First of all, I’ve never tried smoking a turkey. I’m mainly a brisket, ribs, and pork butt guy. And, we are very near Greenberg Smoked Turkey, Inc. So, I can stop by there anytime and buy a smoked turkey. Greenberg’s ships all over the country, and their turkeys are always great.
However, I just wanted to try one on my own, on my Old Country Wrangler smoker…and if it hadn’t turned out well, I would just continue using Greenberg for turkey. So, I went to the grocery store and bought a 12 lb turkey to try as a test. If it turned out well, I’d smoke one for Thanksgiving…if not, I’d run down to Greenberg’s and buy one. I must say, it turned out great! So, I don’t have to spend $60 for a 12 lb smoked turkey anymore.
Now, I didn’t have a clue about how to smoke a turkey. But, I remembered a BBQ Pitmasters show where they had to do turkeys. Johnny Trigg said he didn’t know how to smoke a turkey, but thought he’d butterfly it and smoke it like ribs. And, he won the competition. So, I thought I’d do the same thing.
I started looking up articles for how to butterfly a turkey, and found out it’s called spatchcocking. Some of the videos I saw were pretty humorous, as that turkey backbone is not real easy to remove. I saw some people try to use sheers, others using cleavers, all kinds of stuff. But, I have a great knife that cut right through that backbone on both sides, rib bones and all…no problem. So, I spatchcocked it in no time at all. Then, I brined it for 18 hours in this brine:
· 2 Gal Water
· 2 Cups Kosher Salt
· 3 Cups Brown Sugar
· 2 Tbsp Black Pepper
· 1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary
· 1 Tbsp Thyme
· ½ Cup White Wine
· ¼ Cup Worcestershire
· ¼ Cup of my homemade rub
I use a lot of different rubs, for different meats. But, I just happen to like this brown sugar based rub with chicken, so I thought I’d use it for turkey as well. And, it turned out good.
· ½ Cup Brown Sugar
· ¼ Cup Chili Powder
· ¼ Cup Paprika
· 2 Tbsp Cumin
· 2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
· 2 Tbsp Mustard Powder
· 1 ½ Tbsp Kosher Salt
· 1 ½ Tbsp Course Black Pepper
· 2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
So, after I got my smoker going and running TBS at about 275*, I took the turkey out of the brine, washed it off good and rubbed it with olive oil all over. Then, I sprinkled it all over with the rub above and threw it on the smoker.
I had no idea how long it would take to smoke this spactchcocked turkey, but I was planning on staying between 250* to 275*, which is how I smoke ribs, and thought I had plenty of beer, so we’d just sit back and relax…see how long it would take to get the breast up to 165*. After about an hour and a half, we were already up to 135*and it was looking good. So, I turned it…and started keeping my smoker down to no more than 250*.
It smoked for another hour and a half, before it got up to 165* in the breast...or 3 hours total.
So, I took it off and let it rest for about 25-30 minutes. When I cut into it, it was so tender and juicy, I couldn’t believe it. So, from now on, I’m a turkey smoker and will never buy another smoked turkey. And, it’s so good, I can have smoked turkey at anytime of the year now…not just at Thanksgiving. So, if you've never tried spatchcocking a turkey, give it a shot...you'll like it. Plus, it's fun hearing people say, "What?" when you say "Spatchcock"! LOL!!