New challenges always present themselves, even if you think you have everything figured out. This is especially true when preparing food for Thanksgiving. For example, many people say that smoking a turkey results in the best flavor. However, this presents its own set of problems: do you stuff the turkey before or after smoking it? What kind of stuffing should you use?
Before smoking your turkey, you can add stuffing to it, choosing herbs and spices that work well with the smoking process. If the turkey has already been smoked and you are reheating it, you can add spices as a stuffing to add some complimentary bold flavors.
Cooking a turkey is one of the few cooking worlds where everyone has some opinion and is right in some way.
If you’re smoking your turkey, learning how to stuff it with herbs and spices correctly will make all the difference. This article will provide tips on how to stuff a smoked turkey.
What Do You Stuff A Smoked Turkey With?
Choosing the stuffing for your smoked turkey is part of what will make or break the overall taste, as the type of wood you use to smoke it will affect the taste.
Many people who are smoking meat for the first time are learning and are often surprised that smoking adds a lot of flavors to the meat.
They make the mistake of choosing mild herbs when typically cooked in an oven that creates a new flavor profile when smoked.
If you are smoking your turkey or if it has already been smoked, we suggest you add the following ingredients.
A smoked turkey, just like a regular turkey, will need to be brined before the process starts. We have no real recommendation for what brine to use as you may have tastes and local limitations that apply.
However, we recommend one with green herbs.
This will allow the turkey to soak up the natural tastes from the smoke and create a richer overall flavor than some of the tastes you get with regular cooking. In addition, the smoking process will intensify any spices you add or use in the brine.
Similar to the brine, you will most likely have a rub you can make or are already used to using. When smoking your turkey, we recommend adding a bit more salt to help the crispness to the skin, along with some Cajun spices and paprika, which all work well with smoked turkey.
It is important to remember that when smoking a turkey, the rub you are applying will cause the skin to discolor accordingly.
Therefore, many people only rub their turkey when smoking it, usually reapplying the rub with a brush a few times through the cooking process.
The following herbs work best in stuffing with bread crumbs or cornbread: garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme. A seasoning mix of four spices or all-spice will also suffice. Many people prefer adding a few extra herbs for extra flavor.
Another set of herbs that works well with smoking your turkey is parsley or mixed Italian herbs, which react well with being smoked.
Remember that some herbs can get heated and produce smoke while smoking a turkey, which will change their taste.
The greens you can use in stuffing for your turkey are a mixture of what you have on hand and a few that will significantly help control the taste.
When using too many herbs while smoking a turkey, the distinct flavors could taste overly intense.
Onion, celery, granny smith apples, spinach, cauliflower, and small pumpkins can complement your herbs and spices. Many people add mushrooms to help soak up the taste of the herbs and spices, making the stuffing a complete compliment to the taste of the turkey.
Can You Stuff A Turkey Before Smoking It?
Preferably, you will be stuffing the turkey right before the turkey is smoked, as the flavor of the stuffing is much more likely to soak into the meat in this manner.
The turkey will still need to be prepared and ready for the smoking process, and we recommend brining it as well.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that the smoking process allows them to take a few shortcuts, using fewer spices or not using herbs at all.
Instead, when smoking a turkey, you need to take more care to prevent the taste of just smoking a chicken from becoming overwhelming.
The most common mistake first-time smokers make is using herbs and spices that become almost mellow when smoked. Causing the only taste the turkey meat absorbs is that of the smoke, which can be pleasant but becomes overwhelming when it is the only taste in the meat.
Can You Smoke And Then Roast A Turkey?
Many people who smoke their turkey and want crispy skin throughout prefer to smoke the bird for a few hours and then roast it.
This does not affect the meat’s inner taste but allows the skin to become crispy, giving a texture change to the turkey that is often coveted.
We recommend doing this if you want a slightly drier turkey and have already smoked a few turkeys.
People who are smoking their turkey for the first time will often try to roast the turkey when they start failing, or the process of smoking the turkey takes too long.
The turkey becomes too dry when this happens, making most of the meat tough and hard to eat.
Smoking a turkey is a slow process that takes even longer than roasting it in the oven, requiring you to constantly check the smoke levels and have the correct heat levels.
You can and should be stuffing your turkey when you are smoking it for the next thanksgiving dinner.
However, we recommend trying several recipes before the big day; not only can smoked turkey be delicious at any time, but finding new flavors is always an important step in cooking.
Trying something new will set you apart from the larger crowd of cooks who repeat the same things forever.
- Can You Eat The Skin On Smoked Turkey?
- Do You Have To Baste Turkey While Smoking It?
- How to Catch Turkey Drippings In A Smoker?
- Why Does Smoked Turkey Taste Like Ham?