Pit Master Gary Wiviott: How To Smoke a Turkey

Pit Master and Chef Gary Wiviott delighted our Chef’s Table guests with his “low and slow” barbecue. Now he’s also gracious enough to give his technique for smoking a turkey! His method includes “spatchcocking”, which means you remove the backbone, ensuring more even cooking.

Smoked Turkey

Turkey, not ‘enhanced’ 12-15 pounds
– Leg/Thigh disjointed (Grasp the turkey leg in one hand, the thigh in another and bend/snap the joint out of the socket. Do not remove leg/thigh from the turkey.)
– Remove backbone. This, in combination with moving the thigh/leg portion higher onto the breast, which serves to slightly insulate the breast from the heat, allows the turkey thigh and breast to finish at approximately the same time.
– Brine* for 24-hours (see below)
– Thoroughly dry bird.

– Wood, lump charcoal fire. 225 – 250 moderate smoke.

– Lightly oil turkey, dust with rub of choice
– Place open cavity of turkey, where backbone was removed, on grate so bird is in the ‘up’ position.
– Tie leg/thigh over the breast. Legs are in the up position.
– Turkey will take approx 3-4 hours, target 155 in the breast, 165 in the thigh. Juices should run clear
– Let rest 15 minutes before carving.

– Note: Turkey backbone is completely removed and there is an open cavity underneath facing the cooking grate.

* Turkey Brine:

1 gallon of water, or enough to immerse the turkey
1/2 cup kosher salt (per gallon of liquid)
1/3 cup brown sugar (per gallon of liquid)

24-hour full immersion brine.

One half-gallon buttermilk added to the basic mixture to make one gallon of liquid total.







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