Best Thanksgiving Smoky TurkeyUser Submitted Recipe
15 lb turkey or higher depending on servings
Kosher salt 1c for brining
Salt and pepper, butter poultry seasoning
2 oranges cut in quarters, leaving on rind
1 lemon cut up
2 large onions, cut up
5 stalks of celery and the tops
Extra stick of butter, seasonings and sliced onion to be placed on top of the bird while roasting
Wash the turkey very well, inside and out, save giblets for gravy. To brine mix kosher salt with water (1cup of salt) and totally cover turkey with brine solution over night. Remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly.
Set the oven to 300 degrees. Prepare turkey ingredients (apples, oranges, celery, onions) I usually cut them up so they can be stuffed inside the empty turkey cavity. I toss the salt pepper and poultry seasonings on the fruits and vegetables. Cut up a stick of butter (or margarine) and place inside the cavity with an added extra seasonings. Stuff the turkey with all the ingredients. You can tuck the legs inside the bird or truss. I then salt, pepper, poultry seasoning the outside of the bird. I also like to add an extra stick of butter or margarine on the outside of the bird to melt in the oven. As I am preparing the bird to be placed in the oven, my husband is starting the smoker with Cherry wood, maple and other hard woods that insure a beautiful aroma and smoky flavor to the turkey. He has a large smoker (Smokey Mountain Series) that has 3 to 4 shelves. He keeps the smoker at 250 to 300 degrees to insure proper temp and good smoking.
I slow roast the turkey in the oven 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, then when we place the turkey in the smoker to receive a blend of the fine woods and slow cook for about 3-4 hours to insure the heavenly aroma of the bird. We usually place the bird on foil or a pan. My husband keeps the smoker heated to 275-300 degrees and is monitoring the birds temp with a meat thermometer. When we put the bird on the smokers rack, I place a container to collect the juices as they drip, to make fabulous gravy.
I like to transfer the turkey back into the oven to insure that it is cooked thoroughly and the turkey tester pops out when it’s done. The turkey has such a beautiful golden brown skin that glistens when it is placed on a serving platter
In the mean time, I am cooking the giblets with celery and onions and even zest of orange to make the gravy. We pour the drippings from the turkey when we first remove it from the oven and also after it is smoked. Into the gravy mixture, the smoky flavors are then entwined with the giblets and seasoning to make a rich and flavorful gravy for the tastiest and most aromatic gravy.
We have found that through this method our turkey not only looks beautiful when it is presented to out family and friends, but that through slow roasting and smoking the turkey is so tender and the juices just pour out the turkey when you slice it. This has to be the juiciest turkey that we have ever made and everyone just loves it.