Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful!
Thanksgiving can be a high pressure holiday, with family to impress, children to feed, and way too much going on in the kitchen. So it’s not really surprising that some folks are taking advantage of the fall weather and moving a main part of dinner outside – smoking the bird using a Primo dome-top grill like the Primo Kamado or the Primo Oval XL.
How about a Primo-smoked turkey for Thanksgiving?
Smoking a turkey makes for a delicious, juicy Thanksgiving main course, and it’s about the same level of difficulty as your run of the mill oven roasting. Family members will love the daring move – and the smoky taste which will change things up from year after year of roasted turkey.
First step, brine that bird!
When you choose to smoke your turkey, you’ll need to make a safe, cold space for brining. This means using a food-grade container and clearing out a spot in a cooler or moving the shelves around in your refrigerator. The brining process makes your turkey retain moisture, which is great because lean meats like turkey can dry out quickly if they are overcooked just a little!
Choose your brine recipe, and mix the ingredients in your container (food grade plastic bucket is my go-to choice), and let your bird soak up the moisture for a day before the Thanksgiving cookout.
Next, prep your grill.
One of my big decisions each year is what type of wood chips to use for my turkey smoking adventure. Usually we choose a fruity wood, like apple, but sometimes hickory chips just call my name. There are many choices in wood chips, so feel free to try new flavors every year. Put your drip racks in the ceramic bowl of the primo, then light your grill and bring your Primo up to temp (thankfully, Primos are fast!) while getting the turkey out of the brine and ready to smoke. If you are feeding a lot of people, you can fit two whole birds on the Primo Oval XL.
After letting your turkey sit for a while to equalize its newly obtained water weight, put your favorite turkey rub or spices on the bird. Keep your turkey’s cavity open (sorry, no stuffing inside – it’s always been a no-no at my house due to sanitary concerns) to allow better cooking, and place a stick of butter and your choice of spices in the cavity. Rosemary, sage, and thyme make a yummy autumnal taste, and you can use the juices to baste your bird later. Once your bird is all set, close the dome top and cook until the turkey has reached 180 degrees for the leg/dark meat and 165, near the breast.
Let your turkey rest for a moment before carving, I usually do 15 minutes. Then, carve and delight your family and friends. They’ll probably all want to come back next year, or get a smoker of their own!