Thanksgiving Hero – Grilled & Smoked Turkey
Because it’s Thanksgiving!
Last year we had family in for Thanksgiving so we had to cook dinner. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to try not one, but two new (to me) methods of cooking the turkeys. (This is a somewhat risky strategy because as you know the turkey is the linchpin of Thankgiving dinner – so I was more than a little nervous.
I grilled one bird on the Weber, and smoked the other on the Traeger.
Drumroll please . . . They came out great. We ate right on time – 4:00 PM and both birds were very well cooked. The smoked turkey on the Traeger took about 5.5 hours. The turkey on the Weber only took 2.75 hours.
I cooked both to an internal temperature (instant read thermometer) of 170 degrees and then took them off. Preparation was simple. Two 15 lb fresh organic turkeys (from the local food co-op) brought to room temperature and then dressed with a simple rub of olive oil, salt, pepper and finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. I chopped up some apples, drenched them in the rub and put them in the cavities – just for flavor. (No stuffing.)
For cooking, I ran the Traeger on high for about 45 minutes and then turned it down to medium for about the next 4 hours. I then ran it on high for about 30 minutes to get up to 170 degrees. No turning, no basting, etc. On the Weber, I just followed their instructions from the website Smoking a Whole Turkey. You just put the turkey in the middle with drip pan underneath. About 75 coals in two piles (on either side of the turkey) then add 8 briquettes per side per hour. That was it.
I was pretty surprised that they came out as well as they did – and will definitely do it again. They tasted great and there was no messy turkey pan to clean!