Smoking a turkey is one of the best ways to make a truly amazing meal. The best part is that's it's pretty simple to smoke a turkey on a Smokey Mountain Cooker.
PREPARING THE TURKEY
- Pick out a great turkey and plan ahead. If you buy a frozen turkey, it will take about one day for every five pounds to safely defrost in your refrigerator. Leave the bird in its original package and place a drip pan under the bird so it doesn’t leak onto something else. Never defrost at room temperature. When trying to figure out how much turkey you should have for your guests, we suggest one pound per person. If you have big eaters, or want some leftovers figure a pound and a half per person.
- Make sure the turkey will fit your grill.
- Brining is a great way to add weight and moisture.
- Add extra flavor to your turkey!
- Truss the turkey
- Cover the top of the turkey with a cheesecloth. You will leave this on for the first 2-3 hours.
PREPARING THE SMOKER
Take the smoker apart into 3 sections. Place a chimney starter on the middle section of the smoker.
Fill the chimney starter ¾ of the way with Weber Briquettes, light it, and wait until the coals on top are ashed over.
Place 6 wood chunks (4 cherry and 2 hickory) in an X shape on the bottom charcoal grate.
Fill the bottom ring of the smoker about halfway up to the first circle with unlit briquettes; this will be equivalent to one chimney starter.
Dump the lit briquettes on top of the unlit ones, and let it kindle for 5-10 minutes. Put the smoker back together and place about 2-3 liters of water in the water pan. Set the bottom vents to about a quarter of the way open and keep the lid vent halfway open.
Preheat for 10-15 minutes until the smoker stabilizes at your desired temperature. Use an iGrill to monitor the temperature while you smoke.
If it is going to be cold where you live, the turkey will take about 3 extra minutes per pound to cook.
Keep the bottom vents set at about a quarter to halfway open and start with the top vent halfway open. Control the temperature throughout the process by turning the top vent to being more open to get the temperature higher or closing it a little to cool it down.
Check the temperature of the turkey halfway through the cook, three quarters of the way and then when you think it is done to make sure that you are on the right track to hit an internal temperature of 165 F. This will help you monitor the turkey and make sure it is not over cooked!
The more you open the lid, the longer it will take to cook, so be patient and keep the lid closed.
WHEN IS IT DONE?
Keep in the mind that the turkey could cook a little quicker than you expect so be sure to have checked it halfway, three quarters of the way and then when you think it is done.
If you are grilling a turkey for the first time and getting nervous, don't be afraid to check the turkey a bit more often, but try and keep that lid closed as much as possible. Every time you open the lid you're adding to the overall cooking time of the turkey.
Check the temperature of the turkey on the innermost part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast to make sure that it is fully cooked at 165 degrees before removing it.
This step is important! Let it rest for 20-30% of the total cooking time. You can loosely cover the turkey with a piece of aluminum foil while it is resting or you can just leave it uncovered.