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Turkey Tips

The leaves are changing color, and the smell of pumpkin pie spice is everywhere, time for turkey.

Smoked Turkey is a beautiful thing, but getting a smoked turkey with crispy skin is even better. Here are some of our turkey tips to get you ready for Thanksgiving.

Brine- Brining is very important, unfortunately most turkeys come pre-brined with a flavorless salt solution. Re-brining will help but finding a bird that’s not pre-brined will give a blank canvas to add a real depth of flavor. Heres one of our favorite brine recipes:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon chicken stock
1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 orange sliced
1 gallon iced water

Prepping the turkey- Prepping a turkey is about as easy as it gets, start by removing any excess skin and removing the bag and neck from the cavities. Then fold the wing tips behind the back of the bird and put on a cooking rack placed in a tin tray.

Compound Butter- This is the secret to crisp skin and a moist turkey. A compound butter is a butter thats infused with flavors. Add the compound butter under the skin of the breast and over the entire turkey, for a flavorful turkey breast and crispy skin. Here’s a great recipe:IMG_5219

1 1/2 cup of salted butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
(mix well)

Seasoning- If you use the compound butter, you already have a nice base of flavor but adding a little more doesn’t hurt. Your added seasoning could be as simple as salt and pepper, lemon pepper or your favorite savory BBQ rub. Just remember to go light.

Cooking- I suggest cooking at a temperatures between 275-325f. 275f will give you more smoke while 325 will give you crispier skin. The choice is up to you but anywhere in this range will give you a juicy bird. Dark meat and white meat are very different in nature. Because of this you have to treat them different when cooking. White meat is done at 160 (it will continue to cook to 165 while resting) dark meat is done between 180-190. This makes it very difficult to cook both perfectly while getting them done at the same time. Here are a few tricks to achieving these desired temperatures.

  • Always place the thighs towards the hotter side of the grill.
  • Place an ice pack over the breasts before prepping your turkey.
  • Freeze slices of your compound butter to place under the breast skin before cooking.
  • Spritz or baste your turkey breast with cold chicken or vegetable stock.green_mountain_grills_daniel_boone_pellet_smoker_300pix

Smoke- Poultry is a light meat and takes smoke in very easy. So for pellets use a subtle smoke like Green Mountain Grills Fruitwood Blend.fruitblend2-600x600

Resting- After achieving the perfect bird, the last thing you want to do is rush into cutting while hot and losing all of your moisture. Give your turkey 15 min to relax while filling your home with its wonderful fragrance.

Carving- There is an art to carving the turkey and Youtube has many great videos showing step by step instructions. The most important part of carving is to remove each side of the breast whole and then slicing the pieces against the grain of the meat. Slicing against the grain makes your already tender turkey fall apart tender.

I hope these turkey tips help you create a turkey your family will never forget. If you have any more questions on cooking a turkey or any other BBQ please feel free to email [email protected]


Article Categories:
Recipes · Turkey

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  • I’ve seen some guides recommending brining for 24 hours, and some that say only 12 if using a thawed ( vs. fresh ) turkey. What do you recommend for brine length? Also do you have any rough estimates for cook timer per lb? Thanks

    avatar Bob November 23, 2015 11:09 am Reply
    • 12 hours is the perfect length of time to brine. At 325f you are looking at about 12-15min per pound.

      avatar Andy November 24, 2015 3:52 pm Reply
  • What is the hotter side of the grill?

    avatar Ryan November 25, 2015 3:29 pm Reply
    • Every grill has a mind of its own and it also depends on if your grill sits on a level surface. That being said its typically the right side.

      avatar Andy November 25, 2015 3:42 pm Reply
  • on the GMG site it says cook with breast down for part of the time, for this recipe should breast be up or down?
    Thank you

    avatar Matthew December 7, 2015 1:59 pm Reply
    • If you are doing Spatchkock chicken you will start breast side down. If you are doing a whole bird, breast side is up.

      avatar GMG PRO December 7, 2015 2:21 pm Reply
  • I know this may sound like a very dumb question, but are you using any kind of pan when placing the bird on the grill or are you placing directly on the grates? And secondly, have you done a bird stuffed on the grill?



    avatar Kevin Fertenbaugh November 22, 2016 2:47 am Reply
    • this bird was directly on the grate

      avatar Andy December 31, 2016 4:35 pm Reply
  • do you have recommend time per pound for smoking turkeys

    avatar Jedd November 22, 2016 8:55 am Reply
    • around 20-30 per pound depending on if you are cooking at 300 or 275f

      avatar Andy December 31, 2016 4:36 pm Reply
  • How does cooking two turkeys affect the cooking time? I have two 15lb birds and I am planning on cooking them at the same time.

    avatar Marc November 23, 2016 12:02 pm Reply
    • Sorry for the late reply, It will slow down a little but not much add an extra 30-40 min to your cook

      avatar Andy December 31, 2016 4:38 pm Reply

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