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Smoked Beer Can Turkey For Thanksgiving.

Updated on November 16, 2012

Smoked beer can turkey preparation.

Beer Can Smoked Turkey preparation with beer and spices for basting.
Beer Can Smoked Turkey preparation with beer and spices for basting. | Source

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Prep

This Thanksgiving smoke a turkey in a charcoal barbecue for something not only different from the old oven-roasted standard but also tongue-tingling delicious.

We have a lot of barbecuing, grilling, frying, steaming and smoking recipes listed on our blog site where we also publish information about maintenance repairs and replacement grill parts. This full recipe as well as many other and many to come during this Thanksgiving week are all at: Grill-Repair.com/blog

We started with a 12 - 14 pound turkey and allowed it to defrost to room temperature. While the turkey was getting to temperature we took pecan wood chunks and left them in a few bowls so the wood would be totally saturated with water by the time we light the charcoal.

This is a beer-can turkey so we will stick a beer can in the opening in the bird but we will also rub the bird down with our BBQ rub seasoning and use the baster to squirt beer spice all over the turkey. Use about half the beer to pour into a bowl for basting. Add spices and hot sauce, bay leaves, thyme, anything you'll like. The beer can get the top cut off and then inserted in to the cavity of the turkey body. I have learned to use a smaller round pan because the turkey is going to want to fall over or to lay down and we want our turkey standing up straight so the pan is in the way of any direct heat that could rise up from the wood and charcoal to over heat the turkey.

Turkey in Kamado Smoker

Rubbed and stuffed and ready to smoke all day long.
Rubbed and stuffed and ready to smoke all day long. | Source

Beer Can Smoked Turkey Half-Way Cooking.

Once we have our charcoal burned down to a coat of ash in the barbecue we add the wood chunks that have been soaking. Wood will smolder a bit and generate a lot of smoke. Adjust the bottom vent almost all the way closed and then we can use the top vents to adjust the temperature to approximately 220 - 240 degrees.

Once the smoke gets going there will be a lot of wood smoke and sweet fragrance escaping through that top vent. Try to keep from looking in on your turkey while it is cooking. As the heat surrounds the meat the heat will draw out the moisture and will cause the drippings in the hot pan and the beer spice mixture in the cavity to vaporize, surround the turkey and become drawn into the turkey. Our original spice rub, the wood smoke and the basting every 45 minutes with our beer-spice mix will cause a mixture of flavors throughout the turkey.

Beer Can Smoked Turkey Barbecued in Kamado Smoker

About half way through smoking the color looks perfect but we've got many hours of smoking before we can eat this turkey.
About half way through smoking the color looks perfect but we've got many hours of smoking before we can eat this turkey. | Source

About half way through smoking our turkey the smell of the turkey cooking and the colors will look like a perfectly completed turkey. However, this is what our turkey will look like when it is only cooked about half-way. Using the vents on the kamado we simply stabilize the temperature and baste the bird every 45 minutes.

Although it is rare in a charcoal barbecue like this kamado smoker sometimes the wood chunks can dry-out and light on fire. This is more common in a gas barbecue when the heat is dryer. I always keep a spray bottle of water nearby in case there is charring of the wood. If the wood catches on fire the additional heat will off-set our temperature inside the dome and will unevenly heat some part of the turkey where there is a wood fire. We want the turkey to remain standing and totally eclipsed by the pan so none of the direct heat from the charcoal and wood are able to cause some part of the turkey to cook faster or differently from the slow, smokey surrounding heat trapped within our smoker.

Completing Thanksgiving Beer Can Smoked Turkey

Completed beer can turkey is turned very dark by the hours of smoke permeating the skin and juicy meats of the bird.
Completed beer can turkey is turned very dark by the hours of smoke permeating the skin and juicy meats of the bird. | Source

This is the completed turkey that has just come off the cooking grates of the kamado barbecue. The round pan is fine and is filled with a little bit of moisture for a gravy. The turkey that has been smoking for 9 hours is very dark. The smoked turkey is almost black This is how the turkey always looks after a long slow smoke.

Tender, Juicy, Fall Off The Bone...

Completed beer can smoked turkey cooked 14 pounds in 8 hours.
Completed beer can smoked turkey cooked 14 pounds in 8 hours. | Source

After lifting the turkey off the pan and extracting the remainder of the beer can that has been inside the cavity of the turkey so we can lay the turkey on a normal serving platter. Pictures cannot really show how tender and juicy this is and pictures cannot demonstrate the amazing smells that took over the room as the turkey began to cool.

We took the turkey at room temperature and cleaned it and rubbed it with beer and spices.

We left the beer can inserted into the cavity to marinade the meat from the inside out and placed the turkey into a low heat kamado smoker with pecan wood chunks that had soaked in water for over 24 hours. Once the kamado was smoking at approximately 220 we left the turkey insode the barbecue and basted the bird with our beer spice every 45 minutes until it was complete.

As a kind of safety feature I also inserted a pop-up button that would pop up when the inner temperature reached 180. After smoking for so long the turkey has absorbed and mixed the various flavors and cooked too slow to get tough. The meat can be lightly pulled off the bones.







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