I smoked a couple of turkeys last week for my students because many of them cannot get home for the holiday, and I wanted to give them a good start on the holiday season. I did this last year for the first time, and my boss liked the idea so much that he jumped in and smoked a couple for this year's event as well. We bring the birds, the students bring everything else.
I smoked 2 10-11 lb. birds in my Weber kettle using indirect heat (I have been doing them this way for years). This year I used Walnut for smoke generation. Prep is nothing fancy: melted butter brushed on the skin which is then salted and peppered. No stuffing for safety reasons, of course. I was taught to start them breast side down to allow the juices to flow down toward the breast. I then "flip the bird" and baste when there is about an hour left in the smoke. Here they are about an hour into the smoke.
You'll notice the little foil "fenders" I use to deflect heat from the parts closest to the coals. Years ago, I fashioned a custom little grate that sits 2-3 inches below the standard Weber grate level and sits perfectly into my drip pan, which sits neatly between the coal baskets. This extra clearance allows me to easily accommodate rather large birds.
The cooking temp hovered right around 250* at great level. I service the kettle about every 45 minutes by adding 4 coals and 1-2 wood chunks per basket. Another reason I love smoking these in the Weber -- temp recovery times are mere seconds after re-seating the lid! Here they are resting:
My wife is the gravy expert, and if you haven't had smoked turkey gravy, then you really can't fully know what good food is all about! She talked me through it safely (read: no lumps ). Everything was sliced up for serving, and -- if you'll pardon the expression -- gobbled up in no time! My boss and I were the servers, so I did not get any pix of the event; however, some of my students did, and I will try to post those when I get them.
Thanks for looking!