Spatchcocking (butterflying) your turkey isn’t traditional but more effective for two reasons.
The whole turkey will cook faster and more evenly so the breast won’t dry out while the rest of the meat is coming up to temperature.
Opening the turkey up helps it absorb more smoke, and you can cover the bird more completely with Rollin Blue BBQ rub.
2. Smoke hotter than usual
Cooking low and slow (225°F) will get you rubbery skin...no one, and I mean, no one wants that.
The target temp for your smoker should be between 275 – 350°F. At this temperature, the turkey may take up to 45 min to an hour per pound.
For the last 30-45 min, crank that smoker up to 425°F to get that crispiness. Be careful not to overcook your chicken because temp will rise quicker.
No matter how you cook it, your bird must reach an internal temperature of 165°F at its thickest point. This point is usually in the thigh, which takes longer to cook than the breast.
3. Brine your turkey
Turkey is lean meat that is susceptible to losing juiciness over long cooks. The best way to prevent dry turkey is with a 24-hour brine. If you don’t have that full 24 hours, then I’d recommend using an injector.
4. Monitor your turkey temperature with a wireless thermometer
Don’t rely on the built-in thermometer on your smoker (it’s not accurate) or the cheap pop-up thermometer that comes with some turkeys. These can’t be relied on for something as crucial as thanksgiving dinner.
Invest in a multi-probe thermometer so you can measure the internal temperature of the bird’s breast and leg while ensuring your smoker’s ambient temperature stays at the ideal temperature.
Another reason to monitor the ambient temp is, so you don’t keep opening your smoker to check it!
Big hunks of meat don’t always stick to your plan. This cooler method is traditionally for brisket but can work perfectly for a turkey as well.
If the bird finishes early, wrap the turkey in preferably butcher paper (tin foil can work too). Then set it in an empty cooler. If it finishes 1hr+ early, then wrap it in a towel after the butcher paper and finally place it into your cooler.
Bonus: Get two small turkeys instead of one large one
One larger bird tends to dry out since it takes so much longer to cook. Two smaller birds (around 12 – 14 pounds each) allow you to cook them faster and avoid overcooking while still having plenty of meat.
Additionally, younger birds tend to have more tender meat.
Finally, there’s more crispy skin, which we all know is the best part of the bird.
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