Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I am smoking a turkey as my contribution to the big dinner today. We are expected to eat sometime between 2 and 3pm this afternoon. The big dinner will be at my sister-in-laws this year (three blocks away). She is expecting 25 to 30 friends and family members. My turkey will be one of three (baked, deep fried and smoked). Anyway, to the smoking: Yesterday I took the bird out of the freezer and began the process of defrost. I placed the 11.38 lb turkey in my sink filled with cold water. It took about 7 hours to defrost enough to get the stuffing out. After defrost, I created a brine and placed the bird in. The brining bird was placed in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Brining recipe: 1.5 gallons of water, 1.5 cups kosher salt, 1.5 cups white sugar, 3 tbl soy sauce, 3 tbl Worchester sauce, 2 tlb black pepper, 1 tbl garlic powder, 1 tbl rosemary, 1 tbl fennel seed, some fresh thyme and three dried ancho peppers. The peppers were a late addition as my mother-in-law dropped a bag off to me. I got a little help stirring the brine from my main helper guy. Fast forward to this morning: Here is the turkey ready to come out of the brine. I pulled the turkey out of the brine and rinsed under cold water for 5 minutes. This is to remove any of the surface salt that remains on the bird. You only want the salt/brined solution that was absorbed into the bird's meat through osmosis. Any surface salt will give the bird an over salty taste. Once out of the brine and rinsed, I patted the bird dry with paper towels. This will keep the bird from being soggy. Once dry, the bird is ready for stuffing and rubbing. Here are the stuffing ingredients (onion, garlic, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, celery and a Florida orange). After drying the skin and stuffing the bird, I smear the outside of the bird with butter. Then apply the rub. Since the bird has been brined, I don't add any salt to the rub. In this case the rub is simply ground pepper. Time to put the bird on. It was a brisk 46 degrees this morning at 6:15am. The high for the day is only expected to be 70 or so. The neighborhood is just beginning to wake up. I am smoking the bird at 225-250 until the thickest part of the breast reads 160 on my Taylor thermometer. I am using hickory wood to do the smoke. Yesterday, I an my main helper guy split the wood and cut it into chunks. The smallest of the chunks and the saw dust were put into the smoking bowl yesterday. I figured that would start my smoke fast this morning since I waned to sleep as long as possible this morning. The large chunks have been soaking overnight. I'll make my first addition to the smoke box about 45 minutes in, then I'll add chunks every hour. Here is the bird on the smoker. I put the breast side down for the first hour. Updates to come. Now to get a cup of coffee.... .