How to Smoke a Turkey in a Charcoal Smoker

How To Smoke A Turkey In A Charcoal Smoker
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Are you thinking of cooking turkey the easy way? Or how to cook turkey for guests with compliments? Then smoking can be the best way to cook a turkey. Which you can do through a charcoal smoker. So, how to smoke a turkey in a charcoal smoker?

Cooking turkey in charcoal smokers is a great option. Most turkey eaters recommend using charcoal smokers for cooking. Your little effort is enough to ensure its delicious quality with proper turkey cooking. And that is to properly manage the smoke in the charcoal smoker.

A charcoal smoker is unique for the Thanksgiving turkey feast. You can cook it based on your comfort or preference. It only works if you have the slightest idea about your charcoal smoker.

So let’s take a look at how to smoke a turkey in a charcoal smoker:

How To Start Smoking Turkey In A Smoker

how to smoke a turkey in a charcoal smoker

Here’s how to make a very easy turkey recipe:

  • Once the turkey is picked, put it in the smoker.
  • Then close the lid.
  • Check the water pan after 4 hours.
  • Make sure that the layers on both sides of the bird are getting the same temperature.
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker when the breast reaches 165 degrees.
  • Tent with foil. 
  • Then leave for 20 minutes and add to taste.

How long does it take to smoke?

To get good results, it is important to keep a balanced heat level at all times. The optimum temperature for cooking a turkey is 325 degrees per pound for 15 to 17 minutes.

For more convenience, the pound is calculated according to the following time:

  1. 10-12lbs: 2-1/2 to 3 hours
  2. 12-14lbs : 3 to 3-1/2 hours
  3. 14-18lbs : 3-1/2 to 4 hours
  4. 18-20lbs: 4 to 4-1/2 hours
  5. 20- 24lbs: 4-1/2to5 hours

Find Out Before Smoke A Turkey

‘Smoke a turkey’ is based entirely on individual traditions and general preferences. But it is important to keep in mind your usage and cleanliness. 

How to use a smoker (charcoal smoker)?

We already know the rules of smoking. But here we want to show at a glance:

  • Keep your smoker stable at 225° F.
  • Choose a dual digital air probe for use. It acts as an “oven” thermometer, tracking temperature fluctuations.
  • Start cooking your meat in a chimney starter for about 15 minutes until charcoal is reduced to ashes.
  • After the smoker heats up! adjust the intake baffle.
  • Maintain smokers’ temperature and add some wood chunks for flavor.

How to clean a smoker?

For those who use smokers for cooking turkey, it is important to keep it clean. Make sure the smoker is cool before starting cleaning:

  • Remove the ash after each use. Which in humidity can actually produce rust.
  • Wipe up spills as soon as with a warm, damp ​cloth.
  • Take a putty knife [Check Price] to remove any food, carbon, or grease.
  • Apply a simple green BBQ cleaner [Check Price] across the smoker’s surface. Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Then dry.

How does a gravity feed smoker work?

The gravity feed smoker will have a hopper that is completely filled with charcoal.

  • It is capable of burning up to 16 hours in a row.
  • Half to one pound of charcoal per hour is required.
  • In the firebox, the heat and smoke for cooking the meat are transferred from the hopper to the bottom of the cook chamber.

Things To Prepare Before Smoking A Turkey

There are some things you must keep in mind before you start smoking. So let’s get a brief overview of things:

how to smoke a turkey in a charcoal smoker

A Good Smoker

You need a smoker to start your cooking. For this, you can take Weber Smokey Mountain. Because it can use charcoal, briquettes, and wood chips as fuel. You can safely use any one of these. This will not cause any complications in your cooking.

Accurate Thermometer

A good and high-quality thermometer [Check Price] is required. Which will help give accurate and precise readings of your cooking.

Wood Chips

You can use apple and pecan wood pieces to enhance the taste of smoked turkey. You can also use hardwood chips to add extra flavor to smoked meat.

A Coal Chimney

The chimney is an essential part of the smoking process. The chimney is used to burn coal. Light starter [Check Price] and paper are required for burning.

A Cooling Rack

Use a removable cooling rack. This will allow you to remove whatever you are cooking on or off the grates.

How To Choose A Turkey For BBQ

How to choose a turkey for smoking or BBQ? For details on sizing, maintenance, and balancing, see:

how to smoke a turkey in a charcoal smoker

Determine the Size

The size of the turkey should be a good size. Not too big or too small. If you go for the large one, it can be hard to chew. For smokers in sizes 22.5 “and 18.5”, you can smoke two turkeys weighing 10-12 pounds.

Fresh Or Frozen Turkey

Its taste is unique after cooking fresh turkey meat. On the other hand, frozen meat or others may not taste good when smoked. So choose fresh turkey for your barbecue.

To Marinade

If you want to smoke after bringing turkey for good results. Then make sure it is not brined. For regular or unbrined meats, you must marinade to enhance the taste.

Prepare A Turkey

Some measures and procedures are required to prepare a turkey:

  • Excess skin in turkey dries out in long cooking. So cut it out while preparing.
  • Remove the internal organs of the turkey. Such as intestines, heart and cut neck, etc.
  • When using pre-brined turkey, wash and dry it properly.

How To Light A Smoker For Smoking

You need to light it up before you start smoking. It is essential to properly light your smoker and maintain the temperature. So let’s have a little knowledge about it:

how to smoke a turkey in a charcoal smoker

Remove section

When part of the smoker center is removed you will need to remove the bottom part of the smoker, the coal chamber, and the charcoal grates.

Dump the Brisquette

Place the charcoal according to the quantity in the coal chamber. Now make a deep hole in the middle of the Brisquette. Place a few paraffin cubes inside the coal.

Smoker Vents

Near the vents, you can put the chunks onto the coals for extra flavor. Open the vents below, if you want better air circulation.

Chimney Starter & Brisquette

With brisquette fill your chimney starter then light it up. When the brisquette turns orange and white, pour it into the center of the coal ring. These coals will light up when they come in contact with other coals.

Setup and fill the Water Pan

Reset your smoker and set all the parts you removed. Fill the water pan with water. This water protects the food from being hardened during the smoking process.

Close & Wait

Close the door and keep the vents open for air passage. Wait for 30 minutes for a balanced heat level.

Electric Smoker: An Alternative To Charcoal Smoker

Many of us use electric smokers in cooking. It is a unique alternative to charcoal smokers. With this, you can easily cook your favorite turkey.

So let’s get some information about this unique smoker:

How to use wood chips in an electric smoker?

Follow these steps:

  • First of all, there should not be any leakage in the smoker.
  • Proper ventilation must be taken care of, otherwise, it prevents the smoke from burning.
  • Remove the smoker’s wood chips tray if leaks and ventilation are confirmed.
  • Load your wood chips in the right amount in the right way(It is usually best to load half a cup or one cup of wood chips).
  • Choose wood chips quantitatively by checking the capacity of the loading tray.
  • Place the wood chips inside the smoker, then turn it on. Set to any specific temperature of choice.
  • After 20/30 minutes, if you complete these steps, your smoker is ready to use!

How to smoke meat in an electric smoker?

Okay, or you can have a pork roast or a chuck roast the same way if you want. So how to smoke a pork roast or a chuck roast in an electric smoker?

Let’s see:

  • Season it first to burn any residue.
  • Cover the inner surfaces of the electric smoker with a light coating of cooking oil and run the device at a temperature of about 275 ° F for three hours.
  • At the end of seasoning, add some wood chips to the chip tray to create smoke.
  • Smoking varies slightly in the temperature range according to the meat. Pork meats smoke well at temperatures around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. And Chucks about 275 F.
  • The average cooking time is about 75 minutes per pound of meat, that’s all.

More Details About Smokers

Below is some information about smokers. Which will help a lot in your turkey cooking. So let’s see what’s in it:

What is a water smoker?

Water smokers or bullet smokers combine moisture and heat to maintain the cooking temperature. Also, some features are briefly highlighted:

  • It can efficiently distribute smoke throughout its chambers.
  • In this water smoker [Check Price], the water pan helps distribute the smoke coming up from the fire chamber.
  • This helps to ensure that the meat stays juicy and tender.
  • It cooks less and slowly with heat-controlled maintenance.
  • It can also be used to heat meat well and cook it quickly.

How to use a smoker box on a charcoal grill?

See through the steps here:

  • First place the wood chips or pellets in the smoking box. So that it can be closed properly without overloading.
  • Use of charcoal as fuel. If possible, place them directly below the place where they would traditionally light up coals.
  • Open your smoking compartment and kill the heat when the temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to insulate a smoker?

This is a great way to cure meat and add smoky flavors. The following are briefly 3 ways to ensure that a smoker does not lose its essence:

Insulation Jackets

  • Insulation jackets are made of an aluminum-covered fabric or with silicon.
  • These materials retain heat and therefore provide insulation.
  • Aluminum is the best way to insulate a smoker with reflected heat.

Insulation blankets

  • It is similar to insulation jackets.
  • No specific size is required like an insulation jacket.
  • Wrap it tightly around the smoker to avoid the firebox.

Welding blankets

  • An alternative to the insulation jacket or blanket is a welding blanket.
  • it protects a welder from any flying sparks as the weld.
  • retain heat and cover the handling heat source as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

When to pull brisket off the smoker?

Ans: You have to go according to its internal temperature, appearance, or texture for when to pull brisket off the smoker. Basically, it can, when the meat is tender and the bark is dark mahogany color.

How to keep a turkey moist while smoking?

Ans: Be sure to fill the water tray with enough liquid to maintain a consistent temperature inside the charcoal smoker. Or brine the meat a day for moisture and more flavor to the turkey.

Final Verdict

There are many ideas to learn how to smoke a turkey in a charcoal smoker. All in all, there is a saying that traditional cuisine and with it the flavor must be ensured. Cooking turkey in smoke can assure you that this is a great deal for you and your family. Then start cooking turkey in smoke from today!

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