STEP TWO: Set up the smoker and toss on the bird. When using charcoal, it is best to let the flames burn out first, fill the water pan with water (seasoned water is fine too), then place the lid on the smoker and wait for the temperature to reach the safe zone on your smoker. Once that is accomplished, toss the turkey on there gently and cover the smoker. Start timing the turkey when the temperature returns to the save zone.
Safety Reminder: Remember chickens and turkeys are prone to salmonella bacteria
which can ruin your whole Thanksgiving. Cooking temperatures of 165 degrees F. minimum are essential for destroying this bacteria. This temperature is not the OUTSIDE of
the turkey, but the inside, so keep that in mind when you decide on a larger bird. This of course is unless you happen to be feeding the traditional army at Thanksgiving.
Smoking a turkey is no different from barbecuing in your back yard. You follow all these rules without even noticing them in most cases so go ahead, give it a try, you will not be dissatisfied when you try a smoked turkey.
Now for those of you who have electric smokers and gas smokers, I am not sure of cooking times, so follow your instructions that you have with your smoker. I am certain they take less time and might be as good as a charcoal smoked turkey, but you would have to prove that to me before I would ever switch.
After about 5 hours, it is a good idea to actually take off the lid and check the condition of the turkey. Each time you remove the lid for those of you who are lookie loos, it adds between 10 and 15 minutes to the cook time, so don't take the lid off to see your prize until you absolutely have to.
Nice article! I religiously smoke a Turkey, Ham, and Sausage each Thanksgiving. Thought I'd respond to your statement, "Now for those of you who have electric smokers and gas smokers, I am not sure of cooking times, so follow your instructions that you have with your smoker. I am certain they take less time and might be as good as a charcoal smoked turkey, but you would have to prove that to me before I would ever switch."
I had a charcoal smoker (simple Brinkman) for a few years and it was absolutely the cat's meow. This smoker got damaged and my wife ordered a new one for me - a Brinkman electric version this time. I was sure I would just hate it, but I was completely mistaken!!
This smoker produces the same flavor (using the same liquid blend and
wood) exactly, but smokes in 1/2 the time. I couldn't believe
it, and I'm sure I'll never go back to charcoal now as charcoal just
takes entirely too long, and waiting for cool down and cleaning is a
pain in the butt. So for what it's worth, I've been on both sides of the fence, and won't
jump back over now. -
Thanks Troy (11/25/05)
I have bought and brought home today a fully smoked turkey, done today by a church group as a fund raiser. Should I freeze it or will it keep until Thursday in my 'fridge? It is wrapped well in foil and then in plastic bags. - 11/18/07
Four days is too
long to keep a cooked turkey safely. Three (3) days would be the
maximum. I suggest you cut the turkey, like you would on
thanksgiving, and freeze the slices until ready to use. It is better
to be safe than sorry!
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