I wanted to try something new this year for Thanksgiving. So, I decided to use my electric smoker and smoke a 12 lb turkey along with the usual 25 lb that my mom does in the oven. I have been browsing the forums here and I have been trying to find good recipes/techniques for doing a whole bird.
Here is a problem that I run into. A lot of the store brand birds that they sell have sodium/preservatives added. I read that you should not brine these birds because it will make them too salty... Yet, a couple weeks ago I smoked a 12 lb Turkey as an experiment before Thanksgiving and I used the same type of turkey with the added sodium and preservatives. It did not come out salty at all (but i didn't brine it).
I used hickory wood and the smoky flavor was very strong. I also used a rub with salts and brown sugar which basically turned the bird's skin black. I smoked the bird in the electric smoker for about 6 hours and the final internal temp was about 178* when I pulled it off.
The meat had a smoky flavor but I wanted more other flavors! I am thinking I definitely need to brine it and maybe not cook it as long. The wings dried out a little as well.
The big day is getting close and I need some expert help to produce a bird that just WOWS my entire family.