1. Select a fresh or thawed turkey, about 15 pounds in size. Allow 1 1/2 lbs per adult. If frozen, place the turkey in a plastic garbage bag and let it thaw in the refrigerator. ( this takes approx. 24 hours of thawing for every 5 lbs. of bird.) That means THREE DAYS for a 15 lb. bird. If you're in a hurry, fill your kitchen sink with cold water - enough to cover the turkey. Change the water every sixty minutes. The thaw rate will be approximately thirty (30) minutes per pound. Defrosting a 15 lb. bird will take at least 7 1/2 hours. After the bird has thawed, remove it from its package, wash the bird thoroughly in cold water. Be sure to remove the giblets and cut off excess skin in front of the turkey breast.
2. Prepare the following brine mixture in a large tub or bowl. 2 c. Traeger BBQ Rub, and enough water to cover the turkey. Mix the rub and water thoroughly and then submerge the turkey into the brine mixture. Place turkey and brine in your refrigerator and allow it to soak for 6 - 8 hours. (Note: if you're out of Traeger BBQ rub, use 1 1/2 c. salt, 1 c. brown sugar, 1 tsp. garlic salt and 2 T black pepper).
3. Fire up your Traeger grill and operate on "high" for twenty (20) minutes, then set on "Smoke". Place turkey on center of the cooking grid, breast side up. Close door/lid and smoke for 3 - 4 hours. (6 - 8 hours if you want even more smoke flavor). Be sure to check your grill once per hour to make sure it is still smoking.
4. After the "smoke session", switch your grill to "High" to finish smoking the turkey. Do this for approximately 1 - 2 hours, depending on the outside temperature and the size of the turkey you are cooking. Use the chart on this page as a guide. Always test for doneness using a meat thermometer. The proper internal temperature for breast meat is 170 degrees F. and 180 degrees F. for thigh meat.
5. If you are not presmoking your turkey, cook it on medium or high, using an average cooking time of 20 minutes per pound on the MEDIUM setting and 15 minutes per pound on the HIGH setting.
6. If you want to "hold" the bird because company is running late, wrap the turkey in foil, shiny side in. Switch to "Smoke" and move the bird as far away from the firepot as possible. The bird can be "held" this way for approximately 1 1/2 hours.
7. Remove bird from grill, allow to "rest" for approximately 15 minutes, carve, give thanks and enjoy the best turkey you've ever had!
Turkey Cooking Guide
Weight Post "Smoke Session" cook on high for:
10 - 13 lbs. 1 1/2 to 2 hours
14 - 23 lbs. 2 to 3 hours
24 - 27 lbs. 3 to 3 1/2 hours
28 - 30 lbs. 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours
REMEMBER: Cooking times are approximate averages. Your cooking time could vary depending on the outside temperature, size of turkey you are cooking, and how hot your grill cooks at the Medium and High settings and your altitude.
Mr. Barbecue's Best Turkey Tips
1. Cook the bird the day before and refrigerate overnight. Refrigeration sets the "smoke" more deeply into the meat. On Thanksgiving day, reheat the bird on the "smoke" setting. Internal breast temperature should reach 160 degrees F.
2. Put a light coating of olive oil on the skin. This will help it brown up nicely.
3. For an "exotic" taste, stuff the cavity of the bird with orange, lemon and lime peels. The combination of citrus and smoke is delicious.
4. An un-stuffed turkey will cook faster because the heat will flow into the cavity of the bird.
5. Want to "hold" the bird after it's been cooked? Wrap it in foil and switch your Traeger to the "smoke" setting. Move the bird away from the firepot.
6. Try misting your turkey inside and out with apple juice or whiskey and apple juice. This helps keep the bird nice and moist while cooking it over a long period of time.