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:
1 1/2 cup of salted butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic salt
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.
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]