Smoking a Turkey with a Kamado and FireBoard
If you were not able to get a turkey from your local butcher shop, you will need to properly thaw your frozen turkey. This will result in evenly smoked meat with consistent texture… and ensure food safety. Be aware that thawing a frozen turkey in your refrigerator could take 24 hours or more! Check out the CDC’s comprehensive rundown of thawing options.
Take the Time to Brine
Those in the know will readily tell you that the secret to a juicy oven roasted turkey is brining. The same holds true for smoking a turkey. This relatively simple step involves mixing up a saltwater solution called brine and soaking the meat for a duration of time. Similar to marinating, this is an easy way to avoid dry meat. The most this step will cost you is time. While there are many brine recipes to be found, the essential ingredients are few: salt and water. Save your signature fragrant herbs and spices for the rub. This is where they will have a more substantial impact on the flavor.
Mix up 3/4 cup of Kosher salt per gallon of water, soaking over night. You will need a container large enough to submerge the turkey brining solution. The turkey used for this post was 21 pounds; a clean and sanitized chest cooler fit the bill nicely for a container. Do not forget to keep your temp below 40ºF (monitor your temps)! Adding a little ice to the brine and closing the cooler dramatically stabilizes the brine temperature, thus keeping the bacteria growth at bay.
Start the Pit Before applying Rub
On the day of your cook, you will want to get your pit going prior to applying rub to the turkey. If you are using a kamado smoker, visit our previous post about starting your charcoal with a FireBoard2 Drive and 20 CFM Blower. This will give your pit plenty of time to get warmed up.
Rub: a noun and verb in the world of barbecue. No real rules here. Whether you are using a premixed rub or putting something together yourself, select a rub with a flavor profile that complements your menu. Ted has shared with us his go-to turkey rub recipe:
Mix intuitive amounts of ingredients in a bowl, and start with rubbing olive oil into the turkey. Then apply liberally over the entire surface of the bird. Don’t hesitate to add the spices under the skin of the breast. While cooking, the fat of the skin will render out and having some spices present will make it extra tasty.
The beauty of using the FireBoard Drive Blower with a kamado is the temperature stability you are able to create during your cook. Extending the temperature control further, a Drive Program can be used to automate cooking steps. The three step program for this cook can be seen on the inset screen shot below. This program holds the ambient at 225ºF for one hour, then increasing to 350ºF until the leave in probe reads 165ºF. After the breast hits 165, the program cools down to a holding temp of 180ºF.
The Finished Product
Hannah’s Alternate Session
One exciting feature of the FireBoard App is the ability to share your cook sessions in real time. It is as easy as sharing a photo or a web link. Click here to see Ted Conrad’s Smoked Turkey session done expressly for this blog post. Be sure to see a completely different approach to turkey smoking. Click here to see FireBoard employee Hannah Stade’s rendition of Chef Tom’s Holiday Turkey.