FRESH TURKEY: Turkey and cuts have never been below 26 °F (the temperature at which poultry freezes).
FROZEN TURKEY: Temperature of raw, frozen turkey is 0 °F or below.
BASTED, SELF BASTED or FLAVOR ENHANCED: Turkey has been injected or marinated with a solution containing butter or other edible fat, broth, stock or water plus spices, flavor enhancers and other approved substances.
KOSHER: Turkey prepared under rabbinical supervision that includes the use of salt.
NATURAL: Turkey containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed.
ORGANIC: Turkey has the approval and certification of the USDA, which includes strict regulations on organic feed, free range access and no antibiotics
YOUNG TURKEY: Turkeys that are less than 8 months of age and are considered more tender. Domesticated turkeys grow real fast, so chances are it will be a young turkey.
FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING: Turkey has been allowed access to the outside.
BROAD-BREASTED WHITE: The most common type of turkey raised in the United States. This farm-raised domesticated turkey yields a higher breast meat content and has white skin and feathers.
HERITAGE: Turkey breeds indigenous to the Americas, dating to early Colonial times. They have less breast meat than domesticated turkeys with a flavor some describe as gamy.
Smoke & Roast Turkey1 natural turkey (thawed if previously frozen)2 tablespoons of canola oilZest of one orangeAluminum foilOven-proof thermometerGrill/smokerBrine4 to 6 quarts of brine
For every 2 quarts of water mix:
½ cup canning/table salt or 1 cup kosher1 cup sugar1 tablespoon pickling spices (optional)1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)Juice from 1 orange (optional)Plastic brining bag or a resealable plastic bag large enough for your turkey.BriningPlace turkey into brining bag, be sure to remove the giblets and neck from body and neck cavity first.
Mix up 2 quarts of brine at a time by mixing brine ingredients with water.
Add brine to brining bag, 2 quarts at a time until the turkey is fully covered, and then seal bag.
Place bag in a roasting pan to catch any liquid (if the bag springs a leak), then place into the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Remove turkey from brine and rinse off in cold water. Pat dry with paper towel, and put back into refrigerator on roasting pan for 4 hours to air-dry the skin.
SmokingPre-heat smoker to 225º, if you don’t have a smoker you can set your grill up for indirect heat and put some wood chips in a foil pouch to add some smoke.
Take turkey out of the refrigerator and rub 2 tablespoons of canola oil on the skin along with the zest of one orange (optional).
Place turkey breast side up in smoker directly on rack (no-pan) and insert thermometer probe into the thickest part of the breast. Smoke for 1 or 2 hours depending on how much smoke flavor you want. I would suggest trying 1 hour the first time smoking a turkey and adjust your smoke time accordingly for the next time you fix a smoked turkey.
After smoking, raise the temperature to the smoker/grill to 325ºF and roast until the temperature on the thermometer reaches 160ºF. If your smoker cannot get to 325ºF, use your oven.
Here is an approximate roasting time chart to use after the bird has been smoked. Times can vary wildly depending on all sorts of factors. So be sure to keep checking the temperature on the thermometer.
Turkey WeightCooking Time
8 to 12 pounds 1 ½ to 2 hours
12 to 14 pounds2 to 2 ½ hours
14 to 18 pounds 2 ½ to 3 hours
18 to 24 pounds3 to 3 ½ hours
While turkey is roasting, use aluminum foil to protect skin once brown from burning.
Pull Turkey from oven/grill when the thermometer reaches 160ºF, then let rest, uncovered for 20 minutes before carving.
If Turkey finishes early you can leave the temperature probe in breast and cover or place in (cool) oven to try to hold the temp of the bird. If the thermometer temp goes bellow 140ºF, wrap bird in foil and reheat in oven at its lowest temperature settings till the temp reads 145ºF - 150ºF, then turn oven off. The Turkey should be good for another hour.