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There must be a 1,001 ways to prepare a turkey these days, and I suspect that I picked the hardest one yesterday: I smoked a bird.
Let me tell you: Using a large, off-set barrel smoker to cook a 15-pound bird is no easy task. Not even with my friend and smoke mentor, Jim Shahin, available via cell phone. The turkey’s skin burns and cracks easily. The heat does not circulate around the turkey like with a bird on a rack in a convection oven. And you have to babysit that bird almost every minute, lest the side closest to the heat source resemble a used match.
Despite all my best coddling efforts, I still had to finish that turkey in the oven for about 30 minutes. The flavors and texture turned out well — smoky, gamy, and tender — but I still need to figure out the best way to tame this bird in a barrel smoker.
How did your Thanksgiving bird turn out?