Smoked Turkey – Not Just For Thanksgiving

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Ingredients:

12-14 lb. turkey
olive oil, Worcestershire, Cholula
seasoning (Roscoe recommends Montreal Steak seasoning)
brown sugar, pineapple juice, Cholula
BBQ sauce (optional)
Smoker (wood chips of your choice)

Turkeys Must Hate Thanksgiving

For obvious reasons. Or maybe not. Maybe they look forward to it like a little kid looking forward to his birthday, can’t wait for all that attention on his special day. But then someone chops off his head, and there goes the party. So let’s think less about chopping off heads, and more about having turkey all year long. Now the only thing left is to cook it.

To Brine or Not To Brine, That Is The Question

Okay, let’s face it, some swear by the brine, and some (like our mothers and grandmothers for decades worth of Thanksgiving dinners that we’ve all loved), have never brined anything except maybe Grandpa’s work clothes (before they invented washers and dryers). We’ve cooked a lot of turkeys here in the CookinWithRoscoe test kitchen, and the results are in: IT DOESN’T MATTER.

Two Things Matter: The Bird…

Again, there are variables: some only get a fresh turkey, while others defrost their frozen bird every year. And you know what? Sometimes you get a great turkey dinner with either one, and sometimes either one can turn out to be… A Big Dead Dry Bird. Why? Well, sometimes the bird doesn’t want to cooperate. Maybe it’s mad that someone chopped its head off and defeathered it and froze it and it wants to make us suffer so all that turkey anger makes it tough and dry. Who knows? It’s something we can’t really control. But there is one thing we can control…

The Temp

Sure, we all know about those little red pop-up thingies that stick out of the turkey, and are supposed to tell us when it’s done. Okay, really? Do you really want to trust your Thanksgiving Dinner to a red pop-up thingy? Probably not. So get a good digital thermometer, and WHEN IT SAYS 165, PULL THE BIRD OUT!

Now We Come To Method

There are lots of ways to cook a turkey. Ovens are the preferred method for most. Some like to have some fun (while hoping their Home Owners Insurance is payed up) with the deep fried turkey. Just remember: deep dryers don’t come with fire extinguishers, so don’t forget to have one handy.

We Like To Smoke It

Smoked turkeys are really popular now, and for good reason: they taste good. You get that good smoke flavor that seems to go with everything else you’re serving, and let’s face it, it’s fun.

So If You’ve Got a Smoker…

Just prep your bird the same way you’d do it for the oven. Roscoe’s Method: Mix olive oil, Worcestershire and Cholula, rub it all over and inside the bird, even under the skin if you want to, then sprinkle with Montreal Steak seasoning. Or try this: Cut up five strips of bacon, put in blender or food processor with 1 stick of butter, herbs and seasoning, pulse to a fine paste, rub all over the turkey. Then, pop it in at about 230 degrees, close it up, and come back about 4 hours later. Roscoe’s Note: You can drink a lot of beer in four hours, so don’t forget to stock up, you don’t want to run out just when the bird comes to temp, and find yourself at the local party store instead.

Let It Rest

You pulled it out when the temp hit 165. Now you’ve gotta let that bird rest, after all, it’s been working hard in that smoker while you were drinking beer. Twenty minutes or so (tented in foil), and you should be ready.

To Pull, Or Not To Pull

Smoked turkeys can be served a couple of ways. Either carve it up like a regular turkey dinner, or pull it. Like pulled pork. Just yank it off the bone (once it cools, of course), and shred it up with your hands or a couple of forks, then drizzle a mixture of brown sugar, pineapple juice, and Cholula all over to keep it moist, and either serve it just like that, or add your favorite BBQ sauce to it. Serve on sandwiches or tortillas, for the greatest pulled turkey tacos you’ve ever had. Add pickled cucumbers or avocado for even greater tacos, and now you’re…

Cookin With Roscoe

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