Smoked Turkey with Bacon Butter
This smoked turkey recipe takes some planning ahead, the results are mouth watering good! Consider explaining to folks that they might see a pink tint to the meat and that this is a result of the smoke on the meat and not undercooked meat. This is better than leaving folks wondering about it.
- Whole turkey, minimally processed, 12 pounds or less
- Jeff's rub, purchase here: https://order.smoking-meat.com/products/jeffs-rub-recipe-and-sauce-recipe
- Bacon butter, recipe below
- Turkey brine, recipe below
- 1/4 pound (1-stick) butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Preparation time 35mins
Cooking time 1085mins
Adapted from smoking-meat.com
Over the years, I have come up with several really good brines and I have included the recipes below. You do have options! My personal favorite is the buttermilk brine but the cranberry brine is also very good. If you just want something really simple to make sure the turkey is moist and flavorful, then the traditional brine might be for you.
Pour the water into a large plastic foodsafe container. Add the salt and stir until it is completely dissolved. Then add the brown sugar and rub and stir until it dissolved as much as possible. If you do not have a container large enough to handle 2 gallons, you can mix it up 1 gallon at a time by halving
Pour the buttermilk and water into a large plastic food-safe container. Add the salt and stir until it is completely dissolved.
Then add the rub and stir until it is dissolved as much as possible.
If you do not have a container large enough to handle 2 gallons, you can mix it up 1 gallon at a time by halving the recipe.
Pour the juice into a large plastic food-safe container. Add the salt and stir until it is completely dissolved. Then add the rub and stir until it is dissolved as much as possible. If you do not have a container large enough to handle 2 gallons, you can mix it up 1 gallon at a time by halving the recipe.
Put the turkey into a very large brining bag, a clean empty cooler or a large plastic food-safe bucket and pour the brine over the turkey until it is completely submerged.
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and run it until the butter is smooth. You may be able to use a blender for this if you don't have a food processor but I have not tried it and I don't know how well it would puree that bacon.
Stop occasionally and scrape down the sides to make sure the end product is well blended and smooth.
You could make this ahead of time if you wanted, form it into a log then store it in the fridge until you needed it. I simply made mine while the turkey was brining.
You can use ANY smoker to turn out a great turkey. Some smokers are easier than others but it all comes down to heat plus smoke for a prescribed amount of time.
I usually smoke the turkey breast side down for a couple of hours and then flip it over to breast side up to make sure it does not get too much heat and dry out but, for this one, I left it breast side down the entire time.
I wanted the turkey to be as high and away from the heat as I could get it which was the 3rd rack from the bottom.
To get that really nice mahogany color and more good flavor on the outside of the skin, I mixed up some butter, rub and chopped parsley and brushed that onto the outside of the turkey a couple of times during the last hour or so.
Melt the butter in the microwave then mix in the rub and the parsley. Brush onto the turkey generously.
Does brining make the turkey salty?
I don't care as much about injecting as I do brining but, then, that is a personal thing. If you do decide to inject, add as much as you can at about 1 inch intervals on the breast, legs and thighs. I just inject at a 45 degree angle slowly pulling out the needle as the plunger goes in. Some of it will come out but much of it also stays in there and does it good. Be sure to wear an apron and face mask and watch out for geysers.
Yes, the turkey must be kept below 40 degrees during the brining process to prevent spoilage. This can be accomplished by refrigeration or by adding ice to the brine. Use a thermometer to ensure proper temperatures are being maintained.
How long do I need to keep adding smoke to the turkey?
Make the dressing on the side and stuff it in the turkey just before serving if you want to stuff the turkey.
When the turkey is finished cooking (165 degrees F) wrap in foil then double wrap with thick towels. Place the wrapped turkey down into an empty ice cooler. Fill in any remaining space with more towels, throw pillows, newspaper, etc. to further insulate it. This should keep the turkey above 140 degrees F for 3-4 hours. Be sure to use a digital probe meat thermometer attached to the turkey to ensure that proper temperatures are maintained during travel time.
Be sure to give yourself some padding when cooking the turkey. It is easy to wrap and keep hot if it gets done a little early so figure your time then give yourself an extra 60 to 90 minutes.
Figure the time to cook a turkey at about 30 to 35 minutes per pound at 240°F.
Consider explaining to folks that they might see a pink tint to the meat and that this is a result of the smoke on the meat and not undercooked meat. This is better than leaving folks wondering about it.
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