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2 Big Tips for Turkey Cooking!

Posted by Dennis Heskett on

As with many folks, we smoke our bird outside every year. Since we are avid meat and cheese smokers all year long, we have made a bunch of errors over the years. We now get it right every time!  We use charcoal and fruit wood. I suggest never using heavy smoke wood on poultry like hickory. You can use just wood, propane, pellets or an electric smoker.


Even if you still cook inside, the 1st BIG tip is BRINE your bird from 8-24 hours ahead.(Thaw it in the refrigerator first). The brine I use is Kosher salt, apple juice and a few spices. Do not use regular table salt.


This one step will ensure your Turkey is moist when you carve it. You can use a large cooler to accomplish this. Be sure to use plenty of ice so your bird stays cool.


Also, if you decide to smoke, the process is low heat 235 - 250 so you cannot stuff your bird as it will not cook properly. I usually cut up an apple and place inside. Use a water pan if your smoker has one or you can use just any pan with water to keep the smoker moist. After you pull the bird from the brine, pat it dry. You can now add a rub of your liking if you wish. (I highly recommend this )Adhere it with mustard. You will not taste it after cooking. (Dry brining is preferred by many as well, but I have not done it enough to recommend it)


The 2nd BIG tip is do not rely on the pop up thermometer that is in your Turkey. It is almost always wrong and you will overcook your bird! You need to cook to 165 degrees, no more no less. Some people allow the bird to rest to redistribute the juices. It will also continue to cook during this time so if you pull it off at more than 165 by the time you carve and serve the result will likely not be what you are going after. An electronic food thermometer is what I use for this. You can also use a candy one if you have to, but I really rely on my quick read!


There are obviously many ways to do a Turkey on a smoker and a quick search will give you hundreds of options. In my opinion, no matter which one you select, these 2 tips are the most important for success. 

Thanks for reading, being a customer/friend and have a Great Holiday! 

PS: If you want to give the best grilling accessory this Holiday season, we sell fully engraved with your chosen wording the USA made Billy Bar. Cleans grates, move charcoal baskets and tons more. No bristles to get in your food! At $20 (local pickup) it is a great stocking stuffer. Email me if you want one! If you want it shipped, buy it here at the store.



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