Smoked Turkey On A Kettle

Smoked Turkey On A Kettle

Out of all of my grills in the backyard, my kettle remains the most versatile of the fleet. It handles any meal, large or small, and can adapt to any type of cooking I throw at it, even smoking.

I can still remember grilling my first grilled Thanksgiving turkey. My Performer was red, and I had hair. Two things I haven’t seen in some time. What I also remember is being daunted by what is really, a fairly easy process.

If you can grill a whole chicken, you can grill a whole turkey, and while a traditional roast turkey is superb, I like to take advantage of everything the kettle has to offer, so I add a little bit of smoke. Not only does adding smoke make for an amazing tasting turkey, but it’s also a foolproof way of adding just the right amount of color. Your Thanksgiving feast will not only taste great but will be amazing just to look at. Grab those cameras everybody!

Smoked Turkey
by Mike Lang

Special equipment:
butcher twine
cherry wood

Ingredients:
1 12-14 lb fresh turkey
1 orange
1 bundle fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
olive oil

Instructions:

1.  Prepare the turkey by lightly coating it with olive oil.



2.  Season both the cavity and the skin with generous amounts of salt and pepper.



3.  Stuff the cavity with a sliced orange and a bundle of fresh herbs.

4.  With butcher twine, truss the turkey.

I like to tie together the legs, then wrap the twine towards the neck where I secure the wings in place. Trussing helps promote even cooking and makes for a more attractive looking bird when finished.

5.  Prepare the grill for indirect medium heat (350-375 F) by lighting half a charcoal chimney full of coals. You can choose to spread the coals around half of the perimeter of the kettle or put even amounts on each side. 

6.  Using the kettle to smoke and roast a turkey makes a perfect opportunity to roast root vegetables in the drip pan. Not only will you have an amazing side dish, the pan helps keep the charcoal briquettes in place and out from under the turkey.

7. Place the turkey on the grill with the legs towards the coals. Place one chunk of cherry wood on the coals and lower the lid. With wood, a little goes a long way, so be sure not to overdo it. One chunk is enough for me but if you like it stronger you can add more. You don't need to presoak wood chunks but if you opt to use wood chips, you will want to soak them for 30 minutes - 2 hours. 

8.  Grill the turkey for approximately 2 ½ hours, or until the internal temperature in the deepest part of the thigh reads 165 F with an instant-read thermometer. 

9.  Remove from the grill, loosely tent with foil, and allow to rest for 20-30% of the cook time. Carve and enjoy.  Just make sure you get the picture taken before your guests dig in and share it with us on social using #BestTurkeyEver!

​Looking for more turkey inspiration?  Be sure to check out more tips here

What are your thoughts? (3)

01.03.16

Tom W

Hi Donn and Mike smoking a turkey on my Weber Gold is one of my favorite things to do. I have used the baskets for years up until I found a product called a SN check the web for it. It will hold 4 hours of coals basically long enough to smoke a 16-17lb turkey. You may need to add some more coals after 4 hours though.

I do not brine a supermarket turkey as most brands like HoneySuckle White and Butterball have already been injected with a 10-15% brine.

What I like to do is the day before smoking it is mix up a mixture of a stick of butter and parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper. Later in the day as it at room temp I will pull the turkey out of the frig and put the butter mixture under the skin and any left over inside the cavity. Then I let it set over night in the frig. I then light the coals and smoke the bird until it reaches 165 in the thigh and pull it off. Delicous!!!

01.02.16

Jennie Lussow

Hi Tom! This sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing!

01.03.16

Tom W

Hi Donn and Mike smoking a turkey on my Weber Gold is one of my favorite things to do. I have used the baskets for years up until I found a product called a SN check the web for it. It will hold 4 hours of coals basically long enough to smoke a 16-17lb turkey. You may need to add some more coals after 4 hours though.

I do not brine a supermarket turkey as most brands like HoneySuckle White and Butterball have already been injected with a 10-15% brine.

What I like to do is the day before smoking it is mix up a mixture of a stick of butter and parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper. Later in the day as it at room temp I will pull the turkey out of the frig and put the butter mixture under the skin and any left over inside the cavity. Then I let it set over night in the frig. I then light the coals and smoke the bird until it reaches 165 in the thigh and pull it off. Delicous!!!

01.02.16

Jennie Lussow

Hi Tom! Your recipe sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing!

11.12.15

Donn W

Mike:
Thanks for the great article. I am a new Weber Platinum owner, and am learning to use it. I have previously used large barrel pits with a side fire box for my smoking, and it works very well.
My chef son has strongly advised me to get the Platinum and is advising me on its use. I have one question for you concerning your article on the prep of a Thanksgiving smoked turkey.
Did you soak the cherry wood chunk before putting it on the fire?
I live in the deep south and we like our smoked meats pretty strong.
I am considering trying your process to do our Thanksgiving turkey, but need a little more confidence.
Thanks again.
Donn

11.12.15

Mike Lang


Hi Donn!

Thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it! Congratulations on your new purchase. That is an awesome grill! When it comes to adding wood, I like to use chunks. Because of their size, they do not need to be soaked. Now if I was using chips, yes, I would soak them anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. In terms, of how much smoke, you may have to play around to find your "sweet spot." I'd probably use no more than a few chunks, as a little goes a long way.

With the inspiration and help from your son, as well as your new grill, I'm sure you will have all the confidence you need! Let me know how it goes!

Cheers!
Mike

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