Happy Thanksgiving: Turkey Smokin' Style.

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jul 19, 2005
Gulf Coast Florida
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....

That looks like the bird I'll be doing for Christmas. Can't wait to hear how it turns out..

Ok, first hour down. The turkey has been flipped. Smoking going good.


Second cup of coffee coming up.

Next our I will baste with melted butter. I will baste every hour until the bird is done.
Bird is lookin' good! I'm going to cry because your low temp this morning is warmer than our forecast high temp for today. Enjoy the day.

Take care, have fun, and do good!


Almost three hours down. Time for the mop sauce and smoker box recharge.

Here is the mop sauce.


Recipe: 1 stick butter, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 2 tbl Worchester sauce, 2 tbl soy sauce, 2 tbl black pepper, 1 tbl Dijon mustard and juice from one fresh lime. Mix over heat to melt the butter and baste over turkey.

Turn the turkey and baste with mop sauce.


I filled the smoker box with more soaked hickory and added more water to the water pan.

I'll mop every hour until I'm done or out of mop sauce. Next update in a few hours.

Thanks. Our cold snap is coming to an end today. It has been COLD. Well, cold for Florida anyway (Highs only in the 50s). We should be back to near 70 today and mid 70s through the rest of the weekend.

I'll be working on the boats this weekend.
The turkey has been in for five hours. Looks like we are ahead of schedule. There is probably less than two hours left. The bird needs to get to an internal temperature of 160 at the thickest part of the breast.

The smoke has been good for most of the cooking.

I tried several locations for the probe, this location gave the lowest reading.

Here's Mr Tom after 5 solid hours of smoke on indirect heat between 225 and 250.

I'm getting hungry. Must resist having lunch..... Don't want to ruin my early dinner.

Man...that sure is looking good. Makes me feel sad that I have to eat a traditional turkey today. But come Christmas...it's my time. Thanks for posting and enjoy.
Here are the final results. For the last 45 minutes I had to bump the temp to 300* to finish the smoke. I was running late as I am due to arrive at 2:00.


I'm running late. Gotta run. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving everyone.

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