Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about the turkey. Gobble gobble! This smoked turkey has all the classic thanksgiving flavors and more. Tender and juicy, this bird will be the show piece everyone will remember but more importantly devour. The ingredients list is small, the steps are easy and the results are delicious! It’s a triple win.
Turkey Grilling Tips:
- Brine overnight. This process helps the meat stay juicy during long cook times.
- Grill to an internal temp of 160 degrees. This will ensure tender and juicy meat.
- Grilling at a higher temp ensures a better bite through on the skin.
Step 1: Don’t forget to defrost the turkey.
When it comes to Thanksgiving turkey, there are many options. You can get fresh, frozen, free range, organic, and probably a whole lot of other types. Depending on the size of your crowd, don’t get too big of a turkey. 10 lb turkey can easily feed a group of 8-10 people. The larger the bird, the longer the cook.
If you get a frozen turkey, be sure to put it in your refrigerator 4-5 days before your cook day. You want to give it plenty of time to defrost. The defrost time will of course vary based on the weight of the turkey so be sure to take that into account.
After the turkey is defrosted, remove all the giblets from the inside cavity and pat it dry. The bird is now ready for prep
Step 2: Prepare the overnight brine
Soaking turkey meat in a brine for 12-24 hours is a must. It’s the secret to having tender juicy meat. Turkey is known to be a drier meat. But if cooked properly, you could have a winning dish.
The brine is simple, pour 1 gallon of water in a deep dish. Add half a cup of kosher salt and another half a cup of brown sugar. Whisk the ingredients together until they dissolve in the water. For this recipe, I also like to add freshly squeezed citrus juice and herbs. It’s just another great way to add additional flavor to the meat ensuring a flavorful and tender dish. Squeeze out the juice of a lemon, lime and orange into the water based brine. Throw in the left over skin peals. Add a sprig of rosemary and thyme and a tbsp of peppercorns. Mix it all together and slowly place the unfrozen turkey into the brine. Close shut and store overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 3: Season the turkey
The next day, after the turkey has been brining for at least 12 hours, remove it from the mixture and rinse it with water. The reason for the rinse is to remove any access salt that is on the outside of the turkey. If you don’t, you run the risk of it being too salty, especially once you season it.
Make sure to pat the turkey dry including under the skin as well. You do not want any moisture on the outside which will cause the skin to be tough instead of crispy.
To get started, spray some cooking oil on the entire turkey, especially on the breast. Coat the entire turkey with Dad’s Steak Seasoning first, which has garlic, herb and buttery notes. Then add Dad’s All Purpose rub for the salty and peppery flavor. Season generously. The turkey is a large piece of meat and can handle a lot of seasoning. The worst thing you can have aside from a dry turkey is a bland turkey. Place the seasoned turkey on a roasting rack breast side up.
Step 4: Stuffing for flavor.
Next is the stuffing. I like to stuff my turkey with fresh seasonal veggies and more citrus fruits to help give it more flavor as it evaporates into the meat. This is not for eating, just flavor. Cut up a white onion, celery, carrots, lemon, lime and orange. Place them inside the cavity without overstuffing the bird. Also add garlic cloves and more rosemary and thyme. Place any left overs on the wire rack around the turkey.
Step 5: How to smoke a turkey
Preheat the grill to 350 degrees and set it for indirect heat. Cook until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160 degrees, approximately 2-3 hours depending on size of the turkey. To help monitor the internal temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the alarm for 160 degrees. I like using the Thermoworks Smoke temperature alarm. If the outside starts to get too dark, cover with aluminum foil.
Don’t peak while the turkey is cooking! Let the grill do the work. There’s no need to baste either. Trust the grill to do its magic.
After the smoked turkey is done, pull it from the grill and tent it loosely with foil. Let it rest for 15 minutes to help redistribute the juices throughout the bird!
Printer friendly recipe is below.
- 10 lbs Turkey
- 1 gal Water
- 1/2 cup Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup Brown sugar
- 1 Orange
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Lime
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- 1 sprig Thyme
- 1 tbsp Peppercorns
Seasoning & Stuffing
- 4 Garlic cloves
- 1 Orange
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Large carrot
- 1 Lime
- 1/2 White onion
- 2 sticks Celary
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- 1 sprig Thyme
- 3 tbsp Dad's Steak seasoning
- 3 tbsp Dad's all purpose rub
Turkey Prep Instructions
- Defrost the turkey in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- Pour 1 gallon of water in a deep dish. Add kosher salt and brown sugar. Whisk the ingredients together until they dissolve in the water. Squeeze out the juice of 1 lemon, lime and orange into the water based brine. Throw in the left over skin peals. Add a sprig of rosemary and thyme and a tbsp of peppercorns. Mix it all together and slowly place the unfrozen turkey into the brine. Close shut and store overnight in the refrigerator.
Season and Stuffing Instructions
- Remove the brined turkey from the mixture and rinse it with water.
- Make sure to pat the turkey dry including under the skin as well.
- Spray some cooking oil on the entire turkey.
- Cut up a white onion, celery, carrots, lemon, lime and orange. Place the veggies and fruit inside the cavity without overstuffing the bird. Also add garlic cloves and more rosemary and thyme. Of any left over slices, place the on the wire rack around the turkey.
Smoking Turkey Instructions
- Preheat the grill to 350 degrees and set it for indirect heat.
- Cook until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160 degrees, approximately 2-3 hours depending on size of the turkey.
- Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Check out the Recipes page for other tasty ideas.