Young and Hungry

How Did You Prepare Your Thanksgiving Turkey?

There must be a 1,001 ways to prepare a turkey these days, and I suspect that I picked the hardest one yesterday: I smoked a bird.

Let me tell you: Using a large, off-set barrel smoker to cook a 15-pound bird is no easy task. Not even with my friend and smoke mentor, Jim Shahin, available via cell phone. The turkey's skin burns and cracks easily. The heat does not circulate around the turkey like with a bird on a rack in a convection oven. And you have to babysit that bird almost every minute, lest the side closest to the heat source resemble a used match.

Despite all my best coddling efforts, I still had to finish that turkey in the oven for about 30 minutes. The flavors and texture turned out well — smoky, gamy, and tender — but I still need to figure out the best way to tame this bird in a barrel smoker.

How did your Thanksgiving bird turn out?

  • Little Lady Cook

    We did our first 20lbs turkey (sistern-in-law) & I.

    We actually used the exact same recipe by Alton Brown, just because I was told it works perfectly.

    Indeed this Turkey was really really moist, it was difficult with the whole brining since we didn't have a huge container and we ended up buying one disposable roasting pan plus using a clean trash bag to brine the turkey for almost 20 hours...

    Roasting it was fun.. the thing i forgot was to check out the cutting and I left my tools at home so when I went to slice the bird everyone was staring because it looked as if i was killing the huge Turkey, yet again.

    We need to improve our Gravy sauce recipe though....

    Happy Thanksgiving Tim!

  • Veteren TGiving Cook

    Hands down, the best turkey recipe I've ever used... super easy, super fast, and easily the tastiest/moistest meat ever.

  • Drez

    I've smoke my turkeys on my Webber kettle. I brine them first (salt, no sugar), and generally put a seasoning rub (mixed with some fat, like bacon, to make a paste) between the skin and the meat. Usually I stuff the cavity with aromatics (quartered oranges, bay leaves, thyme, quartered onion, garlic, etc) before trussing it. This year I was pressed for time and so spatchcocked it. Natural charcoal + hickory chunks. Keep the temp between 300-350F. Low and slow. Raise the temp at the end to crisp the skin, and if you want add a glaze in the last half hour.

  • Tom M

    Like a boss.

  • Eric

    Never use trash bags for brining. They are not food safe, nasty chemicals could leech into your food. Your best option is to use a large ice chest or a oven roasting bag. They even sell brining bags but they're a little hard to find.

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  • Don

    We did an 11 lb and 15 lb bird for this year's keep the skin from drying up and the inside moist, set oven at 325 and placed 3 strips of bacon on the both sides of the breast and down the middle. By the time the bacon is done, the bird is close to ready and can be added to the stuffing as well!

  • Mike Licht

    If it ain't fried, it ain't food.