– Whole turkey - A 12- to 14-pound bird is perfect for smoking. – Kosher salt and sugar for a dry brine to season the turkey. – BBQ rub (optional) – Fuel - Wood chunks for smoke or pellets for a pellet smoker. Cherry, apple or maple are best for turkey.
– Use poultry shears to cut out the backbone on both sides of the turkey. – Slice the breastplate for easier flattening, optionally removing the wishbone. – Flatten the turkey by compressing the upper breast. – Trim excess neck skin to avoid burning during smoking.
Combine kosher salt and sugar for the dry brine, generously season all sides and under the skin of the turkey, place on a sheet pan, refrigerate uncovered for 2 to 3 days to allow the skin to dry, and skip rinsing.
Place the turkey in a preheated 250-275° F smoker skin-side up and close the lid. Cook until the internal temperature of the breasts reaches 157° F to allow for carry-over cooking.
Once the pull temperature is reached, remove the turkey from the smoker and rest for 30 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute before carving.