How to Smoke a Turkey / Cómo ahumar un Pavo

How to Smoke a Turkey / Cómo ahumar un Pavo


The last turkey I smoked was during one of our Weber product photo shoots earlier this year.  It was a huge bird, and if it turned out anything like the turkey we had smoked a few days prior, it was destined to be the star of the holiday dinner scene.  Sadly, I never got a bite, and worse, the turkey never even made it to the set. 

It was the last shot of the day, and bad weather was moving in.  We were scrambling.  The real family, who was the talent of the scene, had just sat down when bam - the storm hit.  In fact, it was not just a storm, it was a microburst, or rather a non-rotating tornado. 

As the crew raced for cover in the backyard, our grill camp in the front drive turned to wet chaos.  We dropped our pop-up tents, stashed our supplies into trucks, and got wet, real wet.  Branches fell down around us, and the power went out in the neighborhood we were shooting in.  To put it professionally, it was nuts.

As we waited for the weather to pass, which it finally did, the decision was made to wrap for the day.  Thankfully it was not only the last shot of the day, it was the last shot of a super successful week. 

As I walked back around front to survey the remains of our grill station, I found our Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker still vertical and more importantly, still smoking away.  Under the lid, the turkey was to temperature.  It looked beautiful, and the owners of the home we were using suddenly had dinner. 

I would have taken a photo with my phone to savor the moment, but I was not the only thing drenched in water.

So here it is a few months later and what I am craving?  Yeah, smoked turkey.  Here’s the process, this time with great weather.  


Smoked Turkey
by Mike Lang

Serves: 7-8 


  • 1 14 pound turkey, fresh or thawed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 orange with zest, quartered
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • butcher twine


1. Bring the butter to room temperature and mix with the rosemary and thyme.

2. With a pair of poultry shears, remove the wing tips.  


Starting at the bottom cavity, use your fingers to separate the turkey’s skin from the breast meat.  Work slowly up towards the neck being careful not to split or tear the skin.  


3.  Once separated, work equal amounts of butter on to both breasts and down towards the thighs. Season the inside of the turkey cavity with salt and pepper.  Place the orange quarters inside the cavity and truss the turkey with the butcher twine.


Note: Trussing promotes even cooking by keeping the turkey compact and as an added benefit, makes for a more attractive bird when cooked.


4. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. 

Tip: For crispy skin, leave the turkey uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.

5. Season the outside of the turkey with salt, pepper, and the orange zest.  Rub all over with olive oil.

Prep the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

6. isassemble the WSM and fill the fire ring halfway up with charcoal.  You will roughly cover up the first layer of circles.


7. Fill a charcoal chimney half full with charcoal briquettes and light.  


8. Since this is a hot cook, there is no need for water in the water pan.  To make cleanup easier, think about lining the pan with aluminum foil.  


9. Once the coals in the chimney have turned grey and ashed over.  Dump them over the unlit coals in the base of the smoker and let sit for about 10-15 minutes.

10. Re-assemble the smoker.  If you plan on making a pan gravy, be sure to place a disposable foil tray on the lower grate.

11. Grill the turkey over medium low heat, 300-350 F.  As the smoker climbs towards 300 F, place the turkey on the top grate.  


12. Close the lid.

13. Open the front door panel and place no more than 2 or 3 medium chunks of wood on the hot coals.  I always opt for something sweet, like apple or cherry.  An aggressive species of wood can be too harsh.  In this case, a little goes a long way.

14. If the fire burns too hot, close the bottom vents halfway.  If you are battling cold weather, and need to keep the temperature up, add 8-10 unlit briquettes every hour.

Figure 15-18 minutes of cook time per pound.  Cook until the deepest part of the thigh reads 165 F with an instant read thermometer.


15. Before you carve into that beautiful bird, share your pictures with us! 


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Pavo Ahumado con Astillas de Manzano y Gravy de Bourbon

Pavo Ahumado con Astillas de Manzano y Gravy de Bourbon


8 -12 personas
Tiempo de preparación: 20 minutos
Tiempo de cura en seco: 12 horas
Método de Grill: calor medio indirecto (350°/400°F – 180º/205º C)
Tiempo de cocción: 2½ horas aprox.
Equipamiento especial: 3 charolas grandes de aluminio desechable, termómetro de lectura instantánea

1 pavo, 6 a 8 kgs. Aprox.
2 Cdas. sal Kosher
2 Cdas. Pimienta molida, fresca
3 Cdas. Mantequilla sin sal, pomada

1 taza cebolla picada gruesa
½ taza zanahoria picada gruesa
½ taza apio picado grueso
1 cdta. Romero seco
1 cdta. Salvia seca
2 tazas consomé de pollo (o 1 taza consomé + 1 taza cerveza oscura)
4 tazas astilla de manzano, remojadas en agua durante 1 hora

½ taza harina de trigo
3 Cdas. Bourbon o brandy
½ cdta. sal Kosher
¼ cdta. Pimienta molida, fresca


1. El día anterior a cocinar el pavo, retirar las menudencias y reservar para otro uso. Enjuagar el pavo y sacudir el exceso de agua pero no secarlo. En un bowl pequeño combinar la sal y pimienta negra y sazonar el pavo por dentro y por fuera. Colocar el pavo en una charola y refrigerar sin cubrir por 12 horas.

2. Retirar el pavo del refrigerador. La piel debe verse seca. NO enjuagar el pavo. Dejar reposar el pavo a temperatura ambiente durante 1 hora. Untar las piernas, pechuga y alas con la mantequilla.

3. Colocar una charola de aluminio desechable dentro de otra y agregar los aromáticos. (No usar una charola rosticera de calidad debido a que el ahumado puede mancharla permanentemente) Agregar 2 tazas de consomé (o mezcla de consomé y cerveza) y colocar el pavo, pechuga hacia abajo, sobre los aromáticos.

4. Escurrir 2 tazas de astillas y agregar directamente sobre los carbones (O caja ahumadora en un asador de gas) Cocinar el pavo sobre calor indirecto, con la tapa cerrada, por espacio de 1 hora, manteniendo la temperatura entre 350°/400°F – 180º/205º C

5. Pasada 1 hora, vistiendo guantes y usando un par de pinzas para parrilla, dar vuelta al pavo y colocarlo con la pechuga hacia arriba. Agregar 12 -15 briquetas de carbón si es que se está usando asador de carbón, para mantener la temperatura estable. Agregar las 2 tazas restantes de astillas de madera remojada. Continuar cocinando y ahumando el pavo hasta que tome un color caoba oscuro y que el termómetro de lectura instantánea, insertado en la parte más gruesa del muslo (sin tocar el hueso) alcance una temperatura de 170º F – 76ºC, 1 ½ horas aprox. Si las puntas de las alas o las piernas están tomando un color muy oscuro, envolverlas con papel aluminio.

6. Retirar el pavo del asador y transferirlo de la charola a una tabla de madera, cubrir con papel aluminio y dejarlo reposar por 20/30 minutos. Reservar los jugos de la charola para hacer el Gravy.

7. Colar los jugos de la charola, presionando los sólidos con una cuchara de madera para extraer lo más posible de líquidos. Descartar los sólidos. Dejar reposar  los jugos hasta que la grasa suba a la superficie, 2 minutos aprox. y retirar la grasa excedente y reservar ½ taza de grasa (agregar mantequilla si es necesario). Colocar los jugos  en una taza de medir de 1 litro. Se debe tener 3 tazas de jugos (agregar más consomé si es necesario).

8. En una olla mediana, sobre calor medio, calentar la grasa reservada. Agregar la harina y batir hasta que burbujee y tome un color dorado, 2 minutos aprox. Agregar los jugos y el bourbon o brandy y batir  constantemente hasta que espese ligeramente. Sazonar con sal y pimienta.

9. Cortar el pavo y servir con el Gravy.

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