will take to smoke. For example, a 12 pound bird takes 8 hours to smoke and that is a pretty long time.

Your first step in cooking smoked turkey will be to set up the smoker according to the manufacturer’s directions and toss the bird on there. If you use a charcoal burner, the best thing to do is wait until the flames go out then fill it with water and put the lid on. When the temperature reaches the safe zone, you can stick the turkey in the smoker and put the lid on again. You should start the timer once the temperature reaches the safe zone.

The cooking temperature of your smoker should be 160F at the very least because turkeys are sometimes contaminated with salmonella poisoning. The inside of the turkey has to cook at this temperature because that is where the bacteria are. This is also why it’s easier if you choose a smaller bird to smoke.

Does Charcoal Make a Difference?

You are probably going to want to follow a turkey cooking guide to ensure that you are cooking smoked turkey correctly if it is your first time. However even the most detailed guide can leave out some essential information, such as the quality of the charcoal you use. It may be tempting to use the cheapest charcoal you can find but in the end you will probably end up spending just as much if not more money by using cheap charcoal because you will have to add it more often.

Add hickory chips or mesquite chips to the charcoal if you want to flavor the bird when cooking smoked turkey. Each time you open the lid of your smoker to check your bird, keep in mind that it will add 10 to 15 minutes of extra cooking time so be careful. It is a good idea to check the condition of the bird about 5 hours into cooking it though. Check to see if the turkey is pink or has a raw look to it. It should look cooked and be moist.

So there you have it. Follow these simple tips and tricks if you want to simplify the process of cooking smoked turkey. If you are tired of the same old turkey every year, why not try smoking it for a new depth of flavor you and your family have not experienced before? Smoking your turkey can add an interesting twist to your favorite holiday bird.