Updated: Jan 8
Smoked BBQ Turkey
This was the first turkey we had ever smoked and I was a bit apprehensive trying a new recipe for Thanksgiving so we tested it out the weekend before. I always had in my mind that smoked turkey was dry, and to me there is not much worse in the culinary world than dry turkey. Let me tell you this recipe is fantastic and we have worked out all of the kinks. Give it a try with confidence this Thanksgiving or any other time you need to smoke a turkey! It is so simple you will be thanking yourself later.
If you had a rough turkey season (like me) and did not get to harvest one, feel free to grab one from the store. That being said, trust me when I say this recipe is phenomenal with a wild turkey though. We will also be making a fantastic gravy to go with your turkey.
You will need: Turkey Gravy:
A smoker- Any kind (we use a Masterbuilt) 4 Tbs. of butter
Wood Chips for smoking (We used apple) 2 Tbs. Flour
1 Drip Pan 1 tsp Cornstarch
1 Turkey- ours was 16lbs Drippings from turkey
2 sticks of butter
1 can of chicken stock
1 Meat Injector
Your favorite BBQ rub
DIY BBQ Rub:
The entire process is incredibly simple, which I love. Smoking is almost foolproof and gives the turkey so much delicious flavor.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your turkey is thawed and take out all the giblets and neck in the cavity if you have a store bought turkey. Put these aside for later and check our other recipes for an easy turkey stock recipe.
Pat your turkey dry with paper towels and then with your hands rub about half a stick of room temperature butter between the skin and the meat. Be careful when separating the skin from the meat as you do not want to tear it. Rub and spread the butter under the skin covering as much of the bird as possible.
Next you will add your dry rub. You can either use your favorite premade BBQ rub or make your own. Melt some butter (Or use cooking spray) and lightly brush it on the outside of the bird before adding your rub, this will help it stick during the smoking process a little better.
Liberally apply your rub and once you have the bird covered you can now inject. With the leftover melted butter, inject your bird, being sure to get the breasts and legs. This step made a huge difference in avoiding a dry turkey. Truss the legs with butchers twine and you're ready to smoke.
Next, get your smoker set up. Like I said before we decided to use apple chips because turkey takes on so much flavor when smoked, we thought a hickory or pecan would be too strong. Typically you'd want to smoke your bird at 300 degrees, 15 minutes per lb of weight. Our smoker only goes up to 275 degrees but works just fine.
Ours ended up taking about 4 hours in length. This is a much faster smoke than many BBQ purists will attempt, personally I just don’t plan on waiting 8 hours. If you do want to go the slow route drop your temp to about 225 degrees and for time, take about a half hour per lb of weight.
Once the bird is in the smoker, insert your meat thermometer. To the drip pan under the bird add 1 can of chicken broth and close it up. At the first hour mark add a beer to the drip pan and baste your turkey.
For the remainder of the time you will baste your turkey with the liquid in the drip pan every hour until finished. That's it, it’s that simple. Pull your turkey off when it reaches a temp of 163 degrees and let it come up to temp on the counter.
While your turkey is coming up to temp, let's make a gravy.
In a pan heat up 4 Tbs of butter, once melted add 2 Tbs of four and 1 tsp of cornstarch. Brown your roux while constantly stirring with a whisk so it does not curdle.
Once a golden brown add your turkey drippings and continue stirring until it reaches your desired consistency. Your gravy is then ready to go.
Carve up your turkey and enjoy! Let us know what you think, we are always trying new things in the kitchen and would love the feed back. Happy Thanksgiving from the HLE Crew!