Thanksgiving means eating a ton of great food (Turkey!), and regretting it the next day. This year, instead of brining a turkey, I smoked a turkey and oh my Lord it was good!! I do not regret eating it at all!!!!
Here’s the whole story!
I really wanted a smoker. I shopped around, and found one I could afford on sale at Lowe’s near my house. It was the kind with a big grilling area and and a little baby grilling area hooked on the side. I made sure it was the grill I thought, and bought it.
Before leaving the store, I said, “how does that big grill fit in this tiny box?” The clerk told me I was only buying part of the grill that was clearly pictured in the flyer, assembled in the store with the sales price proudly on it, and even the one I had asked if that was for everything I saw. Say it with me, “bait and switch”. Yep, it didn’t even make it to my car. I got my money back even though they offered to see if I could get the other part at a bit of a discount. No! You try to fool me, and I keep my money in my purse…forever.
I salved my anguish by looking at Amazon. Sure enough, there was a smaller 2 barrel smoker grill (a big barrel part and a little barrel part hooked to the side) that I could afford. I read the reviews. Most people were whining about the size not being huge, and how the steel will rust, and how it isn’t super thick. One man left a review I loved!
He told all the whiners if you aren’t from west Texas you don’t know bbq and smoking, so shut-up. I liked him immediately. He said it was a good value for the money, so get a can of grill paint and a tarp. It was $100, not $1500, so get over it. He even talked about the ashes it would leave, and how if you leave the name plate off it will get even more air circulation. Well, before things hit the point of no return, I had to buy the grill and disengage from this sweet talking man.
$100 and free delivery, and I love my smoker grill! It even has a built in thermometer.
DO NOT use anything with chemicals. NO!! Use just charcoal briquettes that don’t light themselves, and don’t use any lighter fluid. Get a chimney coal starter and some paper. They are all over. Try Walmart and Amazon, don’t try Lowe’s. I also have used the wood chips from Home Depot – any flavor that sounds good to you will be good. I bought a bag of pelletized cherry, maple, and hickory wood from Costco to use from now on.
I found the directions of what to do with the chips vague. It said to soak “2 handfuls” of chips in water from 15 minutes. “2 handfuls”??? Whose hands?
Just soak about 4 cups of chips at a time. If you need more, soak more as you need more.
Smoking The Turkey:
When the coals are ready, that means red and white all the way up the chimney, put them in the little part of the smoker grill. Make sure the side vent is open about 1/2 an inch. Close the little part of the grill.
Open the big part and put your FULLY THAWED turkey on the grill as far from the little fire part as you can. If your turkey is big and the top will not close, go cut it in 4 pieces, and do 2 at a time. I put my turkey breast side down to start. If you do 4 pieces, skin down or up won’t matter because you will be flipping it once.
No salt. No pepper. No brining. No spices. The smoke is everything.
Got your bird on, and the top down, so open the little hot part again and toss a few handfuls of the soaked chips on. Open the chimney on the big part about half, and watch the temperature. Ideally, keep it below 200F. You do this by opening the big chimney to make the temperature go up and close it more to make the temperature go down.
When the smoke stops billowing, just open the little part and add some more of the wet chips.
Keep an eye on the smoke and temperature. You don’t get to set it and forget it. For the 4 pieces, flip them after a half hour. Remove after an hour total and put the other 2 on. For a whole bird, after half hour spin it so if the butt was facing to the right, make it face to the left. In another half hour, flip it over, and spin another half hour.
Cooking The Bird:
Your bird is NOT cooked, so don’t eat it yet. Again, I will do this breast side down, cover it will some bacon on what ever you deemed the top (breast or back). Put it in the oven at 275F until it is up the recommended temperature or falling off the bone with the thigh joint and leg joint loose. I cook mine on a wrack with the big drip pan under it on the lower rack.
For quarters, you can cook yours skin side up with bacon on it, skin side down with aluminum over the meat side, lay it on a bed of rice or stuffing meat side down and bacon draping the skin, … you have options galore! Please use a thermometer to get the cooking right.
What You Get:
One thing that surprises a novice smoker, there is a carbon monoxide reaction. This means that beef and pork stay pink, and your bird will be a bit pinker too. Do not trust your eyes to tell you if it is done. Best thing is to use a thermometer. Rare beef might be your thing, but rare turkey??? No.
If you have room, try smoking some frozen corn. Just defrost it and put it in a pan. Don’t cover it, just let the smoke get to it. Stir it when you turn your bird. Or even smoke some salt or pepper. Hey, y’all good is good, and smoking foods is good!