I'm firing up the Big Green Egg to show you how I do a smoked turkey just in time for Thanksgiving. I've been smoking our Thanksgiving bird for many years and it always gets rave reviews.
Smoked Turkey Recipe
Smoked Turkey submerged in brine for 24 hours and seasoned with AP Killer Hogs and Creole Seasoning.
2 gallons water
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup creole seasoning* (recipe below)
fresh herb bundle of sage, rosemary, and thyme
2 lemons halved
2 bay leaves
4-5 garlic cloves smashed
1 teaspoon whole black pepper corns
2 small onions quartered
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 teaspoon granulated garlic
4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
Smoked Turkey Brine
Smoked Turkey Creole Seasoning
Let frozen turkey thaw in refrigerator for at least 3-4 days. Once thawed, place the turkey in the sink and remove it from the packaging. Normally, these turkeys are packed with the neck and a bag containing giblets, remove these and rinse the bird with cool water.
Then soak the turkey in a brine (see recipe above) for 24 hours. I recommend using a container large enough to hold the turkey and 2 gallons of brine. The turkey should be completely submerged in the brine. It’s easier to do this in a cooler just incase something spills. Pack ice along sides of the turkey and occasionally check on it during the 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove the turkey from the brine and place in the sink to drain. Pat the skin with a paper towel.
Now it’s time to season the outside of the smoked turkey. First, spray the skin with cooking spray (vegetable or canola). This helps the seasonings stick and Kees it from turning dark during the cooking process. I use two seasoning blends on the skin. First, my AP Killer Hogs Seasoning then the Creole Seasoning (recipe aloe). Layer both of these seasons on all sides of the turkey.
For stuffing the cavity, I use a few stalks of celery, onion, and apple. You can use whatever you like here but skip the stuffing. We cook dressing in the south and not inside the bird. The vegetables and fruits add extra mass to the turkey with helps it cook evenly.
The next step is to inject the turkey for added moisture and flavor. I’m a big fan of Butcher’s line of injections, and David’s Bird Booster products are excellent with turkey, I use 1/4 cup of Bird Booster Honey mixed with 2 cups of water. Inject the breast, legs, and thighs, speaking the needle out about 1 inch for every stick.
The turkey is ready for the Big Green Egg at this point, so fire up the smoker and bring the temperature up to 300 degrees, You can duplicate this procedure on any cooker just hold your temps in the 275-300 range. Higher temps are needed for the skin to turn out perfect. Smoked Turkey really absorbs smoke flavor and there’s nothing worse than over smoked meat, so take it easy with the wood. I use a couple small chinks of pecan and hickory and that’s all.
You only need about 2 hours of smoke; any more will overpower the turkey and will eventually build up on the skin, giving it a dark color. Place the turkey on the smoker and close the lid. It’s going to take about 3-4 hours to hit the target temperatures of 165 in the breast and 175 in the thighs. Every 45 minutes to 1 hour spray the skin with cooking spray for moisture. This is also the biggest aid in keeping the skin a nice golden color.
At the two hour mark, it’s time to monitor those internal temperatures of the Smoked Turkey. I use a Thermoworks DOT prove thermometer to place in the thickest part of the breast. Then set the thermometer for 165 and keep a close eye on the temperatures. After 3 hours, the smoked turkey should be getting close, and I always double check internals with a hand help Thermapen. The internal should read 175 in the thickest part of the thigh and the juice should run clear when you remove the probe. Get the smoked turkey off the smoker when you see these temps and let it least inside for a minimum of 15 minutes. It doesn’t hurt to cover it loosely with aluminum foil and rest it in a dry cooler until ready to serve.
The smoked turkey will stay piping hot for 3-4 hours in a dry cooler. This is also a great method to transport the turkey to your dinner even if its a couple hours away. This Thanksgiving, skip roasting that turkey in the oven and forget about messing with all that hot oil; fire up your smoker and get ready to feast on the best Thanksgiving Turkey your email has ever tried!