Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe on the Big Green Egg

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Credit for this delightful pumpkin cheesecake recipe belongs to Reagan Cawley. Reagan and her parents have taught workshops at our annual turkey fest, and their dedication to cooking and attention to detail is always outstanding. 

Since a very young age, Reagan has been making great impressions on her family and guests with her baking skills, such as baking a perfect soufflé at age 10 for her mom’s birthday party! Reagan surprised our 2020 turkey fest attendees with this pumpkin cheesecake, and we loved it so much we decided to share it here on the blog.


Instead of cooking this cheesecake in the oven as it’s usually done, I cooked it in my Big Green Egg to give it a wood-fired flavor. The crust picked up a subtle smoke flavor that elevates this amazing cheesecake to a remarkable level. If you haven’t tried smoking a dessert yet, you are missing out on a delicious treat!

Because of all the pumpkin in this cheesecake recipe, it is less dense than a typical cheesecake, but rich enough to make an elegant dessert for your Thanksgiving holiday meal or any fall season meal.

The maple glaze perfectly complements the buttery crunch of the crust and the smooth pumpkin-flavored filling for a tantalizing combination that makes tastebuds sing!

This recipe yields one 10-inch cheesecake.

Ingredients

Crust Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Glaze Ingredients

Regan’s original recipe was intended for cooking the cheesecake in an oven, but today we're smoking it in the Big Green Egg.

Do you need any supplies or tools for your outdoor cooking? Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page) for rubs, sauces, thermometers, gloves, gadgets, charcoal, pellets, and everything else you need to cook outdoors. You can also browse hundreds of products in our online catalog.

Directions

Step 1: Preheat Your Smoker to 325 Degrees F

If using a pellet smoker, use a pellet with mild smoke, such as sugar maple or cherry. If using a charcoal smoker, burn high quality lump charcoal and do not add any wood chunks. Let your smoker preheat for one hour or until you see very thin blue smoke. You want a clean burning fire for this!

For this story, I'm using my XLarge Big Green Egg. To fire the Egg, I topped off my Kick Ash Basket with Rockwood Lump Charcoal and nestled two wax fire starter cubes into the charcoal. With the lid open and the top and bottom vents fully open, I lit the fire starters.

Next, let the fire burn for 10–15 minutes, then close the grill lid with the vents fully open. Once the temperature rises to within 25 degrees of your target temperature (in this case, 300 degrees), adjust the top and bottom vents to about 3/4” open.

Give it some time to settle in and adjust the top vent as needed to raise or lower the temperature. To lower the temperature, close the vent further; to raise the temperature, open the vent a bit wider.

Step 2: Prepare the Crust

Wipe the inside of a 10-inch springform pan with a paper towel dipped in the melted butter. Mix well the remaining butter with the crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly.

No springform pan? If you prefer to use an aluminum cake pan instead of the springform pan, that’s fine too. You won’t need to wrap it in foil (step 6), but make sure you grease it well with the unsalted butter.

Are you gluten-free? To make this recipe gluten-free, I used Schar Honeygrams in the 5.6-ounce boxes. It took 5 packs of 6 crackers each to make 2-1/2 cups of crumbs.

Put the crackers in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin or use a food processor.

Step 3: Bake the Crust

Set the pan directly onto the cooking grate in your smoker and cook it until it turns golden brown or for 15–20 minutes. Remove it from the smoker and cool it on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Mix the Filling

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil for the water bath. I used a 7-cup electric teakettle.

Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the remaining 2-1/2 cups of sugar, then beat it just until it’s light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed.

Beat in the sour cream, then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices. Beat until combined well.

Pour the mixture into the cooled crust.

Step 5: Remove Air Bubbles

Hold the pan several inches above the countertop and let it drop evenly. Repeat 3–4 times. This slight jarring forces any large air bubbles to the surface of the cheesecake before baking. If a bubble comes to the surface during baking, it will create an unsightly dark spot.

Step 6: Wrap the Springform Pan in Aluminum Foil

Wrap the springform pan in two layers of 18” aluminum foil to protect your pan from getting colored from the smoke. The foil is also necessary for the water bath you will be putting the pan into. Fold the sides of the foil to form a sheet just wide enough to reach the top edge of the pan. Be extremely careful not to tear the foil because even a pinhole will let water seep into the cheesecake.

Step 7: Bake the Cheesecake

Set a full-size aluminum pan (or roasting pan bigger than the cake pan) onto the smoker’s cooking grate, then position the springform pan into the center of it. Pour the boiling water into the foil pan. The water should cover at least one-third of the cake pan’s height.

If you’re using the oven, set the cake pan into a roasting pan and gently place the roasting pan in the oven without sliding the oven rack out, then pour the boiling water into the roasting pan.

Bake the cheesecake until the outside of the cheesecake sets, and a thermometer probe inserted comes out almost clean, with a reading from the center of the filling of 185–190 degrees. This should take about 1-3/4 to 2 hours. If baking multiple cheesecakes in the same smoker, it may take up to 3 hours.

Step 8: Make the Glaze

Meanwhile, simmer the glaze ingredients in a small pot over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat. Let it cool on the counter for 15 minutes, then pour it into a glass measuring cup and refrigerate it.

Step 9: Cool It

Remove the cheesecake from the smoker and the water bath, tightly tent it in foil, and set it on a wire rack to cool at room temperature for 2 hours.

A cheesecake can collapse in the center if you cool it too quickly, so if you’re baking it in an oven, turn off the oven and open the door briefly to let out some heat (or prop the door open with a spoon). Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, before cooling it on a rack at room temperature.

Step 10: Glaze It

Warm the glaze slightly if needed. Run a blunt knife around the edge to loosen the cheesecake from the ring (do not unclasp the springform ring!).

Pour the glaze over the top of the cheesecake. Some of the glaze will run into the crack around the outside edge if you loosened it properly.

Step 11: Freeze It

After glazing, refrigerate the cheesecake for at least another 3–4 hours or overnight. Then, cover the cheesecake with aluminum foil and freeze it for 8 hours or overnight. To keep the foil from dipping into the glaze, place a round dinner plate upside-down on top of the springform pan before wrapping it in foil. Keep it frozen until you’re ready to slice it.

For long term storage: Skip the glazing until sliced and ready to serve. After the cheesecake has been in the freezer for at least 8 hours (or until frozen completely solid), unlock and remove the springform ring and the bottom of the pan. Wrap the cheesecake in a layer of heavy duty aluminum foil, flip it over and wrap it in another layer of foil. Alternating the foil folds eliminates the slight risk of freezer burn. The cheesecake can now be stored for up to 6 months in the freezer.

Step 12: Serve It

Remove the cheesecake from the freezer just before slicing it. By the time you get the slices plated and served, it should be thawed perfectly.

Unlock and remove the springform ring and the bottom of the pan, then slice and serve the cheesecake. If using a regular cake pan instead of a springform pan, dip the pan briefly into very hot water, then turn the pan upside down and shake it, using your fingertips to catch the cheesecake as it slides out (repeat as needed until it slides out).

If desired, place a dollop of whipped cream on each slice.

Professional Slicing Tricks

  • Transfer the cheesecake to a cutting board.
  • A clean hot blade makes the best cuts. Heat your knife (a 12” slicer knife works perfectly for this) under hot running water. Run the hot water over the knife blade for approximately 5 seconds on each side. Wipe the blade dry with a paper towel and cut the cake in half.
  • Rinse and wipe the knife clean with a paper towel.
  • Reheat and dry the knife again, using a clean paper towel, then cut the halves into quarters.
  • Repeat the cleaning and heating steps for each cut. It’s easier and faster to make nice slices if you cut each half separately.

Making a cheesecake sounds complicated, but it’s worth every ounce of effort required. Whether you’re a cheesecake master or this is your first time making cheesecake, I hope you’ll give this recipe a chance. I think you’ll be surprised with how easy it is to completely wow your family and guests with a smoked pumpkin cheesecake.


Thanksgiving Recipe Library

About the author

Lavern Gingerich is the digital marketing manager at Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply. He enjoys helping barbecue enthusiasts avoid making mistakes on the smoker or grill and master amazing barbecue quickly.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey

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How to Spatchcock a Turkey

The method of spatchcocking smoked turkeys and chickens has gained popularity in recent years, so you may be trying to decide whether to spatchcock your turkey this Thanksgiving. In this article we will cover the steps for spatchcocking a turkey and explain the advantages and disadvantages of this method.

Instructions:

  1. Complete steps 1–3 in our Traditional Turkey or BBQ Turkey recipes.
  2. Set the turkey on a cutting board with the spine facing up. Remove the backbone from the turkey by cutting along both sides of the backbone and through the ribcage with kitchen shears. (Reserve the backbone if you’re making stock for smoked gravy.) 
  3. Flip the turkey to skin side up and flatten the turkey by pressing the center of the breastbone with both hands (you should hear ribs breaking).
  4. Proceed with step 4 of the Traditional Turkey or BBQ Turkey recipe (omit the ice bag step).
  5. When setting the turkey on the smoker grate, arrange the legs with the thighs lying flat and tucked next to (not underneath) the body of the turkey and the drumsticks pointing outward (see the photo). The cook time should be 8–9 minutes per pound with a smoker temperature of 325 degrees.

What are the benefits of making a spatchcock turkey?

  • Using the spatchcock technique instead of cooking the turkey whole results in a slightly faster cook time (2–3 minutes per pound faster)
  • A spatchcocked turkey may fit where a whole turkey doesn’t because of the vertical space in your smoker.
  • The biggest challenge in cooking a whole bird is that the breast meat starts to dry out if it’s cooked over 160 degrees, but the thigh meat is best if it’s cooked to 175 degrees. When spatchcocking a turkey, the bird is butterflied and laid flat on the smoker grate. This arrangement of the thighs and breasts helps the thighs cook faster and make it easier to cook both to perfection. (If you choose not to spatchcock, you can easily solve this problem by using an ingenious ice bag trick as explained in our Traditional Turkey and BBQ Turkey recipes.)
  • It’s easy to separate the legs from the breasts if one part finishes cooking before the other to avoid overcooking any of the meat. 

What are the downsides of making a spatchcock turkey?

The only downside of spatchcocking is the non-traditional appearance of the turkey on the platter, which is a big deal to us! Sentimental? Absolutely! Old fashioned? Maybe. But Thanksgiving comes only once a year, and it just doesn’t seem complete without a whole turkey in all its splendor being displayed in the middle of a Norman Rockwell spread of accompanying side dishes.

Thanksgiving Recipes Library

Browse other Thanksgiving recipes, such as smoked turkey gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin cheesecake in our Thanksgiving recipes library.

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Meat Church Chicken Fried Brisket Burnt Ends

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If you like burnt ends, you'll love this new twist Matt Pittman puts on the classic burnt ends experience. Using a blend of BBQ and frying, Matt creates this addictive recipe of chicken fried burnt ends.

In this recipe video, Texas BBQ Legend Matt Pittman of Meat Church takes you through his method for taking smoked brisket burnt ends to a new level by frying them in cubes and dipping them in a special jalapeño ranch sauce that's so good that he wants to "inject it into his veins". If you're serving this at an event, prepare for the lines that will be waiting for more.

You can find almost everything you need for this recipe in our online store or at our barbecue supply store in New Holland PA (store hours and location at the bottom of this page). Some of the ingredients are not listed below, but you should be able to get them at your local grocery store. Matt uses a Meat Church breading which we don't stock, but you can also make your own breading as he suggested.

Get a written version of the recipe here.

Quick links to the ingredients and tools you will need:

Before making this recipe, you will need to smoke your brisket. For a brisket recipe, refer to Matt's Texas Style Brisket Recipe.

Smoked Turkey Legs With Malcom Reed

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What if you could bring the experience of smoked turkey legs from festivals, fairs, and food trucks right to your own backyard?

Follow this recipe for delicious smoked BBQ turkey legs that will exceed the flavor of those food truck turkey legs and bring the family together for an eating experience like none other.

In the video above, Malcom Reed of the world-famous BBQ brand HowToBBQRight shares his proven method for cooking a smoker-load of turkey legs on a pellet grill.

Credits: The screenshots in this post were taken from the video above by HowToBBQRight. We've outlined the process in writing for easy reference and to help make this recipe a success on your first try.

For this cook, Malcom brines the turkey legs then seasons them with Killer Hogs The AP Seasoning and Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub. The only supplies needed in addition to the turkey and rubs are a few common ingredients and tools plus a good smoker or pellet grill.

All of these supplies are available in our specialty barbecue supply store and our online store. For more information on any of these products, you can visit our website using the links below.



7 Steps for Malcom Reed's Smoked Turkey Legs

Below is a simple outline of the video with the key steps needed to give you a platter full of juicy, flavorful BBQ smoked turkey legs.

Malcom Reed's Smoked Turkey Legs

Prep Time 6 hrs
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

Ingredients

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Killer Hogs The AP Seasoning
  • Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub
  • Killer Hogs The Vinegar BBQ Sauce

Brine Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Killer Hogs The AP Seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts water

Instructions
 

Brine the Turkey Legs

  • Put all the brine ingredients along with two quarts of water in a large bowl or briner bucket.
  • Refrigerate overnight or at least six hours so the brine has time to work.
  • Remove the legs from the brine and dab dry.

Season the Turkey Legs

  • Spray the turkey legs with a light coat of olive oil.
  • Add equal parts of Killer Hogs The AP Seasoning and Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub to all sides of the legs.

Smoke and Glaze the Turkey Legs

  • Pre-heat your smoker to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the turkey legs on the grate and let them smoker for around an hour and forty-five minutes or until they've reached 150 degrees Fahrenheit internally.
  • Glaze the turkey legs. To glaze the legs, dab on a light coating of Killer Hogs The Vinegar Sauce to one side, then top the sauce with a light sprinkle of Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, flip the legs and repeats the process on the opposite side.
  • Let the drumsticks cook for around 1/2 hour more until they've reached 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the turkey legs and enjoy!

Related Posts

Step 1: Brine the Turkey Legs

Before cooking, Malcom brines the turkey legs overnight. The brine is made with a half cup of sugar, a quarter cup of Killer Hogs The AP Seasoning, three bay leaves, and two quarts of water. The legs should be in the brine overnight or at least six hours.

To make brining easier, get a brining bucket here.

Smoked Turkey Legs Brine

Smart Pellet Smokers

Are you looking for a convenient pellet smoker that cooks low and slow without the hassle of tending a fire? We offer pellet smokers from Yoder Smokers and Green Mountain Grills. No matter what your needs or budget is, we can help.

Explore Yoder Pellet Smokers
Pick Out a Green Mountain Grill

Step 2: Spray With Olive Oil

After removing the turkey legs from the brine, dab them dry with a cloth then spray them with a light coat of olive oil. These steps are essential for achieving a finished product that has tender, brown, bite-through skin.

Smoked Turkey Legs Oil

Step 3: Pre-Heat Smoker

For this cook, Malcom uses his pellet smoker fired with pecan pellets at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a pellet smoker, you can use any other type of wood-fired smoker such as an offset smoker.

Smoked Turkey Legs Pellet Smoker

Step 4: Season the Turkey Legs

For seasoning, shake on a medium coat of Killer Hogs The AP Seasoning followed by a medium coat of Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub. This will give them a balanced, rich, barbecue flavor.

Smoked Turkey Legs Seasoning

Step 5: Cook to Around 150 Degrees Fahrenheit

After seasoning, add the turkey legs to your smoker leaving plenty of room around them for air circulation. Leave them in the smoker for around an hour and forty-five minutes until they've reached an internal temperature of around 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, you will begin glazing the legs.

Get an Instant-Read Thermometer

Step 6: Glaze the Turkey Legs

After the legs have reached 150 degrees Fahrenheit, it's time to add the glaze. For glaze, Malcom dabs on a light coating of Killer Hogs The Vinegar Sauce to one side, then tops the sauce with a light sprinkle of Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub and cooks for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes he flips the legs and repeats the process on the opposite side.

After adding the glaze, close the smoker and let it cook for around half an hour until the internal temperature of the legs has reached 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 7: Remove the Smoked Turkey Legs and Enjoy!

After the legs have reached 175 degree Fahrenheit, remove and serve them. These tender, juicy, smoked turkey legs are bound to go quickly. Don't expect leftovers.

Are you looking for a pellet smoker?


Don't have the supplies you need?

You can find all the seasonings and supplies for this recipe here in our online store or visit our store in person for a full line of barbecue equipment and supplies.

Can't find what you need online? Visit our specialty barbecue store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, Pennsylvania to explore some of the best products available for anyone wanting to make delicious food outdoors. Our store hours are listed at the bottom of this page.

Cook Your Best Holiday Turkey: Supplies and Equipment Guide

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Are you getting ready to cook your first turkey? Or looking for ways to improve your smoked turkey technique? Here is a list of all the supplies and equipment we use to cook a turkey so you can get up and running quickly.

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Purchase the Turkey

If you're cooking turkey only once a year, it only makes sense to invest a bit of extra effort into making it the best you can! The first step in cooking an incredible holiday turkey is by choosing a Nicholas turkey from Fossil Farms.

  • These turkeys are raised humanely in free-roaming environment. 
  • They are 100% natural and were fed a vegetarian diet of farm-local corn, rye, oats, alfalfa and soybean meal.
  • They are raised to the specifications of the “Never Ever Program”, where antibiotics, hormones and steroids are never used. 
  • They are minimally processed, which means they are perfect for brining, putting you in control of how salty you make them.

In summary, these turkeys are not only exceptionally tender and juicy, but also clean, so you can be confident about the meat you serve around your holiday table. Our customers have shared rave reviews about these turkeys, and I'm confident you'll be blown away by the quality of these if you follow the method below.

Step 1: Order a Nicholas Turkey

To purchase a Nicholas turkey, visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Brine the Turkey

Brining is the best way to uniformly pull salt into the meat and tenderize the meat, which makes it easier to fully cook the turkey without making parts of it too dry. The easiest way to do a wet-brine is with the Briner Bucket. The dandy gadget has a height-adjustable lid for keeping the turkey submerged and the liquid contained.

We recommend Malcom's Bird Brine.

  • Malcom’s Bird Brine – Turkey & Chicken Brine

    $11.00
  • Turkey Tom Briner Bucket

    $22.25$38.95

Or Inject the Turkey

If you don't have time to brine or just prefer injecting, this is a good method for pumping flavor and moisture into the meat.

Butcher BBQ Bird Booster makes a delicious injection! Mix it according to the directions on the container and inject the meat with an injector such as the one listed below.

  • Butcher BBQ Bird Booster Honey Injection

    $18.99
  • Big Green Egg – Stainless Steel Injector

  • Butcher BBQ Bird Booster Chipotle Injection

    $18.99

Season the Turkey

We recommend one of these three barbecue seasonings on turkey. Dizzy Pig's Mad Max is excellent, and Meadow Creek Gourmet Seasoning is a great choice too. If you want a little bit of kick in the seasoning, use Kosmos Dirty Bird.

Season the entire surface of the turkey and the cavity. Loosen the skin between the legs and work some seasoning into the thigh area under the skin.

  • Meadow Creek Gourmet Barbecue Seasoning

    $6.45$27.95
  • Dizzy Pig Mad Max Turkey Rub

    $13.00
  • Kosmos Q Dirty Bird Rub

    $9.95
  • Oakridge Secret Weapon Pork and Chicken Rub

    $8.95$15.95

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Got a Smoker?

There are many types of smokers that work for cooking a turkey, including Big Green Eggs, offset smokers, pellet grills, drum smokers, electric smokers, and even gas grills. In case you don't already have a smoker, here are a few great choices. Visit our showroom for a wide selection of smokers on display.

  • Meadow Creek SQ36 Barbeque Smoker

    $1,994.00 (add-ons in photos not included)
  • Daniel Boone Choice With Wifi

    $599.00
  • YS640s Pellet Grill

  • Large Big Green Egg

    $929.00

Fire the Smoker

We recommend smoking turkeys with pecan wood.

  • Offset smokers: log splits. Pecan log splits are hard to find around here so we often don't have it in stock, but we carry cherry and apple splits, which are both good choices for poultry.
  • Pellet smokers: 20-pound bags of BBQr's Delight pellets.
  • Kamado style cookers, such as Big Green Egg, or small charcoal smokers: wood chunks.
  • Gas or electric smokers: wood chips or the A-MAZE-N Cold Smoker (see below) and pellets (we also carry 1-pound bags).
  • Gas grills: A-MAZE-N Cold Smoker (see below) with BBQr's Delight pellets.

We also carry both briquettes and lump charcoal for you who own a charcoal smoker.

  • Royal Oak – Chef’s Select Charcoal Briquettes

    $25.49
  • Nature-Glo Lump Charcoal

    $19.49
  • Smoking Wood

    $20.00$185.00
  • BBQer’s Delight – Pecan Pellet Grill Fuel

    $4.99$17.99
  • Rockwood – Lump Charcoal

    $29.49

Smoke Generators

If you are smoking your turkey on a gas grill, use one of these. Or if you have a gas or electric smoker and want more smoke flavor than what the smoker produces, this is a great solution too.

  • A-maze-n 12-18″ Expanding Tube Smoker

    $36.99
  • A-maze-n 5×8 Maze Smoker

    $31.99

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Temperature Controllers

Are you running a charcoal smoker? These handy gadgets automate temperature control in the pit.

The Flame Boss has a probe for monitoring three meats and can be connected to Wifi for recording and monitoring the cook. It gives you temperature alerts and graphs of past cooking logs. 

The Genius is a Big Green Egg controller that connects wirelessly to a mobile app. It has similar functionality as the Flame Boss FB500 (in fact it uses the Flame Boss server), but is controlled completely from a mobile app or computer.

  • Flame Boss FB500 Wifi Kit

    $359.00
  • Big Green Egg – Genius

Thermometers

One of the keys to cooking your best turkey is to fully cook it without overcooking it. To read the internal temperature of the meat, you can either use a hand-held instant read thermometer (the Thermapen is an excellent choice) or a leave-in probe, such as the Thermoworks DOT or Smoke.

  • ThermoWorks Dot

  • ThermoWorks ThermoPop

  • ThermoWorks Smoke

  • ThermoWorks Classic Thermapen

  • ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4

Frying Your Turkey

If you prefer your turkey fried, we've got you covered too!


  • Backyard Pro – Stainless Steel Turkey Fryer Kit

    $159.99

Rotisserie Grilling

Do you love the magic of meat turning on a spit? Try the JoeTisserie on your Big Green Egg!

Making Gravy

Don't forget the gravy. This gadget makes it easy to remove the fat from the drippings.

  • Fox Run – Gravy and Fat Separator

    $44.99

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

How to Smoke a Turkey Spatchcock Style

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If you’re getting ready to smoke your first Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, this turkey smoking guide will walk you through the steps for cooking a turkey with confidence, even if this is your first try.

Or if you have already smoked a few turkeys, but are struggling to perfect your technique, we’d be happy to help you gear up for smoking a turkey that your guests will still be talking about in a year from now!

Did you know we are much more than a BBQ store? One reason we open our doors each day is to help ordinary people cook the best barbecue they've ever tasted! Feel free to call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, Pennsylvania to talk with one of our knowledgeable staff who will be happy to help you with your outdoor cooking questions.

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

In this cook I am cooking a 16-pound heritage breed turkey from Fossil Farms. I am using my Yoder YS640s pellet smoker fired with pecan pellets. I spatchcocked, dry brined, and seasoned the turkey, then smoked it until it reached my target temperature. It’s too bad it wasn’t Thanksgiving day with the whole family gathered around, because it was certainly a wonderful-tasting turkey.

Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to help you smoke a turkey just like this.

Buy the Turkey

Around Thanksgiving, some stores price turkey below their cost to get people into their stores. You can smoke an excellent turkey from Butterball or Honeysuckle, but there’s also a lot of value in going with a heritage breed or minimally-processed turkey. One of the advantages of cooking a turkey that hasn’t been injected with a solution is that you have more control over the level of saltiness in the meat.

Fossil Farms’ Nicholas Breed Turkeys are exceptionally juicy and tender, a delicious alternative to conventional turkeys raised on factory farms.

Why these turkeys are better:
  • Allowed to roam free for a happier and healthier life
  • Fed an all-vegetarian diet consisting of local corn, rye, oats, alfalfa, and soybean meal.
  • Raised by a network of 4th and 5th generation family farmers in Pennsylvania and humanely harvested in New Jersey.
  • 100% all-natural and free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids.

Treat your family and loved ones to a better turkey experience this Thanksgiving! Our 12–14 pound turkeys are sold out, but we still have 16–18 pound turkeys available. The price is $4.79/pound.

To purchase a Nicholas turkey, visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Turkeys Are Now In-Stock for Thanksgiving 2021

What size turkey should I cook? I prefer turkeys in the 12-16 pound range for smoking. If you need more meat, cook multiple turkeys instead of getting a bigger one. Figure roughly one pound of raw weight per person unless you want leftovers or are feeding big eaters.

If you buy a frozen turkey, plan ahead so you won’t be stressed over thawing and prepping it in time. It takes approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds to thaw a turkey in the fridge.

Here is the 16-pound heritage breed turkey I am cooking.

Trim the Turkey

Remove any packaging, including any pop-up thermometer, leg tie, or giblet bag. 

Cut off the wing tips.

Trim the neck skin back, being careful to leave enough skin to cover the meat. Turn the breast up for trimming, because this posture pulls the skin back.

Trim the flaps of skin and fat by the rear cavity and remove the tail.

Spatchcock the Turkey

I like to cook turkeys spatchcocked. This simply means you remove the backbone with shears and flatten the entire bird into a flat surface.

This method is supposed to cut down on the cooking time, making the meat more juicy. I am not quite sure what I think about that claim myself. I cooked another turkey whole at the same time on a different grill and it took the same amount of time, but I haven't done enough testing to know for sure.

However, I like having all the skin on one side and the turkey spread out more uniformly. You might also use this method if the spacing between your smoker shelves is too tight for an entire turkey or you want to split it in half to cook it on two different racks.

Side benefit to spatchcocking: This method also makes it easy to remove the leg quarters from the breast if one part gets done before the other, since it’s mostly skin that holds the two together once the backbone is removed. I will explain more about finishing temperatures below.

Set the turkey on a pan or cutting board with the spine facing up. Using a kitchen shears, cut the entire length of the backbone on both sides. I like to start it with a meat knife, but part of it will require a meat cutting shears.

Cut through the breast bone an inch or two until you can push the sides of the turkey into a flattened shape.

Brine the Turkey

Most turkeys from the grocery store have already been injected with a salt solution, so we don’t recommend brining those. If you are cooking one that is minimally processed, such as from Fossil Farms, a local butcher or a specialty grocery store (Whole Foods), brining is a real game changer. I won’t attempt to explain the science behind it, but it does tenderize the meat and make it more juicy.

You can either inject your turkey or brine it, and there are two methods of brining—wet brining and dry brining. As I said above, in this story, I’m dry brining the turkey.

For dry brining, sprinkle the entire surface of the turkey with kosher salt. It takes about 1 teaspoon per pound, but the amount is not critical if you make sure you have a decent coating over the skin. Don’t worry about working it under the skin the salt will pull through the skin without a problem.

Set the turkey in the fridge on a large pizza pan or anything with an edge to hold the liquid for 12 to 24 hours. If you are running out of time, you can shorten this step, but be aware that it might have less effect on the meat.

Season the Turkey

I am using Kosmos Q Dirty Bird to season this turkey. This is a delicious rub on turkey and any poultry. 

Season the entire bird with a moderate layer of the rub.

Carefully loosen some of the skin over the breast and uniformly work some of the seasoning directly onto the meat, being careful not to tear the skin.

Flip the turkey over and do the same on the inside of the legs. Carefully loosen the skin between the edge of the rear cavity and the leg, then shake a little bit of seasoning into the cavity you just opened. Be careful not to add too much and use your fingers to spread the seasoning around.

This is what the turkey should look like at this point:

Cook the Turkey

Fire your smoker at 325 degrees F. Turkey doesn’t benefit from low and slow cooking, and the higher temperature will give you a more crispy skin.

In this cook I’m using my Yoder YS640s Pellet Smoker and have it fired with BBQr’s Delight Pecan Pellets. I also inserted one of the food temperature probes from the control panel into the thickest part of the breast so I could monitor it on my phone.

The USDA minimum recommended temperature for turkey and chicken is 165 degrees F. You can safely cook the turkey breast until it reaches 160 degrees and let carryover cooking take it up the rest of the way. Breast meat is very lean, so if you take the breast meat higher than that, it will not become better, but start drying out instead.

We prefer cooking the dark meat (legs and thighs) to at least 180 degrees for a better texture and appearance. It’s okay to remove it from the smoker once the thickest part of the thigh reaches the recommended temperature, but you’ll find that, while the meat is safe to eat, it will usually still be clinging tightly to the bone.

One of the keys to cooking the ultimate turkey is to not overcook it. Yet, the white and dark meat are two different types of meat and they probably won’t both reach their ideal temperature at the same time. So how can we hope to cook the perfect turkey?

Most articles on smoking a turkey don't address this problem, but here are some tips and tricks to help you overcome it:

  • The easiest way to cook a turkey with perfectly predictable results is to separate the two meats and cook them independently to the ideal target temperature.
  • Brining widens the window of perfection, so the meat is more forgiving, whether you are cooking the turkey whole or in parts.
  • To give the legs a head-start during the cook, you can take the bird out of the fridge one hour before cooking and put a bag of ice over the breast. The thighs will start warming up a bit, and the breasts will stay cold. This sounds odd, but it works!

In this recipe we are cooking it all together, but we've brined the meat, so we're aiming to get the whole thing done without overcooking any part of it.

Here is an example of how you can use a hot spot in your smoker to your advantage—turn the legs toward the hottest part of the smoker. In my pellet smoker, the hottest area is directly over the burner so I positioned the turkey with the breast facing the opposite side of the smoker. 

How long does it take to smoke a turkey? Cooking at 325 degrees F, it will take around 10 minutes per pound. My 16-pound turkey took 2 hours and 45 minutes, almost exactly 10 minutes per pound. This time estimate should hold out for different size turkeys, but remember that it could take longer, so try to keep the serving time a bit flexible.

In this cook, the dark meat rose above the temperature I was looking for, but the brine helped to keep everything juicy. I could have 1) rotated it partway through the cook to help balance it out or 2) removed the leg quarters at a lower temp, but sometimes it’s better not to overthink stuff and just have fun, so that's what I did, and it was awesome, even though the dark meat got hotter than it should have.

Serve the Turkey

As soon as the turkey was transferred to a platter, I had to sample it—pitmaster privilege, you know. 

The skin was crispy, and the meat was tender, juicy, and flavorful — in other words, it was fabulously amazing!

Are you looking forward to cooking a turkey that will get great reviews from everyone around your holiday table? It’s not rocket science, and if you put some effort into planning your cook, it just could be the best turkey you've ever cooked!

Did you know we are much more than a BBQ store?

One reason we open our doors in the morning is to help ordinary people discover how to cook amazing barbecue! Feel free to call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, Pennsylvania to talk with one of our knowledgeable staff who will be happy to help you with your outdoor cooking questions.

Also, if you haven’t yet, make sure you check out our supplies and equipment guide for cooking a turkey here.

Turkey Tools

Here is a list of products we recommend for cooking your turkey:

  • Meadow Creek Gourmet Barbecue Seasoning

    $6.45$27.95
  • Royal Oak – Chef’s Select Charcoal Briquettes

    $25.49
  • Malcom’s Bird Brine – Turkey & Chicken Brine

    $11.00
  • Nature-Glo Lump Charcoal

    $19.49
  • Meadow Creek SQ36 Barbeque Smoker

    $1,994.00 (add-ons in photos not included)
  • Smoking Wood

    $20.00$185.00
  • Dizzy Pig Mad Max Turkey Rub

    $13.00
  • Turkey Tom Briner Bucket

    $22.25$38.95
  • Kosmos Q Dirty Bird Rub

    $9.95
  • Oakridge Game Changer Brine and Injection

    $12.95
  • Oakridge Secret Weapon Pork and Chicken Rub

    $8.95$15.95
  • BBQer’s Delight – Pecan Pellet Grill Fuel

    $4.99$17.99
  • The Traditional Turkey Recipe

    $62.95
  • A-maze-n 12-18″ Expanding Tube Smoker

    $36.99
  • Daniel Boone Choice With Wifi

    $599.00
  • Flame Boss FB500 Wifi Kit

    $359.00
  • Butcher BBQ Bird Booster Honey Injection

    $18.99
  • YS640s Pellet Grill

  • Large Big Green Egg

    $929.00
  • Royal Oak – Chef’s Select Charcoal Briquettes Skid

    $605.39
  • Kamado Joe – JoeTisserie

    $249.99$299.99
  • A-maze-n 5×8 Maze Smoker

    $31.99
  • Rockwood – Lump Charcoal

    $29.49
  • The BBQ Turkey Recipe

    $87.37
  • Thermoworks Thermapen ONE

  • Fox Run – Gravy and Fat Separator

    $44.99
  • Backyard Pro – Stainless Steel Turkey Fryer Kit

    $159.99
  • Big Green Egg – Genius

  • Big Green Egg – Stainless Steel Injector

  • ThermoWorks Dot

  • Butcher BBQ Bird Booster Chipotle Injection

    $18.99
  • ThermoWorks ThermoPop

  • ThermoWorks Smoke

  • ThermoWorks Classic Thermapen

  • ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.


Thanksgiving Recipe Library


About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.

How to Smoke a Turkey in the Big Green Egg (The Traditional Turkey)

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In this guide, I will show you how to wet brine and smoke a holiday turkey worth remembering in a Big Green Egg using our Traditional Turkey Method. Download this recipe in a printable format to make sure you don't miss any details:

Whether you are new to smoking turkeys or wishing to improve your technique, this smoked turkey recipe will give you some proven tips and tricks for smoking a turkey that your guests will love!

So if you are ready to say goodbye to dry and boring turkey, let's dive in!

Do you need help cooking your holiday turkey? We believe amazing barbecue is not just for celebrities. Visit our store for everything you need to cook outdoors, including free and friendly advice from fellow barbecue enthusiasts. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

In this story, I am cooking a 16-pound heritage breed turkey from Fossil Farms. I am using my XL Big Green Egg fired with Rockwood lump charcoal. I wet brined and seasoned the turkey, then smoked it until it reached my target temperature.

I didn't make any gravy, but if you want to step things up a notch, you can collect the drippings in a pan during the cook, then strain the drippings and use what's left for a delicious gravy on mashed potatoes and turkey. Get step-by-step instructions here:

Buy a Heritage Breed Turkey

If you're cooking turkey only once a year, it only makes sense to invest a bit of extra effort into making it the best you can! The first step in cooking an incredible holiday turkey is by choosing a Nicholas turkey from Fossil Farms.

  • These turkeys are raised humanely in free-roaming environment. 
  • They are 100% natural and were fed a vegetarian diet of farm-local corn, rye, oats, alfalfa and soybean meal.
  • They are raised to the specifications of the “Never Ever Program”, where antibiotics, hormones and steroids are never used. 
  • They are minimally processed, which means they are perfect for brining, putting you in control of how salty you make them.

In summary, these turkeys are not only exceptionally tender and juicy, but also clean, so you can be confident about the meat you serve around your holiday table. Our customers have shared rave reviews about these turkeys, and I'm confident you'll be blown away by the quality of these if you follow the method below.

Step 1: Order a Nicholas Turkey

To purchase a Nicholas turkey, visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Turkeys Are Now In-Stock for Thanksgiving 2021

What size turkey should I cook? I prefer turkeys in the 12-18 pound range for smoking. If you need more meat, cook multiple turkeys instead of getting a bigger one. 1 pound of raw weight per person is a good guide to use and will allow for some leftover turkey sandwiches over the weekend! If serving a lot of people, cook two small turkeys rather than one huge one. The smaller ones will cook faster and more consistently, and the meat will be juicier and more tender.

If you buy a frozen turkey, plan ahead so you won’t be stressed over thawing and prepping it in time. It takes approximately 6 hours per pound when thawing a turkey in the fridge.

Here is the 16-pound heritage breed turkey I am cooking for this recipe.

Trim the Turkey

Remove any packaging, including a pop-up thermometer or tie on the legs, and the giblet bag. 

Cut off the wing tips.

Trim the neck skin back, being careful to leave enough there to cover the meat. Turn the breast side up for trimming because this posture pulls the skin back.

Trim the flaps of skin and fat by the rear cavity and remove the tail.

Brine the Turkey

When cooking a turkey that is minimally processed, such as from Fossil Farms, brining makes a huge difference in how juicy and tender the meat is.

For this recipe I am showing you how to wet brine a turkey. The challenge of wet brining is 1) keeping the meat submerged in the liquid and 2) finding a container big enough to hold a turkey without taking too much room in the fridge. The Briner Bucket makes it easy.

The first step is to mix the brine. Our top recommendation is Malcom's Bird Brine.

We recommend using 1 container of Bird Brine per turkey. I used ice to cool the brine so I could use it immediately, but if you have time, follow the instructions in our Traditional Turkey guide.

Pour the brine into the Briner Bucket, then put the turkey into the bucket and position the locking plate just above the turkey. Add enough water to cover the turkey completely and set the bucket into the fridge. Brine the turkey for one hour per pound of turkey.

After removing the turkey from the brine, I carefully loosened the skin covering the breast and between the rear cavity opening and the legs so that I could season the meat directly. Take your time to avoid tearing the skin.

Set the turkey on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and return it to the refrigerator uncovered for 12 hours to draw some of the moisture out of the skin to help it get more crispy.

Season the Turkey

To season the turkey, I used Dizzy Pig Mad Max Turkey Seasoning. This rub is a great choice and will give your holiday meals the kick they need, jazz up your gravy and stuffing, and help you celebrate in style!

I seasoned the entire bird with a moderate layer of the rub. Take your turkey to a new level by seasoning it with a butter paste as explained in the turkey guide.

Shake some seasoning into the opening under the skin against the legs. Use your fingers to spread the seasoning around and be careful not to add an excessive amount.

Gently pull back the skin covering the breast and sprinkle the meat with seasoning, then work some seasoning further underneath the skin with your fingers.

This is what the turkey should look like at this point:

Cook the Turkey

Fire your smoker at 325 degrees F. Turkey doesn’t benefit from low and slow cooking, and the higher temperature will give you a more crispy skin and cook the turkey faster, which results in a juicier turkey.

In this cook I’m using my XL Big Green Egg and have it fired with Rockwood Lump Charcoal. I set up the grill with the convEGGtor for cooking with indirect heat.

This is what the charcoal looked like when I opened the bag. Notice the large pieces at the top of the bag!

To fire the Egg I dumped in enough charcoal to fill the Kick Ash Basket and lit two wax fire starter squares. The fire was ready to go in around 30 minutes without using a BBQ Dragon. Then I threw in 3 chunks of pecan wood for some flavor.

Next, I set in the convEGGtor and the cooking grate as shown here:

Start with both vents wide open. Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers from dropping out the bottom of the grill.

Once the temperature is within 50 degrees of your target temperature (275 degrees), slide both vents to 3/4" open and then adjust the top vent as needed to stabilize it at 325 degrees.

It will take some time to master temperature control, but it works on this principle: Give the grill more air to raise the temperature and give it less air to lower the temperature. This is done by adjusting both the top and bottom vents.

If you understand this principle, you can figure out how to make it work in any scenario. For example, depending on how you fired the grill, you may need to adjust the vents outside the range I suggested above. Keep in mind a higher cooking temperature requires more air than a lower one. For most cooks, you'll be running with the vents between 1/4" (a pencil thickness) and 1-1/2".

Set the turkey on the grate breast side up.

Now we're cooking...

He's gonna be tasty!

How to Know When Turkey Is Done

The USDA minimum recommended temperature for turkey and chicken is 165 degrees F. You can safely cook the turkey breast until it reaches 160 degrees and let carryover cooking take it up the rest of the way. Breast meat is very lean, so if you take the breast meat higher than that, it will not become better, but start drying out instead.

We prefer cooking the dark meat (legs and thighs) to at least 175-180 degrees for a better texture and appearance. If the thighs are lagging, make sure they reach at least 175 degrees. If the breasts are running lower, cook them to at least 160.

One of the keys to cooking the ultimate turkey is to not overcook it. Yet, the white and dark meat are two different types of meat and they often don’t both reach our target temperature at the same time. So how can we hope to cook the perfect turkey?

Most articles on smoking a turkey don't address this issue, but here are some tips and tricks to help you overcome it:

  • Brining widens the window of perfection, so the meat is more forgiving, whether you are cooking the turkey whole or in parts.
  • To give the legs a head-start during the cook, you can take the bird out of the fridge and let it sit with a bag of ice over the breast for 30-45 minutes. The thighs will start warming up a bit, and the breasts will stay cold. This sounds odd, but it works!

In this recipe we've brined the meat, so we're aiming to get the whole thing done without overcooking any part of it. If part of the bird gets a bit higher than we wish, the brine will help keep the turkey juicy.

How long does it take to smoke a turkey? Cooking at 325 degrees F, it will take around 10 minutes per pound. My 16-pound turkey took 2 hours and 45 minutes, almost exactly 10 minutes per pound. This time estimate should hold out for different size turkeys, but remember it could take longer, so try to keep the serving time a bit flexible.

If you are cooking an unbrined turkey, add 1 or 2 minutes per pound to the cooking time.

I used my instant-read Thermapen MK4 for checking the internal temperature of the meat.

In this cook, the dark meat rose above the temperature I was looking for, but the brine helped to keep everything juicy. I could have watched it more closely and moved the upper part of the turkey toward the edge of the grill partway through the cook, but I just left it in one place and it was awesome, even though the dark meat got hotter than I was shooting for.

Serve the Turkey

Once the turkey reached the right temperature, I transferred it to a platter for carving.

Now for the best part... the finished product. The meat was tender, juicy, and flavorful!

The back (side toward the fire) looked incredible.

Slice the breast lobes off the carcass:

Slice the breast against the grain:

Carve and serve the legs and wings whole or pull the meat. If the skin is crispy enough to your liking, you can chop some of it and mix it with the pulled meat.

Are you looking forward to cooking a turkey that will get raving reviews from all around your holiday table? It’s not rocket science, and if you put some effort into planning your cook, it just could be the best turkey you've ever cooked!

Did you know we are much more than a BBQ store?

One reason we open our doors each morning is to help ordinary people discover how to cook amazing barbecue! Feel free to call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, Pennsylvania to talk with one of our knowledgeable staff who will be happy to help you with your outdoor cooking questions.

Shopping List for Cooking This Turkey Recipe:

  1. Nicholas Turkey
  2. The Briner Bucket
  3. Dizzy Pig Mad Max Seasoning
  4. Malcom's Bird Brine

Printable Recipe

Download this recipe in a printable format with step-by-step instructions to make sure you don't miss any details:


Thanksgiving Recipe Library


About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.

Turkey Stuffing Recipe

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Do you need a tried-and-true turkey stuffing recipe to complete your holiday dinner? Here's a traditional Amish favorite you can't miss!


While the turkey is the centerpiece of a memorable Thanksgiving dinner, a delicious stuffing is also an important part of your meal. In this recipe, we'll show you how to make a traditional Amish stuffing that will not disappoint.

Ingredients

  • 16 cups bread cubes
  • 1-1/4 sticks salted butter
  • 1/4 cup lard
  • 2 eggs
  • Scant 3/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups celery (finely chopped in food processor)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the lard. Mix the two until they are fully melted.
  3. Remove the mixture from the heat and thoroughly stir one-half of it into the bread cubes, then set them aside.
  4. Beat the eggs well and add the salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the bread cubes and stir the mixture thoroughly.
  5. Move the saucepan back to the heat and add the celery to the remaining butter and lard. Stir the celery until it's hot.
  6. Let the celery cool, then stir it into the bread mixture.
  7. Cook the stuffing at 350 degrees in a covered baking dish, stirring it occasionally, until it’s hot throughout (approximately 30–45 minutes).

Serves approximately 12 adults.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this delicious turkey stuffing! Check out the list of posts below for more resources to help you with your holiday cooking.

Nicholas Breed Turkeys Available

Fossil Farms’ Nicholas Breed Turkeys are exceptionally juicy and tender, a delicious alternative to conventional turkeys raised on factory farms.

Why these turkeys are better:

  • Allowed to roam free for a happier and healthier life
  • Fed an all-vegetarian diet consisting of local corn, rye, oats, alfalfa, and soybean meal.
  • Raised by a network of 4th and 5th generation family farmers in Pennsylvania and humanely harvested in New Jersey.
  • 100% all-natural and free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids.

Treat your family and loved ones to a better turkey experience this Thanksgiving! Our 12–14 pound turkeys are sold out, but we still have 16–18 pound turkeys available. The price is $4.79/pound.

To purchase a Nicholas turkey, visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Turkeys Are Now In-Stock For Thanksgiving 2021

Thanksgiving Recipe Library

How to Make Smoked Turkey Gravy

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A smoked turkey gravy is the final ingredient in a Thanksgiving feast your guests will never forget.

What makes my smoked turkey gravy unique is the Asian-style homemade stock I use for the base. The drippings from the turkey splashing into the gravy and the subtle wood-fired smoke swirling over the gravy will redefine everything you thought you knew about gravy!

Smoked Turkey Gravy

Yields approximately 2–3 cups

Ingredients

Instructions 

  1. Warm the stock in a saucepan.
  2. Pour approximately 1 inch depth of stock into a pan (too much stock in the drip pan can slow down your cooking time). The pan should have 2–3" sides and be large enough to catch all of the drippings while the turkey is smoking. Do not use a copper pan, as it might react to the acids and salt in the stock and drippings. If you don’t have time to make stock, use a store-bought unsalted chicken stock or broth. You will sacrifice the exceptional flavor of a homemade stock, but the outcome will still be delicious.
  3. Crumble the bay leaves and add them to the pan. Set the pan into the smoker.
  4. The best setup is to use a sturdy pan, lay a wire rack across the top, and set the turkey on the wire rack. If you’re smoking the turkey on a smoker with multiple cooking grates, you can set the pan on a grate beneath the grate holding the turkey (make sure the grate holding the turkey is cleaned well before starting to prevent black grease from dripping into the pan). If neither of these is an option for you, set a V-rack in the pan and put the turkey in the V-rack. We don’t recommend this method because the turkey is much closer to the stock and the stock will be cooler than the air temperature in the smoker, which results in a slightly longer cook time. This affects the thighs more than the breasts, making it harder to cook both to perfection.
  5. In the meantime, keep the remaining chicken stock warmed in the saucepan. If the level of liquid in the drip pan drops below 50%, add more stock to maintain the original depth.
  6. When the turkey is within 10 degrees of its target internal temperature, carefully pour the drippings from the cavity of the turkey into the drip pan and remove the drip pan from the smoker.
  7. If you used a V-rack, transfer the turkey directly onto the cooking grate and keep smoking the turkey until it’s done.
  8. Strain the contents of the drip pan into a fat separator. Set the strained gravy into the freezer for 10 minutes to speed up the fat separation.
  9. Pour the gravy into a saucepan (without the separated fat) to warm it. If it’s too thin for your preference, bring it to a boil, stirring it briskly to keep it from burning. When it reaches the thickness you want, reduce the heat to low.
  10. Sample the gravy. It should have a rich and savory flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste, stirring it well. Be careful not to over-season it!
  11. Keep the gravy over low heat, stirring it occasionally, until ready to serve.

Should you thicken a turkey gravy?

I never thicken a gravy with flour or cornstarch. Thickening a smoked turkey gravy like this muddies the incredible flavor profile you’ve worked hard to create. Besides, a thin gravy will soak into the turkey meat a bit, but a thickened, starchy gravy just sits on top of the meat. If your gravy is too thin for your preference, you can boil it down as explained above.

Check out my step-by-step instructions for making a homemade Asian-style stock with a depth of flavor that will amaze you:

Still have questions? Visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA or call us at (717) 355-0779 for help with your outdoor cooking questions. We carry everything you need to cook outdoors, but more importantly, we have personal experience in smoking and grilling and are happy to help you overcome your cooking challenges free of charge.

Nicholas Breed Turkeys Available

Fossil Farms’ Nicholas Breed Turkeys are exceptionally juicy and tender, a delicious alternative to conventional turkeys raised on factory farms.

Why these turkeys are better:

  • Allowed to roam free for a happier and healthier life
  • Fed an all-vegetarian diet consisting of local corn, rye, oats, alfalfa, and soybean meal.
  • Raised by a network of 4th and 5th generation family farmers in Pennsylvania and humanely harvested in New Jersey.
  • 100% all-natural and free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids.

Treat your family and loved ones to a better turkey experience this Thanksgiving! Our 12–14 pound turkeys are sold out, but we still have 16–18 pound turkeys available. The price is $4.79/pound.

To purchase a Nicholas turkey, visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

We Now Have Turkeys In-Stock For Thanksgiving 2021

About the author: Matt Miller is an employee at Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply and avid student of all things barbecue. He enjoys developing recipes, trying new seasonings, and helping customers with their smoking and grilling questions.

Holiday Recipe: How to Smoke a Prime Rib on a Big Green Egg

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Are you excited about cooking a holiday meal this Christmas that will linger in the memories of those who enjoy it with you? Or planning a fancy-ish menu for a party or business conference?

Smoked prime rib roast is perfect for a festive meal or when you want something more elegant than grilled chicken or smoked brisket.

If this is your first time smoking a prime rib, it may feel intimidating, but my tips and tricks in this recipe will help you smoke a prime rib you can be proud of. Even if it isn’t perfect it will be delicious, and you might even surprise yourself!

A beef roast cooked by this method is best cooked to medium rare or medium doneness. If some of your guests don’t appreciate a good steak, they might not care for this dish either. My suggestion is to prepare a second meat option, such as chicken or pork. If you’re cooking a holiday meal, you could offer a double-smoked ham with a cranberry glaze.

Have any outdoor cooking questions? Need some supplies for cooking a holiday meal on your smoker or grill? We'd love to help! Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA during store hours (listed at the bottom of this page).

Purchase the Roast

I purchased a whole 18-pound boneless ribeye roast. If that’s too much meat for you, you can get one cut down to five or six pounds. If your grocery store doesn’t have any in the display case, talk to the butcher about breaking one down for you. They might even tie it up for you.

The roast I cooked was a choice grade from Sam's Club. Their prime grade ribeyes (referring to the grading system, not the cut) are nearly twice the cost per pound and they were out of stock, so I decided to go with choice.

If you can find prime grade and want to spend the extra money for better marbling, it would give you more exquisite results, but for most people on a budget, choice offers the best balance of cost and quality.

I like to prepare the meat the night before I plan to cook it for two reasons: First, it gives the dry brine time to work its magic in the fridge, and second, we won’t have to worry about spending an hour prepping the meat the day of the cook. If you’re cooking this on a special day, you might be glad the meat is ready to season and set on the smoker.

Trim

Take your time to trim the roast because you want to build up a tasty bark that won't need to be discarded at serving time.

Carefully trim off the fat cap and the silverskin. Remove anything on the surface of the meat that you don’t want to eat so that the bark can build directly on the meat.

The meat will cook more evenly if it’s shaped like a cylinder. If the meat is oblong or tear-shaped, I recommend you tie some loops around the roast with cooking twine every couple of inches to hold the roast into a more round shape. The twine also helps keep the muscles from separating during the cook and heating unevenly.

Dry Brine

This step helps to keep the final product more juicy.

Salt the outside of the roast all over with kosher salt. It takes roughly 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. You can substitute kosher salt with table salt (use 1/4 teaspoon per pound). You can also just eyeball it if you’re careful not to cake it on too much.

Set the roast in a pan, cover it with plastic wrap, and set it in the fridge overnight, or at least four hours.

Season

I seasoned the entire surface with Oakridge Carne Crosta Steakhouse Rub, a coffee-infused seasoning designed to create an irresistible crust on beef roasts and steaks! The directions say you should apply the rub at least 30 minutes before putting the meat on the smoker.

If you prefer mixing your own beef rub, you can use this one:

Meathead’s Cow Crust

Mix the following ingredients in a bowl and season the meat with it, or elevate the flavors by turning it into a paste, which amplifies the flavors of the rub. Simply add 1 part water to 1 part dry rub, pour the paste on the meat, and rub it in. The meat may be put on the smoker immediately.

  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves, lightly crushed or broken
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme or oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon American paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne powder

Makes enough for 10–12 pounds of beef. Multiply as needed.

Smoke

For this cook, I’m using my Big Green Egg XL. My roast has just enough room on this size grill. I fired the Egg with Rockwood lump charcoal and and three chunks of pecan smoking wood.

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Cook the roast with indirect heat at 225 degrees F until the center is within 10–15 degrees of your target temperature. I was aiming for medium-rare in the center, so my final target temperature was 135 degrees.

Mine took 3-1/2 hours to reach 120 degrees. As an estimate, figure 30–40 minutes per inch of diameter.

How to Fire a Big Green Egg for Indirect 225 Degree F Cooking

  • Add enough charcoal to fill the Kick Ash Basket, or if you’re not using a basket, up to the top of the firebox ring.
  • Open the top and bottom vents all the way. Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers from dropping out the bottom of the grill.
  • Light two wax fire starter squares (available in our store) and cover them with several pieces of charcoal.
  • Replace the convEGGctor and cooking grate.
  • Close the grill lid after about 10 minutes and wait for the temperature to rise.
  • Once the temperature is within 5–10 degrees of your target temperature, slide both vents to around 3/4". Watch the thermometer for 10 seconds and determine whether it’s going up or down. Make vent adjustments as needed to dial it in. (Give the grill more air to raise the temperature and less air to lower the temperature.) For this cook, I was running with the top vent open about 1/4” at the widest part and the bottom vent at roughly 1/2” open, but that will depend on how the grill is fired and how long you open the lid. It should not take major adjustments throughout the cook to keep it on track.
Pecan Smoking Wood

Pecan Smoking Wood

Rockwood Lump Charcoal and Wood

Rockwood Lump Charcoal and Wood

Top Vent Open All the Way

Top Vent Wide Open

Bottom Vent Open All the Way

Bottom Vent Wide Open

At Cooking Temperature

Grill at Target Te