Turkey Week. We smoked this turkey last Sunday. I say "we" because Eric and I took turns passing the baby and passing the turkey interchangeably. Our two little butterballs. It was a cold, crisp fall day and Grandma had just come to visit from Georgia. Because we will miss her at Thanksgiving, the day turned into an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner with friends, wine, roasted root veggies, and a tender smoky bird.
If you didn't read earlier in the week, we brined the turkey first. Rinse the turkey out of the brine and pat dry. While it is air-drying a bit, make your rub. I started out throwing around some wild ideas for the rub, but Grandma and Eric voted for traditional flavors. You may smoke the turkey on just about any equipment - a Weber grill with an indirect space and a drip pan underneath, or any type of smoker. I used the electric smoker on this turkey, because why? Because we wanted to go to a puppet show with Grandma and the kids! While we watched the Russian witch Baba Yaga try to eat poor Ivan, our dinner smoked away. We made it back in time to add more smoke and prepare the glaze.
RECIPE: Smoked Turkey with Sage Rub and a Maple-Butter Glaze
1/2 cup dried ground sage
3 tbls all spice
1/2 cup kosher salt
3 tbls cracked pepper
Olive oil and/or butter
4-6 garlic cloves, cut in half
Inside Cavity: Wedges of oranges, grapefruit, garlic, bay leaf and fresh sage
All Natural, no solutions added. Because we brine our turkeys first, we don't want any other flavors or solutions added to the turkey (and besides, ew.)
Size should be 10-16#. If you want to smoke a larger turkey, then you must start it at a higher temperature to get it up to a safe internal temperature. I suggest smoking two smaller birds.
1 stick of salted butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
If you want to add a kick - 1 tbls of cayenne pepper.
"start high and end low" as does Danielle of Diva Q.
1. Gently lift up the skin of the turkey and rub olive oil between the meat and the skin. Add butter pats in the pockets along with garlic cloves and 1/3 of the rub.
2. Add the citrus wedges, garlic cloves, fresh sprigs of sage and bay leaf inside the turkey cavity. You can't stuff a turkey for the smoker because it won't get up to the proper internal temperature quickly enough.
3. Rub olive oil on the outside of the skin, in all the nooks and crannies. Spread the rest of the rub over the bird on both sides.
4. Use a skewer to lightly close up the cavity and to pin back the wings.
5. Make your low charcoal fire or preheat your electric smoker or gas grill and "get your smoke on". Add a water pan and include some orange wedges and sage in the water.
6. Smoke turkey for 4 hours at 200-225 degrees. Heat the glaze ingredients on medium-low until blended. Apply the glaze every 30 minutes until turkey is done (about another 2 hours for a total of 6 hours cooking time). The internal temperature when done should be about 180 degrees, but at least 160.
7. For the final 30-40 minutes, add coals to your fire to get the temperature up to 350-375 degrees. Add the glaze liberally. This will crisp up the skin even more. If using an electric smoker, put the turkey in a preheated oven for the final skin crisping.