- Various hardwoods used
- Various combinations of woods
- Smoking with one wood and ‘finishing’ with another
- Type of charcoal
- Smoker equipment
- Grade/quality of meats used
- Herbs and spices (that one is a given)
- Brined fresh turkey breasts
- Whatever spices, that I find in my cupboard, to use as a rub
- One of the smoking woods I have stashed in the garage (assuming the mice have not carried it off)
- Exhibit patience.
- Heat smoker to a holding temp of 250°F.
- Buy a better turkey, but a small one. It is better to smoke smaller ones than larger ones.
- Use an grill/oven thermometer. OK, mine came with my “$149 on sale at Tractor Supply” smoker. It isn’t quality, but I am going with it.
- Chimney type charcoal starter.
• Salt (Kosher preferred)
• Paprika (Hungarian much preferred for best flavor)
• Pepper, black (fresh ground!)
• Chili powder
• Garlic, granulate or powder
• Onion powder
• Cayenne pepper
• Poultry seasoning
Prep that Sucker, I Mean Turkey…
- Start with a thoroughly thawed whole turkey/chicken or turkey breast.
- Apply rub under and over skin and inside if you want that extra flavor. Do this at least a few hours to up to 3 days ahead of smoking time. Yea, I don’t have that time now…
- Keep turkey at 40°F or below until ready to smoke it.
While turkey is resting after its obscene rub-down…
- Soak about 3-4 c of dry chips/chunks of fruit wood for 30 minutes or so.
- Fill your pan in the smoke chamber with water (within an inch of top). I would use one of those throw-away aluminum pans so as to not ruin a good baking pan.
- Fire up your charcoal, but do not use petroleum based starter because it will cause a nasty taste in the meats.
- I am supposed to leave the upper vent wide open and use only the lower vents for controlling heat. We will see how that works out.
- Directly on the rack
- On a baking sheet
Avoid placing IN a roasting pan as that has a tendency to steam the meat. You can place a pan underneath to catch the juices for making gravy later. Add a cup or 2 of water to that puppy.
- Resist the urge to peek inside over and over. This will cause the temp to fluctuate too much for a bird.
- Allow 20-30 minutes per pound of bird for this recipe.
- Use the meat thermometer to check temp. Thigh internal temp should read 165°F and the breast internal temperature should read 170°F.
- Let that bird rest for 15-20 minutes after its smoky spa treatment before carving up and serving.
Why am I writing all this down? So I can commit as much to memory as possible before hitting it!