Monday, November 23, 2009

Smoked Turkey on the Traeger Grill


SMOKED TURKEY

1. Select a fresh or thawed turkey ( 15 lbs). Allow about 1-1/2 lbs of uncooked turkey per person. If frozen, place the turkey in a plastic bag and let it thaw in the refrigerator (takes 24 hours of thawing for every 5 lbs of turkey....that means 3 days for a 15 lb turkey). If you are in a hurry, leave the turkey in its original bag, put it in the sink and fill the sink with cold water to cover. Change the water every 60 minutes. Takes about 30 minutes per lb to thaw....that means 7-1/2 hrs. If you are really in a hurry, thaw using your microwave if its a smaller bird. After turkey is thawed, remove from package and rinse with cold water. Remove the neck and giblets. Cut off the excess skin in front of the turkey breast.

2. Prepare the following brine mixture in a large tub or bowl: 2 cups Traeger BBQ Rub and enough water to cover the turkey. Mix thoroughly and then submerge the turkey in the brine mixture. Place turkey in tub or plastic garbage bag and place on the bottom shelf in your refrigerator. Soak for 6-8 hours. If you are out of Traeger BBQ Rub try: 1-1/2 cups salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon of garlic salt, and 2 tablespoons of black pepper.

3. Start your Traeger grill-with the lid open with setting on smoke. Once the fire is established in the firepot, run on HIGH (450F) for 20 minutes, then switch back to Smoke. Place the turkey on the center of the grill breast up, close the lid and smoke for 3- 4 hours ( 6- 8 hrs if you want even more smoke flavor). Check the grill every hour or so to make sure it is smoking.

4. After Smoking is completed, switch to MEDIUM (275-300F) to finish cooking the turkey. This should take about 2-4 hours depending on the outside temperature and the size of the turkey. Use the following chart as a guide. Always test for doneness with a meat thermometer. Breast meat is done at 170 and thigh meat at 180 degrees F.

Turkey Weight Post-Smoke cooking time
10-13 lbs 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 hours
14-23 lbs 2 to 3 hours
24-27 lbs 3 to 3-1/4 hours
28-30 lbs 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours

5. If you are not pre-smoking your turkey you can simply cook on MEDIUM (300-350F) with an average cooking time of approximately 25-30 minutes per lb.

20 comments:

  1. I found this interesting and got up and started my 11 lb fresh turkey at 3:30 AM. It had been brined for a day and 1/2. I checked it at 6:30 and in the thigh area(closest to the heat) it was 171 degrees. The breast was 160 . The temperature outside was 10 degrees and it was windy but I had pulled the grill into a kind of sheltered area but still cold and windy.

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  2. thats a bummer Kay....I have found that cooking with the Traeger Temperature rules Time...It's tough to get the timing right, but the temperature gives great results. hope your company spent the night last night ;-)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  3. What kind of pellets were you using? I find the hottest to be grapevine and mesquite. Although their flavor is sharper and not as sweet as I like if you baste it with a really sweet baste then that helps. Some of the better flavor woods like apple to me seem to not burn as hot.

    This is my theory at least and I would love to hear what others say.

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  4. I created a mix of apple and pecan pellets. I brined my 12 lb bird for 1 day, and stuffed the cavity with a quartered onion and two quartered apples. I started it on the Traeger as instructed above at 3:30 am. Our outside temp was about 30 degrees. I used a remote thermometer (main unit is outside and it transmits the temp wirelessly to another unit inside.) I checked at 6:30 am and things were going strong. I smoked until about 11:30 then turned it to medium to finish it off. I pulled it from the grill around 12:15 pm. It was GORGEOUS! Beautiful and golden. And the flavor was amazing (as with EVERYTHING I have ever cooked on the Traeger)!

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  5. I just got a traeger in September and have had a great time smoking. BUT I don't feel that traeger gives the meat that much smoke flavor. does anyone else feel the same way? and is there anything we can do about it. I have heard that the traeger pellets are not 100% natural wood, it has fillers. does anyone else use other pellets for better results? I love it but am a little disappointed in the smoking portion.

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    1. Remember, it will only produce smoke at the 180 degree thru 200degrees setting...No fillers in there pellets ! Try adding more time? If you need...you could always add a smoker box directly on top of heat plate over the fire box after you smoke,then raise temps higher...As you will need more heat to smoke chips above fire box...Or use Mesquite or Hickory for a more intense flavor? Hope that helps !

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    2. I ordered a Smoke Daddy cold smoker and added it to my Traeger. I'm thrilled with the results. Check it out at smokedaddyinc.com

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  6. I have heard it does and does not there are other pellets out there to try. I may try some later next year but the key to the smoke is the outside temp. If you are in a warmer climate, I am in Phoenix, during the summer the smoke is not there. My grill will never get below 160. But I just did a smoked turkey this morning. outside temp is around 50 F - plenty of smoke. I used hickory, no brine (in a hurry to test) smoke a 14# for 8 hours. Will update to the taste later.

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  7. I've had the Traeger Texas Grill for three and half years, and I BBQ about once a week, rain or shine--smoked my turkey in a down poor last year.

    I really enjoy using the Traeger as an oven at the higher temperatures, and it roast a chicken to perfection in an hour at 375F. But the real money is in the low and slow.

    This years I'm doing two turkeys and a ham. One turkey and the ham in the Traeger, and the other turkey in the oven, a la Alton Brown's Butterflied and Dry Brined Turkey.

    I will use the Whiskey Glazed Smoked Ham recipe from the BBQ Pit Boys. This will be my second year on this recipe. It's the best I've ever had. Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zmeQ6Wgh_o.

    Good luck and the very best to you and yours.

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  8. I always pull my turkey (or chicken) at 160 for breast temperature... higher than that and it starts to dry out. I let it rest and it climbs up to 165 - that is when I then carve the bird and dinner is served... At least that is what happened once, the other times I ended up waiting for other food items to finish and the turkey cooled off. Oh well, it still tasted good! :-)

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  9. Yeah Gig there are better pellets out there. Costco carried some that were much better. I agree that some things are quite as smokey as I had hoped.

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  10. I use 100% hardwood pellets from www.cookinpellets.com. I liked them enough I bought a pallet load. They sell 100% hickory or a great blend of hickory, cherry, hardwood maple and Apple. About same price as Traeger Pellets.

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  11. try a pan of water over the flat plate and below the slant plate to get smoke at higher ambient temps. colder works better but it heats over time. ice helps too. the setting still needs to be on smoke.

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  12. So if I read this right, for a 20-lb bird (Costco didn't have anything smaller) I'm looking at smoke time of say 6 hours, plus 3 hours more of cooking time, or 9 hours total? I better get up early...

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    1. Michael, you & I have the same situation. Hoping I don't have a 9 hour gig ahead of me:(

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  13. so I want to smoke 2 turkeys do i still do the times above or how do i figure it out

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  15. Andrew, you can pack it as full as you want assuming that nothing it touching and it will not increase the cooking times by much (30min +/-). The smoker is convection so the air needs to be able to circulate completely around the meat and you don't have to leave inches, just enough that they don't touch anywhere not even the sides. I highly suggest the thermometers with the wired (or wireless) lead ($20 at home depot) so you never have to open the door and let the heat escape until the meat is done. That alone saves a lot of time and you can help offset any extra cooking time for your stuffed smoker by never having to open the lid. If your smoker is stuffed front to back, one thing to keep an eye on is the gap at the very front and the very back of the cooking grate where the hot air bypasses the heat plate. It's hotter there and cooks faster so keep an eye on those places and you may want to rotate the meat a time or two. Good luck!

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  16. I followed the instructions for smoking/cooking. The bird weighed in at 13 lbs. and was a bit tight at the top of the breast, not a lot of spare room in the
    Jr. model. 4 hrs. on smoke and 4 hrs. at medium to finish with a breast temp. of 170 and thigh at 190+. Based on family reaction and comments I'm
    sure that this will not be the last time for this. The smoking was done on Weds. and served today for our feast. This was my 1st attempt at smoking any kind of meat and I'm very pleased at the results.

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