Smoking Your Turkey

News & Tips: Smoking Your Turkey

SmokingYourTurkey TCblogAll right — you've got your turkey. Now what? There are a million options. I just made a batch of turkey jerky the other day. That's a great option but let's talk about how to smoke your turkey.

A wild turkey will be a lot leaner than a domestic turkey that you buy in the store. That means that you'll have to cook it a little differently than one you buy in a store so it doesn't dry out. As a general rule you need to cook all wild game a little slower than domestic meat. Fat helps keep meat juicy so it doesn't dry out as fast and wild game has less fat than domestic meat.

Smoking your turkey is so simple that you won't believe it. I smoke mine for three hours on low heat. Then I'll put it in a turkey roaster (the black metal ones like your mom uses at Thanksgiving). I'll sprinkle it with my favorite seasoning salt. In the past I used Lowry's but now my most favorite is Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning.

I'm a big believer that you need to cook your meat with the spices. I think they cook in and give it a better flavor than if you apply them at the end. BUT, don't over salt. You can always apply more later.

To keep your turkey moist while cooking add 2-3 cups of water in the pan and then slide it into the oven set at 190 degrees. If you wake up in the middle of the night, go check on it. If it's low on water, add a couple of more cups. If it dries out, it's ruined. Don't let it dry out.

When it falls apart with a fork, it's done. If it's not done when you wake up then turn up the heat to 300. It won't take but about 30 minutes to finish it off since it has been in the oven all night.

I like to smoke mine on a Friday night. That way if I wake up and it's not done then I have time to mess with it. All of my oven temps have varied slightly so you may find yours to be best set at 190 or maybe even up to 220. Experiment and see but it's best to start slightly lower.

This is a super simple method, but it's great. I got it from a girl that I worked with over 30 years ago. Her folks raised turkeys and she wanted me to smoke one for her. I'd never done one and she told me how to do it. I could not believe how well it turned out. I've done them like this ever since.

If you want a heavier smoke you can hit it for four or five hours instead of three. I smoke on a very low heat. I'm not really wanting to perform any of the cooking when I'm smoking. I'm just wanting to add smoke. To make it more moist lay strips of bacon on the breast. This will add a little flavor and help keep it moist. Happy eating!