Smoking a Turkey for Thanksgiving

I am hoping to smoke a turkey using an electric smoker this year. How big of a turkey can I use? How long will it take to smoke? Should I smoke it in the garage and risk setting off the smoke alarm, or will it stay hot enough outside in Northern Michigan? Should I brine it first? Any suggestions for a good spice rub?



Helen's A. November 16, 2011
You can always smofry it! They're pretty yummy..
aargersi November 16, 2011
EmilyC I will! I did 3 legs with salt and garham masala and 3 with salt and honey - we have a vacuum sealer thingy so they are snug in there with salty goodness - I have high hopes (we are planning to smoke 20 on TDay along with the whole roasted bird so a test run is prudent we think)
aargersi November 16, 2011
Hi there! I would say for sure brine it - and then the time is going to depend on the size, there is a LOT of information online (we got a smoker a couple months ago so I know :-) I would NOT do it in the garage - our smoker (New Braunfles offset style) pumps out a ton of smoke - just ask the neighbors - and it would for sure completely fill the garage, set off alarms, smoke everything you own, etc. As an aside, I have 6 drumsitck doing the Judy Bird salt brine right now, we are doing a trial run Saturday. You minght think about doing something similar if you have time - smoke a small bird just to test it out - you can always freeze it for later!!!
EmilyC November 16, 2011
aargersi -- be sure to report back on the Judy Bird salt brine on the smoked drumsticks...I'm curious to know how it works on smoked meats. Can't imagine it won't work well!

And chez_mere -- I completely agree with aargersi on NOT smoking in the garage -- just pull your smoker outside. You may be cold, but your smoker and turkey will be fine! : )
EmilyC November 16, 2011
Hi -- I'd recommend checking out the cookbook Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I've smoked turkeys 3 or 4 times for Thanksgiving. It's a nice flavor, and it frees up valuable oven space. The brine recipe in Charcuterie for poultry is really good, and there's a nice tutorial on the smoking process, including recommended smoking temperatures, cooking times, etc. I've never used an electric smoker (we have a Big Green Egg) but we've done 15+ lb birds on it before. You'll just have to gauge how big you can go based on the size of your smoker. Enjoy!
chez_mere November 16, 2011
Thanks for the tip. I will look to see if my local library has the book!
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