So I have an actual confession. Sigh. Here goes. I've been selling whole smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving for about 10 years now. I had never actually eaten much of one until last Thanksgiving dinner at my granny's house.
See, one of my aunts is maybe not what you'd call "real bright." She took the turkey we were supposed to cook out of the freezer and stuck it in the fridge in our garage probably the night before. Now if you've ever made a turkey, you know this simply will not do. Luckily, I had an extra smoked turkey from work, which I took over there thinking we might need it or give it away. Lucky us, we had it for our big dinner.
Dude. It was awesome.
I'm making another one for us this year, and Kathy's getting one, too.
I'll start with how to reheat a smoked turkey, so you can stop reading if that's all you want to know. If you get one from me, it'll come in a disposable aluminum pan with foil on top. You've got two options. Either heat up your oven to 325, or get out your roaster oven or giant crock pot. Either way, you're gonna steam this bad boy to get it hot. It'll take about an hour or so. Add water or chicken broth to your turkey vessel, then just walk away and forget it. If you think you want to eat the skin, you can stick it under the broiler to crisp it back up. Brush it with some butter if you do.
So when I do my smoked turkeys, I keep things pretty simple. I have a gigantic rotisserie smoker, so that part makes it easy. It has electronic temperature control, so all I have to do is prep the birds, build a fire, set the temperature, and keep the fire going. I should note here that since we're in the Ozarks, we smoke with hickory. Not even fruit wood, and I think oak smells like poop when you cut it up. Hickory it is. It's plentiful, and I love the flavor.
To get my turkey ready for smoking, I do just a few essential things:
(You have to first of all make sure you get rid of all the impedimenta. Unwrap it. Take the giblets out and feed them to your cat. Take the plastic thingy off its legs (they turkey, not the cat). Be sure you check all its orifices for bags of mysterious gravy mix and stuff. Your cat will love that. I say this because once my drug addict ex-husband put one in the smoker with one of those plastic bags of stuff still in it. Don't do drugs, y'all.)
Assemble your troops. Melt a whole bunch of real butter. Get you some coarse ground salt and pepper. Run out to your garden and cut a couple of large sprigs of fresh sage and rosemary.