It’s true, once you’ve smoked a turkey you won’t want it any other way! This Thanksgiving holiday I prepared two birds. Both were delicious; but there was just something about the taste and texture of the smoked turkey that took it over the top!
My traditional oven baked turkey was stuffed with fresh sprigs of poultry seasonings, halved yellow onions and navel oranges.
The second turkey was spatchcoked and smoked using apple wood chips for six hours and finished up in the oven to ensure that the skin was nice and crispy. I chose to use apple wood chips because the fruity flavor pairs well with the turkey without overpowering it. Hickory or maple wood chips carry a heavier flavor profile.
One thing both of these birds shared in common was the brine. I used a garlic herb wet brine to soak each turkey prior to cooking. Brines consist primarily of a mixture of salt, water and sugar. Other spices can be added to taste. The purpose of the brining process is to lock moisture inside of the meat. Brining is a essential part of meat preparation; especially for poultry or any meat that will be smoked. I’ve made my own brine in the past; this time I ordered a brine kit. I was able to stretch the brine and use the kit for both turkeys. I would certainly use it again.
All in all, I was satisfied with result of both of my Thanksgiving feast centerpieces. Both were moist and well seasoned. But it was that amazing apple wood flavor that took the smoked bird over the top! It nudged out my traditional turkey by just smidge — but it was enough for my family to ask for the guarantee of a smoked bird for Christmas.
So, just when I thought I was done smoking until next season; it looks like I will be pulling out my electric smoker at least one more time before year end.