For the holidays we have Turkey for Thanksgiving and Ham for Christmas. I myself am a Ham person. But ever since we started smoking the Turkey, I’ve really started enjoying Turkey. The first year we smoked a turkey was last year. My husband bought a pellet grill last year. It smokes, grills, and bakes. It basically replaced our smoker and gas grill. We still have an old fashion charcoal grill, but we haven’t used it in years. The pellet grill is really neat. It’s also great when you are cooking a big meal for the holiday’s, since it frees up your oven for other dishes.
Last year was the first time we ever brined the Turkey. I can’t believe it took us this long to discover brining. Which is a must now. It is one of the secrets to cooking a juicy Turkey. We bought a brining kit from Bass Pro Shops. The kit included the bag the turkey would brine in, the brining seasoning, and final rub. I’ve seen a lot of brining kits also at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. We just bought the same one we had last year, since the Turkey turned out so great last year.
We bought a 20 pound Turkey this year. We brined it overnight and placed it in a cooler. I would highly recommend placing it in a cooler versus trying to put it back in the refrigerator. You might not have a pot or pan big enough. And believe me from learning the hard way, you don’t want to try. If you mess up, you’ll have A LOT of brining liquid everywhere. I just highly recommend placing it in cooler. Add some ice and put it in the garage. Since this time of year is pretty cold, that’s a good place to store it until you are ready.
We also spatchcocked the Turkey. Which just means we cut out the backbone. This is a tough job. You will need some really good poultry cutting scissors. Take your time and take a break if needed. It takes some time, but it will really be worth it. It cuts down the time it takes the Turkey to cook.
After brining overnight, we took it out and patted it dry. Rubbed vegetable oil all over, then added the final rub seasoning. Warmed the pellet grill to 185 degrees. We then smoked it at that temp for about 1 hour and half. The lower the temp the more smoke. However, you don’t want to smoke it the whole time. Or you might just dry out the Turkey. After an hour and half, turned up the temp to 350 degrees. Cooked the Turkey till it was 165 degrees. That took about another two and half hours. The most important thing is to cook it to the right temp, 165 degrees. If you cook it over that temp, you are moving into the dry territory. We use a digital thermometer that you just place into the Turkey and it notifies you when it has reached the temperature you set. If you don’t have one, you should consider getting one.
Once the Turkey reaches the right temp the next important step is to let it rest, about 30 mintues to an hour. You have to let it rest at least for 30 mintues. This step is important so that the juices are re-absorbed into the Turkey. This is another thing we recently learned.
After resting, its time to carve and enjoy one of the best turkeys you’ll ever have.