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Best Smoker For Turkey Latest Reviews - Enhance Your Interior Space

Megan Boulet
  Sep 30, 2022 9:38 AM

The best smoker for turkey not only supports you in daily household tasks but also makes your house more eye-catching. But how to choose the right one?


I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love Thanksgiving AND I absolutely love smoked turkey!  What a better way to spend the holidays than by having a great big cookout with your nearest and dearest. Shock and awe your friends with amazing Thanksgiving home smoked whole turkey fresh from your very own smoker. Check out five of the very best smokers for turkey below.

Cooking a turkey outside will keep your kitchen from becoming a sauna – and you’ll free up your oven to be used for all your favorite side dishes.

Your smoked turkey doesn’t have to be store bought – you can get yourself a great family sized smoker for smoking your Thanksgiving turkey right at home.

Even if you’ve never smoked a turkey in your life, we’ve got all the guidance you need in our handy buyers guide, complete with answers to your most frequently asked questions.


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Buyer’s Guide

Within this buying guide we will look at what to consider when buying a smoker for smoking your Thanksgiving turkey.

Type of Smoker

There’s a wide scope of smokers out there.  You’ve got your vertical, horizontal, offset, charcoal, gas, wood chip, pellet, electrical, your reverse flow smoker, and even your smoker-grill combos.

When it comes to smoking your turkey, which type of smoker you use has a direct impact on cooking temperatures and times. Electric smokers are by far the fastest, but you’d miss out on that smokey charcoal or wood chip taste.

For any outdoor smoking, you need also to consider the smokers’ insulation against the weather.  That’s where smoker brand comes into it.

Good brand

There are a number of really good smoker brands out there.  When you go for a well known and trusted brand, you can be assured of such things as build quality and durability.  We have only looked at good brands in our Top 5 Best Smokers For Turkey.

Affordability

You don’t need to go all out and spend a thousand dollars plus on a smoker just for Thanksgiving dinner.  In fact many really good smokers come in at under 300 dollars. You need to ensure good value for money – don’t be ripped off!

The Must Have Accessories

Where would your Thanksgiving dinner be without gravy?  In our top 5 featured smokers we only list smokers that feature a grease tray or bucket to collect all those lovely drippings for your gravy.

Sometimes a turkey will come with a cheap pop-up thermometer – DO NOT rely on this.  We recommend using probing thermometers that can go right into the meat at the thickest part, so you can check the temperature reading where it really counts.  The best smokers will come with dual probe temperature gauges.

These days you can even get Smart technology digital temperature controls that hook up via Bluetooth directly to your iPhone, IPad, or android device.  However you will have to weigh up the extra cost against getting good value for money.

Nonetheless, if your chosen smoker does not feature meat probe temperature gauges, you can purchase these separately, complete with that Smart Bluetooth technology.


FAQs

Why should I smoke my turkey?

When you roast a turkey in the oven you run the risk of it becoming too dry, and it’s impossible to cook a large bird like your Thanksgiving turkey on a barbecue grill.

If you smoke the turkey however, the turkey is being continuously basted by the smoke, so it doesn’t dry out.  Not only that but the smoke delivers incredible flavor making – you won’t need to add any seasoning beyond a little salt and pepper.

Turkey is a very delicate meat that doesn’t have a lot of connective tissue or fat.  This means that it will dry out and darken quickly as well as absorb the flavors of smoke much more easily than other meat does.

What size turkey is best for smoking?

Normally, your tukey should be no more than 13 to 15 pounds for smoking.  If more turkey is needed it’s better to smoke two at the same time rather than one larger one.

If you did want to smoke a larger turkey, and you  don’t have enough lid clearance, you can always take the backbone out and spread the turkey out a bit.  This is known as spatchcocking. This technique means that the turkey will cook faster because it’s thinner, absorb more smoke, and allow any flavoring or rub you use to cover the bird more completely.

How do I choose the right turkey?

Having too little turkey would be an absolute disaster!  We would recommend using one to one and a half pound weight of turkey per adult dining.  This will ensure that no one goes hungry, and you may even have leftovers for some delicious turkey and cranberry sandwiches!

As you can gather from what we described earlier, if you wanted to cook 15 pounds or more of turkey in your smoker, you are best off buying 2 turkeys.

Decide whether to purchase a fresh or frozen turkey.  If you choose frozen, you need to ensure that the turkey is thoroughly defrosted before cooking.  If you’re buying your turkey fresh from a butcher, we recommend placing your order early. A fresh turkey can sit in a refrigerator for 1 to 2 days and should be kept within the packaging whilst there.

A Butterball turkey, which comes pre-brined, can also be smoked in your smoker – you can find several how-to videos on how to do so online.

What are the best wood chip fuel to smoke my turkey with?

Standard hickory or mesquite wood chips will impart a really good solid smokiness to your turkey.  But if you’re after something more subtle that won’t mask the turkey taste, try mild fruitwood chips, such as apple.   Alternatively you could try soaking the wood chips in water, fruit juice or wine.

Can I fit a whole turkey into a smoker or do I need to cut it first?

Some people have found that by slicing the turkey before placing it in a smoker means that it will more quickly.  However you will lose presentation marks. For best results, we endorse placing the whole turkey into the smoker. If you find your struggling to fit it in, please refer to our FAQ question and answer on “What size turkey is best for smoking?”

How to prepare my turkey for smoking?

There are several ways you can prepare your turkey for smoking.  You can simply do nothing, or you can add a simple rub, or you can brine, marinade it, or do some sort of combination.  Each method has its merits and drawbacks.

Traditionalists will tend to go for buttering or basting, and this is often the go-to choice for people using a wood smoker.

Many people like to go for a simple rub – primarily because there are thousands of different rubs out there.  You can buy a ready made one or make up your own with some simple herbs and spices. A rub also helps to catch the smoke you use to cook the turkey.

Brining the turkey not only helps to tenderise the meat, it also keeps your turkey moist all the while. It does however require the most preparation.

Marinating is popular too.  Unlike brines, which are salty solutions, marinades are acidic solutions.  The acid in the marinade helps to tenderize the meat, so you will need to be careful and don’t marinate for too long.

How long to smoke my turkey for?

Once the smoker reaches a temperature of about 240 degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to smoke the turkey for 30 minutes per pound weight of turkey.  This gets quicker at higher temperatures.

How do you solve the gravy problem when smoking your turkey?

You may decide that your smoked turkey tastes so good and the texture is sufficiently moist and juicy that you don’t feel the need for gravy.  However most smokers come with a drip tray for the grease, so you can collect all the lovely juices in there to make your gravy with.

Any other tips?

We suggest that you set the turkey in the smoker breast side up, and that you insert the digital probe meat thermometer, if you have one, into the thickest part of the breast or thigh. No matter what temperature you cook at, your turkey must reach an internal temperature of 165°F at its thickest point.

We also recommend that you don’t put any traditional style stuffing in the cavity of the turkey – smoke temperatures between 250 degrees Fahrenheit and 300 degrees aren’t hot enough to cover any food safety issues about stuffing.

However, you can go ahead and add some onion, celery, spices, or even an orange.


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