A guide to smoking a Thanksgiving turkey: Part 1
Fat City decided to take advantage of having an American Royal Grand Champion in our backyard and turned to Bob Denner — who with his brother Don makes up the Boondoggle BBQ team — and knows a thing or two about the process of smoking.
Denner agreed to walk us through the steps of preparing and smoking a turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s the kind of conversation that leaves you hungry and glad that turkey day is only 48 hours away.
If you haven’t bought your turkey yet, you’ll be spending a bit more (the difference is likely about $1 a pound and the recommended serving size is a pound per guest) because a fresh turkey makes a lot more sense. You could thaw a frozen bird in cold water, but if you’ve slacked on picking out a turkey, you probably shouldn’t pick a method of preparation that requires extra effort.
“Safety is the first thing that comes to mind. Salmonella is not a fun thing to be thinking about,” says Denner.
Once you’ve got the turkey at home, you’ll want to brine it — the key to having a moist turkey on the table. Denner uses a five-gallon cooler — the jug that you might use for tea or lemonade — and fills it with the brining solution (typically some combination of salt, sugar and spices), turkey, and ice. You may have to refill it with ice, but you want to keep the temperature under 40 degrees to prevent bacteria growth.