Roasting Thanksgiving turkey is a ritual in my family.
Like clockwork, my mom—who says she hates turkey—tries to convince us we don’t actually need one. Why don’t we roast a chicken instead? Or better yet, throw some filet mignon on the grill? And every year I try to whip up a bird that’ll change her mind, because Thanksgiving calls for turkey, darn it.
Don’t get me wrong, my iterations of turkey are really good. So good that people fight over the leftovers (if there are any). But I’m not looking for really good; I’m looking for the best.
Everything changed last year when I tried making a smoked bird. Tender, succulent BBQ is always a crowd-pleaser. Plus, in case you’ve missed the memo, smoky food is everything right now. Why couldn’t I apply some pitmaster wisdom to my turkey-to-be?
After perusing the dark corners of barbecue forums, I discovered a little secret. There was no reason to invest in a fancy smoker (or an extra warm jacket) to achieve the complex flavor of smoked bird. All I needed was a 3.5-ounce bottle of liquid smoke.