The turkey is a big, domesticated bird, native to North America. Turkey is distinguished by its white plumage and a bare wattled neck and head. The name turkey was first applied to the guinea fowl that was thought to have originated in Turkey. However, the American turkey is a quite different species from the guinea fowl, though the name remained.
Smoked Turkey is a popular delicacy in North America. It is generally made for large parties, especially Thanksgiving. Buying a Smoked Turkey can be very expensive. Smoked Turkey can, however, be also made at home. It is a very easy and economical way to enjoy Smoked Turkey.
For making a Smoked Turkey, you need a water smoker. Water smokers can be electric, gas or charcoal based. Another alternative to a water smoker is the indirect smoking method over the grill. Different kinds of woods can also be used, including: mesquite or hickory, chunks of water-soaked hardwood, or fruitwood. When the wood is added, place a lid on the smoker till the temperature reaches 250 to 300 degrees F. The temperature can be checked using an oven thermometer if the smoker doesn’t have a built-in thermometer.
Almost all parts of the turkey, including the breasts, drumsticks and wings, can be smoked. However, whole turkeys can be smoked provided they are lesser than 12 lbs in weight.
A turkey should not be stuffed before smoking. There is also no need to add any special seasoning. All that is required is salt, pepper and a little poultry seasoning. You can also add some wine or juices instead of water for smoking. The turkey can also be brined before smoking. The brining solution usually consists of water, salt, spices and a little sugar. However, the turkey should be brined for at least 24 hours before smoking.
Once the required temperature is reached, place the turkey inside and replace the lid. Smoking time depends on the size of the turkey as well as the temperature of the coals, distance of the smoker from the heat and the external temperature. A meat thermometer can be used to check whether the turkey is cooked or not. The temperature of the inner thigh should reach 180 degrees F. The turkey should also look pink and “cooked”. There should not be any rawness to it. It should also be moist and tender to taste, not chewy.
There are some guidelines for getting a perfectly Smoked Turkey: ensure that there is no wind, as this could put out the fire; don’t open the smoker’s door too many times or for too long; smaller birds less than 15 lbs are better since larger ones take too long to smoke; thaw a frozen turkey thoroughly before smoking it; ensure that the temperature is at least 160 degrees, to destroy any bacteria effectively.