- Prepare the smoker by removing the lid and center ring, opening all vents, and placing 2 layers of briquettes (about 10 lb.) in the charcoal chamber.
- Light briquettes and let them burn for 30 minutes, or until they’re covered with gray ash. Start cooking as soon as the coals are ready.
- Line the water pan with heavy foil, and place it in the center ring.
- Prepare an 8 to 18 lb. thawed or fresh turkey by removing the giblets and neck, draining the juices, and drying with paper towels. The turkey should be completely thawed for even, safe cooking.
- Do not stuff your turkey. Brush the skin with vegetable oil and insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into lower thigh.
- Carefully set the center ring on the bottom section. Fill the water pan with hot water or another liquid to provide humidity during cooking. Add the top cook rack.
- Place the turkey breast side up on the top rack. Place an oven thermometer alongside the turkey to monitor its temperature.
- Cover the smoker and close the vents 1/3 of the way, being sure to protect your hands with oven mitts.
- Soak 5 hardwood chunks (3×2 inches) for about 1 hour. Place the soaked wood on the coals after 1½ hours of cooking to produce smoke.
- To maintain the heat around 250° F, add 12 to 14 briquettes through the door every 1½ hours. Replenish the water if necessary.
For food safety, your turkey must pass through a critical range of 40° F to 140° F in 4 hours or less. If the internal temperature is low after 3½ hours, take your turkey off the smoker and finish it in the oven.
- Check the temperature of your turkey after 3½ hours. Your turkey must pass through a critical range of 40° F to 140° F in 4 hours or less. If the internal temperature is low after 3½ hours, take your turkey off the smoker and finish it in the oven.
- Cook the turkey to internal temperatures of 175° F to 180° F in the thigh and 165° F in the breast. Your turkey may take up to 12 hours to cook.
- When done, remove the turkey from the smoker, protecting your hands with washable mitts or towels, and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.