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My cousin, Mike Koury, taught me how to smoke turkey about 25 years ago, and I have been doing it ever since. This tastes great! The smell while smoking is guaranteed to drive your neighbors crazy!
- 14 -16 lbs turkey, fresh or thawed completely
- 2 -3 tablespoons lemon & herb seasoning
- garlic granules
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 2 -3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 -6 wood chunks, hickory,applewood,oak,pecan,or other smoking hardwood,soaked in water at least overnight (not chips)
- 10 -15 lbs good quality charcoal (NOT self lighting, and DO NOT use charcoal lighter fluid!)
- This recipe requires a water-smoker such as the Brinkmann"Smoke'n Pit" or the"Cook'N Ca'jun" (http://thebrinkmanncorp. com).
- If you don't own one, buy one.
- They are great.
- The night before the big meal, wash the thawed turkey thoroughly, inside and out, and pat dry.
- Save the neck and innards for making gravy, if desired.
- Season inside and out with lemon-herb seasoning, granulated garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and coat with olive oil.
- Do not stuff the turkey.
- If you want stuffing, use your favorite recipe, and cook it in the oven, out of the bird.
- Refrigerate until ready to start smoking.
- Soak 5-6 fairly large chunks of hardwood in water for as long as possible.
- DO NOT USE CHIPS!
- Set your alarm clock for for about 12 hours before dinner.
- Prepare the smoker as follows.
- Place 10 pounds charcoal in the fire-pan.
- Light the charcoal just barely, but make sure it is enough to keep burning.
- (Use an electric starter, or a butane torch, or place charcoal under your oven broiler just until lit. DO NOT use liquid charcoal lighter unless you want kerosene flavored turkey!) Place 2-3 chunks of wet hardwood on top of the charcoal, place water-pan above fire-pan, and fill with water.
- Place turkey on the rack above water-pan, cover smoker, and go back to bed.
- After about 6 hours, check the smoker.
- Stir up the charcoal and add a little more if necessary.
- Place remaining soaked hardwood chunks on top of charcoal, add more water if necessary, close the smoker, and relax for another 5-6 hours.
- It is almost impossible to overcook the turkey using this method, because it is cooking at a very low temperature.
- It will be juicy and tasty.
- Obviously the smoking should be done outside.
- Smoking indoors can be hazardous to your health.
- If the weather is freezing or below, add about 2-3 hours to the cooking time.
- The turkey is done when the leg can be moved easily.
- Carve immediately before serving.
- Notes: I usually use hickory wood, though pecan or oak are also great.
- You can add aromatic herbs or spices to the water pan if desired, but they will mostly be covered by the smoky taste.
- You can also add beer or wine to the water pan, but again, it is mostly covered by the smoke.
I have been doing this for years myself. Three suggestions: 1. Get an electric smoker, also by Brinkmann. Saves trouble with the charcoal. 2. Get a remote digital thermometer, so you don't have to open the smoker and let the heat out. 3. If it is cold outside, place smoker under an upside down garbage can with holes in the bottom to let the smoke out, and raised on low blocks to let the air for the charcoal in.
I do two 15 pound birds at a time in my horizontal Brinkman Pitmaster. I brine them for 12 or more hours first with brown sugar, sea salt, onion, garlic, sometimes maple syrup, and any other herbs I choose. I trade the second bird out for two frozen birds with no trouble to friends and family. I smoke turkeys all year long and freeze the meat in vac packs for sandwiches or tacos, enchiladas, and hot dishes. Apple smoke works well, too. If you've never done this, do it now! Incredible flavor.
Toby, this one is not just a home run, it's a GRAND SLAM! The 8-pound turkey breast smoked all the way through. Took 4 hours in my Brinkman smoker using Kingsford's hickory chip charcoal. Easter dinner 2009 will be topic of culinary conversations for our family for years. - Clif