The smoked turkey of Ingo’s Dad.
- 1 turkey (if fresh, see Brining A Turkey, otherwise basted). No bigger than 14lbs.
- 2 onions, chopped roughly
- 2 carrots, chopped roughly
- 1 celery stalk, chopped roughly
- boiling water
- apple or hickory smoking chips, soaked in water at least 30 mins
- 10-20 lbs charcoal briquettes
- water smoker
- Food safety is of primary concern when smoking turkey. Turkey breasts, drumsticks, wings and whole turkeys are all suited for smoking, although for safety’s sake, stick with whole turkeys that weigh 12 pounds or less. A larger turkey remains in the “Danger Zone” – between 40° F and 140° F for too long.
- Do not stuff a turkey destined for smoking. Because smoking is takes place at a low temperature, it can take too long for the temperature of the stuffing to reach the required temperature of 165° F, not to mention that smoked stuffing has an undesirable flavor.
- After setting your wood chips to soak, it’s time to start building a fire. Use a chimney starter and a good quality charcoal. After the coals were well lit, dump them into the charcoal pan and added more.
- Once the fire was going nicely, set the water pan in place along with the smoker’s cylindrical body. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan and cover with water.
- Place the lid on the smoker and wait for the internal temperature to reach 250° F to 300° F. Some smokers have built in temperature indicators, if not use an oven thermometer to determine temperature.
- Once you have the right heat, quickly place the turkey on the top grill rack and replace the cover. Add soaked wood chips to the charcoal through the side door of the smoker.
- Add charcoal every hour, as necessary, to maintain 250° F to 300° F. Replenish the liquid and wood chips as necessary. Heat and liquid are critical to maintaining the hot smoke that cooks the turkey.
- Smoking time depends on the size of the turkey, the distance from the heat, temperature of the coals, as well as the outside air temperature. You can roughly estimate about 20 to 30 minutes per pound of turkey, but it’s important to use a meat thermometer to be sure your turkey is thoroughly cooked. The turkey is done when the food thermometer, placed in the inner thigh, reaches 180° F (be sure the thermometer is not touching the bone).
- Unless you have a sheltered outdoor spot, avoid smoking on windy days as this can effect the temperature, or even put out the fire. Also, avoid opening the cover or door as much as possible. Smoking takes place at low temperatures and opening the lid or door causes quick heat loss. If you must open the door to add charcoal, chips or liquid, do it as quickly as possible.
- If the turkey is not done in time, you may finish it in the over at 250 degress. It will go a little faster, but allow at least an hour or two.