By Zach Mussotto
Our friend Zach Mussotto of Mad Moose BBQ shares his tips and tricks for cooking perfectly tender, moist and flavorful turkey on a pellet grill using our Fire & Flavor Hickory Wood Pellets and a Turkey Perfect Herb Brine Kit.
In this recipe, we're going to use the Fire & Flavor Turkey Perfect Herb Brine Kit to help us achieve great flavor and juicy meat. When you’re searching for a turkey, look for an all-natural bird that hasn’t been injected with any broth solutions. The brine kit can accommodate a turkey up to 25 pounds.
Most turkeys come frozen, and the safest way to thaw one out is by placing it in the refrigerator. This method can take 3-4 days, so plan accordingly. Once your turkey is thawed, we're ready to start the process of brining.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
Fire & Flavor has made this process extremely easy. Inside the Turkey Perfect kit, you'll find both the herb mixture and a brining bag. The only other ingredients you'll need are some ice, water, ½ a cup of vinegar, and 1 ½ cups of sugar.
THE BRINE PROCESS
Making the brine was very simple thanks to the step-by-step instructions on the Turkey Perfect packaging. First, you’re going to combine 4 quarts of water, 1 ½ cups of sugar, and the herb mix into a pot of water over medium heat. Stir it until the mixture and sugar have dissolved, then let it come back down to room temperature.
While that's cooling, take your turkey and put it into the brine bag. Be sure to remove the giblet bag from inside the cavity of the turkey! I placed my turkey in a large tinfoil pan, just in case I spilled anything. Once your turkey is in the bag and the brine solution has cooled, you're ready to combine everything.
Carefully pour the brine solution into the bag with the turkey. Add a ½ cup of vinegar, 2 quarts of ice, and 3 more quarts of water to the bag. Seal the bag and place it in the fridge. You want to brine your turkey one hour for every pound. Be careful not to over-brine your turkey.
The great thing about pellet smokers is their ease of use. You simply set your desired temperature and add the meat. The smoker will do the rest!
During my cook, I used all-natural Fire & Flavor Hickory Pellets. These are the best pellets I’ve put in my smokers. They don’t use any binders, which means they produce a minimal amount of ash while providing great flavor and smoke. I used my Rec Tec 680 smoker for this cook, and have used these pellets in my Traeger as well with the same results. They'll work great in any pellet grill.
OK, back to the cook! Remove your turkey from the brine bag and pat it dry with a paper towel. (Tip: For extra crispy skin, put the turkey back in the fridge for 24 hours after patting it dry.)
I placed the turkey directly on the grill grates and set my smoker to 180 degrees. This temperature produces some great smoke. I cooked it for about two hours, then cranked up the heat to 325 degrees to ensure that I got a nice crispy skin.
A meat thermometer is a huge help. Don’t try to guess how long to smoke a turkey based on size, as every bird cooks differently. Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the breast and cook it to a internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Once you hit the desired internal temperature, your turkey is ready to come off the smoker. Let it rest for about 15 minutes after removing it before carving. This will ensure you don’t lose all the tasty juices. Then, it's time to carve that bad boy!
Following this process you will result in a moist, tender, delicious turkey that your friends and family will love. The Turkey Perfect Herb Brine Kit produced excellent flavor throughout the entire bird. No gravy or au jus was needed, even for the breast meat. I will never cook another turkey without it.
Need Ingredients? This recipe used:
Hickory Wood Pellets