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20lb Turkey: Turkey is great roasted but its even better smoked. Injecting the turkey gives it a ton of flavor that really gets down to the bone. When selecting flavor combination to inject or rub the turkey in the sky is the limit. You don’t even have to change or stray too far your favorite roasted turkey blends. When it comes to selecting flavors I prefer to stick to herbs and alcohol. Turkey can handle a wide variety of flavors just model it after your favorite chicken recipe.
Sage: Sage is really earthy and peppery. It gives food that long cooked feel similar to bay leaves. For this recipe sage is injected into the turkey so make sure the sage is super fine.
Brandy: Brandy is sweeter than whiskey. Its fruitier and citrusy so its perfect injecting liquid for the turkey. Like wine don’t use the most expensive stuff on hand just make sure its something you’d like to drink on its own. The next best alternative to brandy is a dry white wine.
Salt: Salt makes or breaks smoked meats. You need enough to get the salt to penetrate all the way into the meat but it also doesn’t need to be shockingly salty. A good rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon per pound.
Herb Seasoning: A herb seasoning can really be any combination of fresh or dried herbs. Turkey similarly to chicken can take on a lot. For this recipe its pretty simple along with some spices I also have the addition of rosemary, thyme and oregano
keep the injected liquid simple: when injecting turkey its important to keep the addition to the liquid fine so that it can move through the injecting holes. and simple so that all the spices don’t sink to the bottom. that’s why i like to pick one focal point herb or spice in addition to my injecting liquid. it keeps it fluid and you from having to take the injector apart.
injecting: when injecting the turkey make sure you don’t go through the skin of the breast. lift the skin and inject a few times into it so that the skin doesn’t ripe and stays intact. inject into the cavity to get to the base of the breast towards the ribs and inject into the thigh and drumstick.
no injector?: if you have no injector that really is not a problem. all you need to do is add the brandy and sage to the herb seasoning mix. make it into a paste rub it under the skin of the turkey and wrap it and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
rubbing the bird: rubbing the turkey is really important for imparting flavor. make sure to gently separate the skin from the breast of the meat. once you work around the breast and lift the skin towards the neck. the skin towards the thigh and drum with slightly be exposed too. once the skin is lifted then its time to season. make sure to rub the seasoning. any un-rubbed cluster of seasoning may not be too pleasant.
turkey skin: turkey skin is delicious but it has alot more importance when smoking. it seals in the flavors and also protect the skin from any flare ups. if you turkey skin is really dark that is exactly what you want because once the skin is lifted it will reveal perfectly golden brown turkey
placement in the smoker: if you’re cooking the turkey in the smoker and its the only item in it then place the turkey towards the top. since the turkey has a good amount of fat you don’t want any flare ups. if the turkey isn’t the only thing the smoker and its being smoked along with other meats place it towards the bottom and never place anything under it. it’s the best way to avoid cross contamination.
finishing it in the oven?: sometimes finishing the turkey in the oven will put your mind at ease.especially for first time turkey smokers. other than checking the temperature of the turkey other factors can come into play that may just tell you to pack it in, its been a long day. finishing the turkey in the oven is perfectly acceptable. if you do transfer the turkey back into the pan and into the oven throw in some knobs of butter and splash of wine for some basting liquid. then finish it off with some butter and flour and make a killer gravy.
resting: resting the turkey is really important to the overall experience. prepping and cooking do take some time so don’t throw it all away being too eager to slice the turkey. throw some easy eats like burgers and hotdogs in to snack on while you wait for the rested turkey.