Preparing poultry in a Masterbuilt Smoker is a fairly easy process. It is possible to smoke a whole turkey or to smoke smaller portions, such as chicken wings or drumsticks. Bone-in and skin-on poultry is recommended for smoking because the skin and bones add much needed flavor and moisture. If smoking boneless, skinless thighs and breasts, I recommend brining or marinating the meat overnight to add moisture.
Remember to rinse your bird or portions in cool running water and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels before preparing for the smoker. And, clean your sink well to prevent any cross-contamination with other foods.
Marinate or Season Generously
You can easily purchase pre-made marinades, barbeque sauces, or seasoning blends/rubs. However, it is nice to be able to customize your meal by making your own marinade or seasoning. It is a good idea to marinate for 1 and up to 4 hours prior to smoking especially if you are cooking a large turkey for several hours. Check out these recipes for smoked drumsticks 3 ways.
A basic marinade includes fat, acid, salt, and seasonings. This can be as simple as a mixture of olive oil, vinegar or citrus juice, sea salt, and your favorite dried herbs and spices. Always marinate in a glass or non-BPA plastic baking dish or large container to prevent an adverse reaction from certain metals. For a turkey you can line a cooler with a “safe” plastic bag to use as the brining bucket. Place ice in the cooler to keep the bird cool. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before placing in the smoker. Allow the bird to come to room temperature before cooking.
Be Mindful of the Temperature
Poultry needs to cook thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165°F to 175°F. Depending on the portion size, this could take anywhere from 2 hours for wings to approximately 6 hours for a turkey smoked at 225°F. It is recommended that you use either a digital probe thermometer placed in the dark meat portion, or you can check the temperature every time you replenish your wood chips and liquid with an instant read meat thermometer. Try our step-by-step recipe for a whole smoked turkey with herbs.
Rest the Bird
After the smoking is finished, remove your poultry to a clean cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving or serving. Don’t skip this step as it allows for the juices to be reabsorbed into the muscle fibers.