J and I received this smoker for Christmas last year.  We decided to try it out this weekend on a whole turkey. 

This was our first time ever smoking anything, so it was kind of experimental.  We did some research, read a few different pages with tips and tricks, then we went for it.

All carved up for lunch!

We started out brining the turkey in a basic brine of:
4 gallons water (we doubled the recipe because we used a cooler since we wouldn’t have had fridge space)4 cups kosher salt
2 cups sugar
Just boil it all together until the salt and sugar dissolve completely, then let it cool completely.  We lined our cooler with a clean garbage bag, placed a small bag of ice under the garbage bag, filled it with the brine, then set in the turkey.  We left it overnight – total about 12 hours.

In the morning we took the turkey out of the brine, rinsed it, dried it, then set it in the fridge until ready to cook.

We heated the grill in the side firebox using charcoal.  We let that heat until the coals turned red.  While the grill heated, we rubbed the turkey with a simple rub of:
4 T garlic salt
4 T onion salt
1 T cayenne
1 T black pepper

We made sure to get underneath the skin for lots of flavor, then we held the skin down with some toothpicks, to help keep the turkey moist.

Just before we put the turkey on the grill, we added some hickory wood chips that we had soaked in water for about 20 minutes, then we placed the turkey on the grill, breast side up.

It took about 4 hours for the turkey to cook through – the breast should be at 160 and the thighs at 170.  The breasts seemed to reach the temp much more quickly than the thighs, so we put some foil over the breasts to hopefully help them not to dry out.

During the cooking time – we definitely had some problems keeping the temperature regulated.  We also realized that even though the chips had been soaked, they still burned way too fast.  About an hour into cooking J took a quick trip to Home Depot to larger hickory pieces that would last longer.  That definitely made a difference.

Even with that – we had to check the thermometer every half hour or so and try to get the temp higher or lower by opening/closing the vents or adding more hickory.
If anyone has any tips on regulating the temperature, I’d love to hear them!!
Once the turkey was done we set it on the counter to cool.  We actually made it to use in our lunches this week so we carved it and placed it into containers, one of which we froze for next week. But of course we both had a little taste!  And it was delicious!  Slightly salty – I think we can cut down on the salt and the brine, and don’t really need any salt, or very little, in the rub.  But it wasn’t over-powering and the smoky flavor is really delicious!
Straight off the smoker!  I know it looks burnt, but it’s just the skin. The meat was tender and delicious!
I’m excited to see how the brisket and chicken turn out this weekend.  Any tips?
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