Smoked Turkey by Ed McGrew

IIn the days leading up to Thanksgiving, Ed McGrew of the eponymous Whitefish BBQ restaurant will smoke nearly 30 turkeys.

“I still come from a barbecue family and when I moved here I started doing it for friends and parties and it grew from there,” McGrew said.

While McGrew is a staunch supporter of a traditionally roasted turkey, his barbecue background has made him the local benchmark for a smoky bird, which he says is different enough to add an extra facet to a meal.

The secret to smoking a turkey is in the brine. McGrew makes his own using one cup of kosher salt and one cup of brown sugar per gallon of water.

“You can just taste it,” McGrew said. “It gives you moisture, it seasons it and it stays really basic. “

Being too messy with a turkey is something McGrew sees a lot over the holidays – and smoking can get messy quickly. Instead of spending money on specialty smokers, McGrew says use what’s on hand.

“I’ll hear so many people say ‘all I’ve got is a Weber grill,’ he said. ‘A Weber barbecue is a great thing to have.”

Before smoking, McGrew brine the turkey for 24 to 36 hours, then dry, season, and return to the refrigerator for another 48 hours uncovered. For the actual smoking, he says it’s best to get away from temperature, not time.

He says put it at 235 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, then wrap the turkey and put it back on the smoker until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.

Finally, McGrew says people always forget to use leftover smoked turkey.

“Save the bones, save the carcass and make broth,” he said. “The smoked turkey broth is a wonderful thing. “

Smoked Turkey in Brine in Brown Sugar and Kosher Salt by Ed McGrew on November 19, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flat head beacon

Brine recipe

kosher salt

brown sugar

hudderite turkey

seasoning of your choice

clean 5 gallon pail

(one cup of kosher salt and one cup of brown sugar per gallon of water)

Chef’s advice

For smaller smokers like a Weber, McGrew says it’s best to spatchcock the turkey, a technique that involves removing the spine and fluttering the bird.

“The best thing is that there is a YouTube video for every type of barbecue, so if you’re not sure you can search for it,” he said.


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