How to smoke turkey
Smoked turkey is fantastic. For some reason though, it has never seemed to catch on over this side of the Atlantic. That’s a real shame because, as any American will tell you, it’s one of the easiest ways to get moist, succulent meat and a deep, full flavour from your bird.
Choosing your equipment
First of all you’re going to need a hot smoker. As with most types of kitchen equipment, it’s up to you how high up the technology ladder you want to go. At the very top, there are upright electric smokers with multiple draws, thermostats and numerous other bells and whistles. At the bottom, any old saucepan, tin or metal container – provided it doesn’t have a coating that will melt or give off fumes when heated – will do. Either way, the principle is the same. Each will have rack or tray to hold the food and place to hold the wood chips.
Woods and flavourings
This is a much as question of preference as anything else. Many swear by fruit woods such as cherry and apple, while others prefer hickory or oak. With regards to flavourings, the world is your oyster too. A rub of salt, paprika, dried garlic and chilli works really well, as does a simple coating of olive oil, thyme and oregano.

The trick is to be generous. Hot smoking is fast, so don’t be shy about piling on the seasoning. Slashing the skin of the meat a few times will help, as will some marinating time. Even 15-20 minutes is better than nothing. It’s worth remembering that alcohol dries out meat though, so if you are going to soak your turkey in wine, it’s best to keep it brief.

Cooking times
It’s not easy to give hard and fast rules given the number of different types of equipment you can use. If you are using a smoker with a temperature controller though, allowing 30-40 minutes per pound at 120 degrees Celsius is a good guideline.

Needless to say, the lower the heat, the longer the cooking time. The main advantage of this is a much smokier flavour. However, there is one thing that is always crucial when cooking poultry, and that’s to make sure that the meat reaches an internal temperature of 70 degrees Celsius. If you in doubt as to whether the meat is cooked, check in two places using a meat thermometer.


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How to smoke turkey