How to Prepare a Turkey for a Smoker

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Before you cook a turkey in a smoker you must first prepare the bird in the proper way. Prepare a turkey for a smoker with help from a self-taught cook with decades of experience in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Southern Cooking
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm John McLemore, the president and CEO of Masterbuilt and the author of "DADGUM That's Good!" and "DADGUM That's Good, Too." Today, we're going to show you how to smoke a turkey. We get asked all the time, how do I prepare that turkey before smoking it? Well, first of all, you want to make sure your turkey is completely thawed, free of any ice crystals or cold pockets, before you put it into the smoker. Now a lot of times, I deep fry my turkey, which is where this recipe is actually coming from. Instead of brining that turkey that takes overnight. We're going to show you an accelerated process of brining by injecting that turkey with 16 ounces of Butterball Buttery Creole Marinade and a Cajun seasoning on the outside of that turkey, alright. We've got a one and a half ounce syringe that we're going to completely inject the breast, legs and thighs, all over the complete turkey. Alright, now the secret to injecting this turkey is, you want to put the needle in and inject that marinade in multiple locations. You notice, we're putting just a small amount of marinade in a lot of different locations. One more shot here in the leg and down here in the wing area, get up, under the skin, there you go, right there, see how that plumps up real nicely. You want to get in the thigh area and let's get two more shots here, spin this around, right in this area, here. Make sure you get underneath, in the thigh, in the back. And I believe, we've got one more shot, a little bit more on this side of the breast. Now, this is typically a deep fried turkey recipe, as I said earlier. But this marinade really goes nicely when you're doing the smoked recipe. Now, we want to take the Cajun seasoning that we put on the outside of the turkey, and completely coat the legs, the breasts, the thighs, all inside of the cavity. Completely coat the entire turkey with this seasoning. Get up, under the skin, spin it around, get on these wings. You can tuck these wings underneath there, and all the way underneath there. So that when you put them in your smoker, they're not sprawled out. But when you deep fry, do not tuck the wings, you want them to stay out, o.k. When you season it, again, you want to get inside the cavity and completely cover the entire turkey. Now, I do recommend, when you're dealing with poultry, make sure you completely wash your hands and have sanitary wipe when you're dong this recipe. Now, we're going to put this into the smoker. When you do go inside of the smoker, you want to have some protective gloves because we're going inside of a hot smoker. We've added one small handful of wood chips, and we're going to add this to the bottom rack. Now, one thing that you want to always make sure you do, always put your poultry on the bottom rack, not above any of the other side dishes that you're smoking. Now, we're going to close up the smoker, and show you this recipe. We're going to set this times, this just happens to be the Masterbuilt Smoker with the remote control. We're going to set it at 225 degrees, we're going to set the time for this particular recipe, we're going to set it for about eight hours. Our turkey is in and we're going to see it in eight hours on this particular recipe, because we've got set it at 225 for 30 minutes per pound. Now, if you want to accelerate the cooking time, just set your smoker to 275 degrees and smoke that turkey for 18 minutes per pound. I'm John McLemore, and DADGUM That's Good!


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