How To Prepare A Turkey For Smoking
The first thing to do is to choose the perfect size of turkey for your expected guests. The safest size is always at 14-16lb because it covers a large portion but at the same time, easier to cook than very large ones.
If you are buying a frozen turkey, make sure that it has fully defrosted before moving to the brining stage. On average, it takes three days for the frozen turkey to fully defrost.
The best way to defrost is always in the refrigerator. Never leave the frozen turkey to defrost in your countertop because you are risking it for bacteria contamination. After defrosting the turkey, prepare it for dressing. You must remove the giblets from the cavity. You can save the giblets for later once you prepare your gravy.
The final preparation before smoking the turkey is brining it. In the next section, you will know more about the brining phase including the two types of brining to use, the ingredients needed and how to do it. All you must know in this section is that brining takes 24-28mins to finish.
At this point, you must have also prepared the wood chips that you will use for the pellet grill. The best wood chips or pellets to use for smoked turkey would be apple, cherry, maple, and pecan wood pellets. Combining hickory or oak pellets also enrich the aroma of the smoked turkey without overpowering the sweet and savory effect of applewood.
Smoking Ham On A Pellet Grill
Most families make their holiday meals in their ovenand while thats a great way to do it, using your pellet grill smoker to cook classics like holiday hams is an even better idea.
Whether you need a twice smoked ham for Christmas, Easter, or another festive celebration, this double smoked ham is the juicy, flavorful, and delicious recipe youre looking for. With a brown sugar glaze on the outside, your hams exterior develops a sweet and crispy caramelization.
But the best part of all? Its simple and easy to make because your twice smoked ham needs little attention while it smokes on your pellet grill.
How To Store Smoked Ham In The Right Way
There is a note that when buying ham from stores, you need to choose ham carefully. You should choose the ham from a reputable seller which ensures food hygiene and safety. On the other hand, you also need to pay attention to the ingredients because many types of sellers use a lot of preservatives that affect your health.
When buying ham, people usually store it in the refrigerator to use it gradually. Fresh or unprocessed ham usually lasts 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator and about up to 5 months if stored in the freezer. As for the ham type that has been processed or marinated, the ideal time to store it is 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator and about 3 months in the freezer. Within this period of time, the ham is still delicious, not deformed and good for health.
As for the canned ham, you should only store them in the refrigerator, avoid putting them in the freezer. You should notice that after the ham has been cut and used, it should be used in a short time. If you havent used it all yet, you can wrap the ham carefully so it doesnt mix with other foods in the fridge.
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Recipes That Will Make You A Pellet Grill Master
For those of you unfamiliar with pellet grills, they are designed and developed to use wood pellets as its main fuel source and they have become a force to reckon with in the world of outdoor cooking. Wood pellets offer both supreme flavor AND easy temp control, which puts them head and shoulders above gas and charcoal options.
To that end, we have compiled a list of 25 core recipes for grilling, smoking, and baking on your pellet grill. Mastering these recipes will not only help make you a master of your grill, but a backyard champion among friends and family.
Were big fans of pellet grills in general , but its important to note that all these recipes wont work on every pellet grill out there. Memphis Wood Fire Grills are designed to hold precise temperatures and you also have the ability to sear over direct flame . Happy cooking!
Should I Brine My Turkey Before I Smoke It
In the olden times, Thanksgiving turkeys were not brined, only basted. But Robyn Stone from Add A Pinch, in her historical take on turkey recipes that brining the turkey before smoking was discovered to have added an explosion of flavors and kick in more moisture in the turkey while on the smoker or grill. As such, brining is a very important step in preparing the turkey before smoking it.
As we have covered in the previous section, there are two types of brines. But both include the use of salt, pepper, minced garlic, oregano, other herbs and spices and water.
You can always experiment to add more zest like using citrus fruits. Some even brine it by covering it with rock salt and refrigerating it overnight before smoking. The point is, no turkey should be smoked without brining it first.
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Traeger Pellet Grill Models
There are four models of pellet grills on the market today. Each model has different sub-models that allow you to get the smoker that has the features you want and is the appropriate size for your cooking.
- Timberline Series: The Timberline is the top-of-the-line model. This line features three-tier cooking surfaces, a fully-insulated cooking area, and a built-in bamboo cutting board shelf. This range includes WiFire app technology, the D2 controller, a pellet sensor in the hopper, the exclusive Traeger downdraft exhaust, and super smoke mode to get the optimal flavor.
- Ironwood Series: The Ironwood is a two-tier smoker and pellet grill that is ideal the ideal size for most people. It has all of the same features as the Timberline grills.
- Pro Series: The Pro series hits the sweet spot between a high-tech smoker and a classic cooking tool. These grills feature precision temperature control, WiFire app control, and a built-in probe to check the internal temperature of your meat. This series uses an exhaust stack rather than the downdraft exhaust.
- Town & Travel Series: These are the smallest grills Traeger makes. The series includes a model designed for tailgating and another that rests on a tabletop. While still requiring electricity, these smokers make off-grid smoking possible.
What Is The Best Size Turkey For Smoking
I do not suggest smoking a turkey larger than 15-pounds for food safety reasons because it will take too long to cook. The turkey will be sitting in the unsafe zone for too long, and you would risk bacteria growing. However, check out this spatchcock turkey on pellet grill recipe if you want to smoke a larger turkey. It is a flattened turkey that is cooked at a higher heat so it is safe to eat.
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Serve It Up By Sliced Or Whole
When the amount of smokiness you want is attained, take the ham from the smoker and serve it as you prefer. Since the jam was already cooked, you don’t need to relax before starting the smoking process. Although you may have the problem of cutting it in pieces, placing it on the serving plate and allowing guests to chop as much as they like from their sides is easier and more fun.
Green Mountain Grills Daniel Boone
- Surprisingly steady temperature regulation for a budget smoker
- No Wi-Fi or app connectivity, if you’re into that
Straight up, shopping for a cheap pellet grill isnt wise. All the grills features are flaws when executed poorly or cheaply. Technology, moving parts and Wi-Fi connectivity create more avenues for problems to occur than any other kind of grill. That said, Green Mountain Grills Daniel Boone line specifically the Choice line offers a lifeline. For $500 retail, you get a sturdy grill good guts, but no Wi-Fi, which, in this case, is a good thing. The more flashy features, the more potential problems. Its still run by an onboard computer and it still holds steady temperatures, you just have less to worry about breaking down mid-smoke. As with most pellet grills, the temperature range is 150 to 500, which is plenty of juice for a long smoke but not quite hot enough to sear a steak properly.
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How Long Does It Take To Smoke Cheese In A Smoker
Before you venture into this smoking project, youre probably wondering how long to smoke cheese for on your grill. The amount of time you leave your cheese to smoke depends on the strength of the flavor you want. Some leave cheese to smoke for two hours to develop just enough smoke flavor that isnt overwhelming. Others prefer subtler flavors and only leave cheese in the smoker for an hour.
Youll also have to think about the type of cheese youre using as you figure out how long to smoke it for on your grill. Softer cheeses can absorb flavors faster, so they may not need as long, while semi-hard cheeses will take a bit more time to soak in those delicious flavors. If you have smaller wedges or blocks of cheese, they may not need as much time to smoke as larger pieces, so keep that in mind as you prep.
It may take some trial and error since every setup is different, so be prepared to try different combinations of sizes and smoke times for a variety of cheeses. Label everything and feel free to take notes as you home in on the best possible method.
What Side Dishes Go Well With Twice
Since your twice smoked ham will be sweet and salty, I recommend pairing it with side dishes that will ground the meal, like:
- mashed, smashed, or roasted potatoes
- potato, chicken, or egg salad
- green bean casserole
- asparagus, broccoli, or brussels sprouts
- roasted carrots or sweet potatoes
- dinner rolls or biscuits
- cornbread, corn pudding, or buttered corn on the cob
- mac and cheese
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Recommended Brands Of Pellet Grills
** Memphis Wood Fire Grills: Stylish design, sophisticated electronics, and great thermodynamics. This is one of the few pellet grills that lets you remove the top of the burn chamber so you can direct grill over a wood pellet fire.
Yoder Smokers: Well-known in competition barbecue circles, Yoder sells three models of pellet smokers, ranging from $1100 for the YS480 to $3600 for the trailer-mounted YS1500.
Rec Tec: In business for about 5 years, Rec Tec manufactures a pellet grill with 680 square inches of cooking space. Temperatures can be calibrated in 5-degree increments, and the pellet hopper holds up to 40 pounds of pellets. Current price of the smoker is $1000.
FireCraft: Made in the USA, the awesome FireCraft Pellet-Q450 Pellet Grill sells for about $900 and allows for both direct and indirect grilling. It also includes a trademarked Pellet Exchange feature, giving you the ability to quickly switch out pellet flavors.
MAK Grills: Sells four American-made pellet grill models, from the 1-Star General to the 4-Star General . The trademarked FlameZone attains temperatures of 500 degrees and can be used for direct grilling.
Traeger Pellet Grills: Traeger launched the pellet grill revolution and has a large following for its affordably priced grills .
Why The Pellet Grill Category Is Smoking Hot
You can cook all your favorite foods on a pellet grill and it is especially designed to smoke … regional barbecue including brisket, ribs and pulled pork.
I have long loved pellet grills. I think of them more as smokers than grills, and that is my number-one reason to own one.
It used to be that the first question that home cooks would answer before they bought an outdoor grill would be, do I want a gas or charcoal grill? Next, avid grillers like me would own both gas and charcoal grills. About five years ago, I added a pellet grill to my collection so that I could both smoke and grill at home. Today, pellet grills are the fastest growing segment of the outdoor cooking market. I have a Traeger Ironwood with a Super Smoke feature and that has changed my backyard cooking game.
Traeger was started in 1987 by its namesake and the company was sold in 2009, and then again in 2013. This time, it was acquired by entrepreneur Jeremy Andrus. Andrus almost passed on the opportunity because he thought that outdoor cooking was a commodity. But he gave Traeger a second look and realized it was a gem-in-the-rough that consumers hadnt discovered.
Meathead, the owner of amazingribs.com told me that the biggest complaint that we hear from pellet smoker owners is that the smokers arent smoky enough. Traeger heard and saw its customers and addressed their concerns with the Super Smoke button.
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How To Prepare The Turkey
First of all, remove your defrosted turkey from the package. Next, remove the neck and giblets that are inside the cavity.
Rinse the turkey inside and outside with cold water and dry the turkey with a paper towel.
Next, place the whole turkey on a large platter or roasting pan.
If using homemade dry spice rub, mix the ingredients together with a spoon.
Next, add butter or olive oil underneath the skin on the turkey breast. Rub the butter all over both breasts with your fingers. This helps to keep the breast moist and it doesn’t get dried out.
Next, coat the outside of the turkey with olive oil or butter and season on all sides with a spice rub. Sprinkle the spice rub mixture over the entire turkey. If you have a brined turkey, it will have enough seasoning and you will not need anything else.
Preheat your smoker. Set the temperature to 225 degrees. Make sure you top up the pellet grill with wood chips of your choice. We like the Competition blend or hickory wood pellets.
Note: For food safety reasons, it is not safe to place stuffing inside of the turkey. Cook stuffing on the stove or in the oven separately.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats
Freelance food writer and cookbook author Donna Currie is an expert on all things food, from cookbooks to cooking gadgets. She’s also a product tester for The Spruce Eats and has cooked with every type of grill out there, including pellet grills.
This article was updated by Camryn Rabideau, a grilling expert and product tester for The Spruce. She’s tested several pellet grills, including the Z Grills ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Grill and Traeger Ironwood 885, and she interviewed Jess Pryles, a grilling expert and author of “Hardcore Carnivore” while researching grills for this article.
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Should I Wrap My Turkey In Foil While Smoking
Yes. If you see charring on the wings, you must cover them with foil. This is precisely the reason why the turkey is cooked at two different temperatures. You need to open the smoker after 3-5hrs of smoking and check if the wings are too dark in color.
If the wings are, indeed, dark in color, you must wrap them in foil before notching up the temperature to 275-300F. Not foiling the wings before increasing the temperature will most likely burn it and you would not want that since the wing part is also one of our favorite turkey parts.
Allow Yourself Some Time To Get Acquainted With Your New Grill/smoker
Allow yourself some time to get acquainted with your new grill/smoker. We know youll be anxious to try it out, but dont be overly ambitious. Instead of a whole brisket, which could take 15 hours or more, or a budget-busting prime rib roast, start with chicken , pork loin tenderloin, or blade steaks, Cornish hens, salmon steaks or fillets, or other relatively inexpensive cuts that can be completed in 2 hours or less.
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Choosing The Right Temperature
Before you cook on your Traeger, you’ll want to know what style you’ll cook with. Traeger grills are versatile because you can smoke, grill, and barbecue. Obviously, the best thing about a Traeger is smoking, so that’s what we’ll discuss.
The Traeger makes smoking simple because it eliminates the tendency to overshoot the target temperature. You will want to avoid searing then switching to smoking because it can take a long time for the grill to cool enough.
The Best Pellet Smokers For 2021
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If youre looking for a versatile, simple to use cooker then you should seriously consider a pellet smoker.
While you wont win any points with old fashioned pitmasters, the ability to effortlessly produce excellent barbecue makes buying a pellet smoker very tempting.
In a rush? We think the Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 hits the sweet spot of value to performance and is the best pellet smoker for most people.
In this guide, well break down the best pellet smokers available in 2020. Well also run through some of the pros and cons of cooking with pellets to help you make up your own mind.
Dont be confused if you see the pellet grill and pellet smoker used interchangeably. They refer to the same thing.
Read our full Camp Chef Woodwind review.
What we like:
What we dont like:
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