How to Smoke a Turkey in a BBQ Pit

Smoke a Turkey in a BBQ Pit
Smoke a Turkey in a BBQ Pit (Image: www.bbqjunkie.com)

Once upon a time a barbecue pit was a hole in the ground, but today they have a second name: a BBQ smoker. Barbecue pits of today are surrounded by metal and have wheels for easy maneuvering. BBQ smokers are considered by purists to be what barbecue is all about. The slow cooking allows the flavor to develop in a natural and delicious way. The end result is a juicy and tender meat every time.

Things You'll Need

  • 12 to 14 pound turkey
  • BBQ pit (smoker)
  • Propane torch
  • Apple juice
  • Meat thermometer

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Thaw the turkey if it is frozen. This could take a couple of days. If you need the turkey thawed within about eight hours then cold running tap water will do the trick. Be sure to wrap the turkey in a garbage bag so the water does not get into the turkey and dilute its flavor.

Unwrap the bird, remove the giblets and cut off any loose skin around the edges.

Start the smoker. Open all the vents and light the fire. The easiest way to do this is with a propane torch. But you can use kindling instead.

Place the turkey into the barbecue pit.

Start the smoke. The BBQ pit will do a fair amount of smoking by itself. If you want a specific type of flavor add the woods chips now. If the turkey ends up very dark that is because you used too many chips. This is a trial and error format that really does depend on your individual tastes. Try adding a few chips your first time and add more each subsequent time to get that perfect result for you

Reach the desired temperature. You want to get the temperature to 225 degrees. Once there, maintain a constant temperature between 225 and 250 degrees. This can be done by manipulating your vents on the smoker.

Check your turkey every hour. Spray the turkey with some apple juice and add more apple juice to the water pan. You can add any spices you would like during this period as well.

Check the internal temperature of the turkey after 4 hours. The turkey is ready to be pulled when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Just so you know, a turkey usually takes 30 to 40 minutes per pound to cook.

Remove the turkey. Let the bird sit for 15 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey. This also helps make the carving process easier.

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