Well, it took less time than anticipated to unleash a smoked meal post here at Cook Until Epic. I had my parents over a few weeks back for a dinner I prepared on the smoker. Mom enjoyed it enough that the next time I talked to her she asked if I thought I could smoke a turkey. I said I’d love to. Her response? “Good, because I just bought a 20lb bird!”. Looked like I was cooking dinner for Mother’s Day.
Read on to see how this bird turned out.
A 20lb. turkey was the largest thing I had ever smoked. I knew it had potential if I prepared it properly. The rest of the job was up to the smoker. For starters, I gave it 4 days in the fridge to thaw. The night before I set it in a brine solution so I’d have a juicy bird. Foam cooler, trash bag, and ice were used to brine in. My brine solution was roughly 1 cup pickling salt to one gallon of water. I added enough water to cover the bird completely and let it sit over night.
Sunday morning I pulled the bird from the brine and let it sit while I fired up the smoker. It was then time to rub.
While I’d like to take credit for the rub, it was 75% Mrs. Dash Chicken. Researching rubs for a turkey came down to the same basic ingredients- no salt, herbs like Parsley, Sage, and Thyme. The rub ended up consisting of:
- Mrs. Dash Chicken
- Black Pepper
- Penzey’s Spices Murals of Flavor
- Olive Oil
Applying the rub was quite messy since I tried to cover as much of the turkey as possible. Getting as much under the skin was the important part.
Putting the turkey on the smoker was the real moment of truth. I managed to get it to sit vertical on the smoker. This was important to getting full smoke penetration inside and out. I ended up using a butter knife to lean the turkey up against.
Close the lid and leave it alone. I used a mix of mesquite and cherry wood. I knew the skin would do a good job to block out some of the smoke so I used about 10oz. of wood chunks over the course of the cooking.
I started promptly at 9am. Ambient temperature fluctuated from 60 to 68 degrees over the course of the cook time. The deepest part of the turkey breast hit 160 degrees at about 3:30pm. I pulled it off the smoker at this time as the heat in the turkey would allow it to reach 165 degrees without any more cook time.
After it rested, I carved and served immediately. So moist and flavorful!
Mom loved it! Paired with cranberry, coleslaw, and rolls this Mother’s Day was delicious.
Kid cooked – Mom approved.