Smoking a Turkey is fun, easy, and the results taste awesome!
Turkey is pretty lean meat so to prevent it from drying out, and to ensure it has awesome flavor, I use a brining solution. Brining is a solution of water and salt, and the process of brining is where you soak a turkey, or any kind of meat, in a brining solution to develop flavor and ensure moisture in the meat you are cooking. The brining process, which i recommend doing for at least 24 hours, will ensure your meat is seasoned and moist from the inside out.
The tricky part about brining a turkey is finding enough space in your refrigerator to place the turkey and brining solution. Since refrigerator space around the holidays comes at a premium, even if you have an auxillary refrigerator in your garage, the solution I have found is to leverage a 5 gallon drink cooler, the ones used to hold Gatorade or Water, to conduct your brining process. The insulation of the cooler will ensure the integrity of your solution and meat are in-tact and that the meat doesn’t fall into the “temperature danger zone”. Your relatives, spouse, and/or significant other will thank you for bringing awesome food without cluttering up the refrigerator!
If this is the first time you are smoking a turkey and you are worried about drying out your meat, you can think of the brining process as your own personal insurance policy to ensure your meat tastes good, seasoned well, and moist through and through!
Second Elm Brining Solution:
- Kosher Salt
- Bay Leaves
After soaking in the brining solution for 24 hours the turkey is nearly ready to begin cooking. Pull the turkey out of the brining solution, rinse it off and place it onto a rack or stand to prep it for the grill.
Pre-heat the grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit, and place some wood chunks around the perimeter of the charcoal bed to add smoke to the turkey while it is cooking. I cook all of my meat on the Kamado Joe Classic II because it maintains heat, it is easy to clean and having the right tool makes any job easier! Just make sure when you are using heat deflector plates when smoking a turkey. The deflector plates will ensure your meat is cooked perfectly while indirectly applying the heat to the meat.
The turkey should be ready to go on the grill, if you want to brush it with some olive oil for additional flavor please feel free, but I would not recommend stuffing your turkey. Once the turkey is on the grill you will want to stick an oven safe meat thermometer into the turkey so you can monitor the internal temperature of the meat, I personally use a radio frequency thermometer that allows me to monitor the temperature of the meat without even opening the grill! You are going to need to smoke the turkey on the grill at a constant temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-12 hours, so turn on the football game, grab a drink and prepare yourself for the best tasting turkey you have ever had!
When you pull the turkey off the grill make sure it has an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit, and start cutting it for your family and friends you will quickly receive the self-proclaimed title of Grill Master! You don’t need to tell anyone that it was one of the easiest things you have ever cooked, it’s our secret!
If you are looking for more great recipes to cook on the grill, take a look at this one for Chili!