Smoked turkey

Turkey smoking on grill

This year we’re smoking a turkey. A little miscommunication with our supplier, so we had to make due with an organic bird from the grocery. Ah well. Last night I marinated it in a chipotle-orange wet rub. Here’s the recipe, which I stepped up seven times to match the amount of chipotles in the can (poor pepper crop for us this year, so my original plan, roasted red peppers, wasn’t an option):

3T olive oil
2T chipotles in adobo sauce
1/4 c fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 t salt
2 cloves garlic

I added the zest from two of the four oranges I used. We have a 19lb bird, and it took about half the rub. Besides covering the skin outside, I loosened the skin to rub the flesh directly, and cut a small hole in the skin of each leg to get marinade on the dark meat as well.

This morning at 9:00 I started the bird in my Weber, using charcoal and mesquite chips, with the water pan from my smoker under the bird. Erin’s parents brought oranges from Florida, which we juiced for mimosas; I filled the cavity with the skins. With the coal on one side and the bird on the other, the heat is indirect, perfect for slow cooking. (See above.) I loosely covered the bird with foil, which cuts moisture loss a little, but this is more to ensure I don’t grub it up with the lid of the Weber. After going through two loads of charcoal, (about two hours), I’ll re-rub the bird (outside skin and cavity only) and move it to my electric smoker. Thirty minutes later, it will be time for a glaze:

1/4 c orange juice
1/3 c butter
1/3 c honey
3 T of marinade

I’ll cook the bird until I see 150° in the breast: that’s done enough for smoking. (Actually, I always run “low” on poultry temperature; the meat thermometer’s 170° makes for a dry, tough bird.) I’ll wrap the bird tightly in foil, and put it back in the smoker (with the heat off) to let it rest until carving time. If the girls allow, I’ll post again with pictures of the finished product and the rest of our menu.

Update 11/27 PM: Okay, this bird was at temperature way quicker than usual, around 12:30pm. As I was carving it, I wondered if the dark meat was done. It was, but it was so wet that it looked undercooked. The turkey carried and kept more fat than I expected.

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2 Responses to Smoked turkey

  1. Steve Krause says:

    So, how did it turn out?

    I wouldn’t mind trying something like this myself, and not just on the holidaze. I likes the turkey. But while I have a weber, I don’t have a smoker. Do you think the whole thing would work on the grill? And what are we talking, four or so hours?

  2. cbd says:

    It was delicious, and the bones produced a lovely batch of broth, too. I thought we had some pictures of the results, but I guess not.

    Without a doubt you can do the whole thing on the grill. I’ve done that multiple times. I think I ran a little hot on this one, so the white meat was done in a little less than four hours, but some of the dark was still a little soft. I didn’t use the electric to cook the bird at all, just to keep it warm once I decided it was done (at 1:00 or so).

    I use a chimney starter to light my charcoal; next time I’ll fill it only 2/3 of the way, which will keep the temperature down and the bird turned more frequently. And I think a smaller bird works better, as is the case with frying too.

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