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My Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey Was A Huge Success!

Nov 28, 2007
My wife wouldn't let me in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day! Even though the aroma emanating from the oven was making me giddy, Except for the food I cook on the barbeque grill, I'm not allowed even close to the kitchen!

The turkey I smoked this year was the best I have ever cooked, bar none. It's not bragging if it's the truth. Guests for Thanksgiving must have thought so too, for we had no turkey left over except a few scraps for the cat.

I did something different this year. I decided to bring the bird. For years I had heard that this would somehow make the turkey taste better. I thought it would only make it taste salty. Was I wrong! The taste was wonderful!

Brining the bird flavors and seals in the juices, making extra seasoning unnecessary. Smaller turkeys are easier to smoke than large ones and they're more likely to fit in the brine bucket. It also allows it to cook more evenly, for when I lifted the lid to take it off the grill, the turkey fell apart; it was so tender.

My reason for not having brined the bird before now was simple. I'm lazy and I thought brining would be a complicated affair. It wasn't. First I poured 2 1/2 gallons of water into a clean plastic bucket. Then I added 1 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cup of sea salt, 1 rounded cup of brown sugar, 4 shredded sage leaves, 3 tablespoons of fresh thyme and two tablespoons of restaurant grade black pepper. After mixing this up I stuffed the turkey into the bucket, completely submerged in the brine. The bucket rested in the refrigerator about 20 hours.

For smoking turkeys in the fall or winter, I prefer an electric smoker because it holds a constant temperature. After I rinsed all the salt off the bird, I simply placed it on the grill and closed the lid. I threw a few small hickory chunks on the floor of the smoker as the bird cooked. The turkey began cooking at 10:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve and I took it off at 7:30 the next morning. I never lifted the lid of the smoker until it was time to remove the bird.

While I admired the smoke that casually drifted from the top of the smoker, I reflected that life has been good and that this year I had a few more things for which to thank the good Lord for than I usually do.

I gave thanks for the successful major surgery of my daughter's cancer. Even though the chemotherapy and radiation is taking a terrible toll on her physically, the doctor's assure us that when it's all finished, she'll be cancer free.

I'm also grateful that God has given her a terrific sense of humor and a positive attitude about the whole thing. Even though she no doubt gets that trait from her old man, I'm not sure I could handle a similar situation with the faith and class that she's exhibited.

I'm especially thankful that in spite of my doctor's best efforts to kill me with various assortments of blood pressure pills; he has finally concocted a potion that's keeping my blood pressure at a constant level for the first time in years. For the last couple of months the pressure has gone from 200/100 down to 80/40 at midday, then back up to 180/100 at bed time. I don't need roller coaster rides like that!

I thank Him each night for our service men and women who put their lives on the line in different parts of the world, so that I have the freedom to roast a turkey on the grill any time I like, without having to worry about someone firing rockets at my smoker, mistakenly thinking it's a threat to someone.

I thanked God for my family, kids and grandkids all; each one with their own individual hopes and dreams, successes and failures.

There are more blessings than any of us have time to recall or even appreciate. We'll had our annual Thanksgiving feast, with the table sagging with turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green peas and other delicious foods, leaving enough scraps that would feed many families for a week. We indeed have a lot to be thankful for; not only on Thanksgiving Day!
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
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