A popular trend in the culinary world right now is smoking meats. Smokers have become affordable for almost any budget making the “Green Egg,” “Traeger,” or another similar brand a common appliance for the backyard kitchen. If you’re looking for an innovative way to cook your Thanksgiving feast this year, why not try smoking a turkey? Here are a few tips for making it the most delicious Thanksgiving dinner you’ve ever had.
Best Practices for Smoking a Turkey:
- Get a whole turkey from The Butcher Shop. Starting with a high-quality, locally-raised bird will lead to more delicious results. For most backyard smokers, choose a turkey that is 14 pounds or less. Usually, you’ll want to plan for a pound and a half per dinner guest in order to have some leftovers for lunch the next day.
- Brine your bird. Brining the turkey overnight before smoking it will add tremendous flavor and moisture to the meat. You can use a simple brine made from salt and water, or create a more complex flavor with additional spices, herbs, lemons, and garlic. After you remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it really well inside and out in the kitchen sink.
- Let it warm to room temperature. The meat will cook much more evenly if it’s not chilled when you place it in the smoker. Take your turkey out of the refrigerator an hour before you plan to put it in the smoker.
- Slather it in butter. Before placing the turkey in the smoker, rub it down with room-temperature unsalted butter. The butter will help the skin turn a beautiful brown color as it cooks. Placing the turkey on a V-Rack will make it easier to manage to get it into and out of the smoker.
- Don’t cook it too long or too fast. Smoke your bird at between 225° and 275° F. Achieving perfectly smoked meat is easier by using a remote prob thermometer and focusing on getting it up to the right internal temperature instead of watching the clock. The internal temperature of the breasts should reach 159° F and the thickest part of the thighs should get to 170° F. Take it out of the smoker when the meat is within 5 to 7 degrees of the desired temperature since it will continue to cook even once removed.
- Allow it to rest before serving it. One of the secrets to serving a juicy slice of turkey is to allow it to rest before cutting into the bird. When meat rests, its cellular structure solidifies and retains the moisture inside the meat. It’s best to allow a turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving it.
Plan Your Thanksgiving Dinner Now!
It’s time to call The Butcher Shop to pre-order your meat and all the fixings for your Thanksgiving feast! Whether your family prefers turkey, ham, lamb, or seafood, we’ve got you covered. Plus, all of our meats are locally sourced, so your guests will enjoy the freshest food at your dinner party. Simply give us a call at 541-830-3369 or visit our store in person to pre-order everything you need for your special dinner.