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Stiltner Family Recipes

Smoked Turkey

You need - a charcoal water smoker - the kind that uses a big bed of smouldering charcoal under a water pan to cook the food for upwards of several hours.

Next, of course - a turkey big enough for the expected (and unexpected) guests.

Prepare the cooker as follows -

Fill the charcoal pan with a big mound of charcoal - as much as the pan can hold. Add any aromatic woods per your preference, such as hickory, apple, cherry, etc. You are aiming for a fire that will smoulder for some 6 - 10 hours.

Add a liberal sprinkling of charcoal lighter fluid, let that stand for several minutes and then light it.

Prepare the turkey as follows -

Assuming you got the turkey almost thawed, make sure it is completely thawed by soaking it in a tub of warm water until completely thawed. Of course use the soak to wash the meat and make sure everything is clean.

Make up a "dressing" to fill the cavity from chopping up two large white onions and about two bunches of celery into about 1 inch cubes. Make up a liquid "rub" with cup each of canola cooking oil and cooking wine, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of steak sauce, a teaspoon each of sage, marjoram, and nutmeg spices. Rub down both the inside and outside of the meat with this rub. Then fill the cavities with this onions and celery dressing and add some of the rub - enough to moisten the cavity.

Fasten the openings with skewers and cord. Aim to lay the turkey on its back with the wings twisted back under the body.

By now, the charcoal in the smoker should be uniformly smouldering and ready to use. Put the water pan over the charcoal and fill it with hot water and the rest of the bottle of cooking wine.

Put the prepared turkey on its back on the grill over the water pan. And apply a liberal washing of the rub over the entire surface of the turkey before you put on the cooker cover.

Repeat applying the rub every fifteen minutes for the first hour or so, until the turkey skin seals from the heat.

After that, check the water pan about every half hour, topping it up with water as needed. *** Do not let the water pan go dry! ***

Estimate a cooking time of 6 - 8 hours for an 8 - 12 pound turkey, on up to 10 - 12 hours for a 14 - 18 pound turkey. The turkey should be done when the leg moves easily in its joint, or the temperature in the breast is up to 180 degrees.


E. Stiltner
November 23, 2000
Copyright © 2000, E. Stiltner
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