Turkey on the Smoker

I was aiming for dinner at 3:00. Timing of the meal is always a bit tricky when cooking turkey on the smoker, but this timing has worked pretty well 2 years in a row.

I used the Minion Method for lighting the smoker. At 10:00, I lit a full chimney of charcoal, and filled the bottom of the smoker with unlit charcoal (both new and used) with a hollowed-out valley in the center. I opened all three bottom vents to 100%, where they stayed the entire time.

The Minion Method

The Minion Method

Prepped Smoker

Prepped Smoker

While the charcoal was heating, I prepared the turkey, as I’ve already described. I poured the lit charcoal into the center space in the unlit charcoal in the bottom of the smoker. I added a handful of soaked hickory chips, allowing them to land on both lit and unlit charcoal.
I assembled the smoker, putting two thirds of a bottle of apple juice in the water pan along with a pitcher of cold water. I placed a foil drip pan on the bottom rack. I placed the turkey on the top rack, breast-side up. I opened the top vent to 100% and put the lid on the smoker. I closed the lid at 10:25.

Bird on the Smoker

Bird on the Smoker

Temperature-Problems-300x199
Now, I know there’s a tradition of reporting the temperature of the smoker every 15 minutes and adjusting the vents to control the temperature. I tried to do that too. But I discovered a problem. The thermometer I was using to track the smoker’s temperature was off by over 60°. Over 60°! So all I can really tell you is that I had the all vents open all the way the whole time I was cooking the turkey. I even propped the smoker door open a tiny bit some of the time to try to get my temperature higher. So two years of careful temperature data is useless. Oh well.

At 1:30, I added some more wood chunks to the smoker. Nice wet wood chunks, right in the middle of the fire.

At 2:30, I opened the lid of the smoker long enough to insert the electronic thermometer probe into the turkey. The temperature of the turkey was 165° on the dot. I removed the turkey and covered it with foil to rest while we finished preparing the rest of the meal.

Turkey on a Smoker

Turkey on a Smoker

Smoker Turkey on the Table

Smoker Turkey on the Table

The smoked turkey had a perfect golden brown skin. The meat was moist and smokey and very flavorful. It was fantastic.