The Trick For Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey Just Like In A Smoker

Of all the ways to prepare meat, busting out a smoker box might be the last thing an average home cook would think of. Braising? Sure. Roasting? Absolutely. Pan-searing? You bet. But to those who aren't accustomed to outdoor grilling, the thought of smoking your own meat might seem expensive, time-consuming, and kinda scary. This is especially true when it comes time to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, which is traditionally slow-roasted and basted in its juices. 

Letting a 20-pound bird hang out in the oven for the better part of the day often yields a juicy and flavorful result, but it presents a problem if you're working with limited oven space or you're coming down to the wire. To save precious hours and lend a deeply flavorful and tender bite to your turkey, Lifehacker suggests buying some wood chips and fashioning your oven into a smoking rig. Don't fear — it's easier than it sounds. 

Maple, pecan, or apple chips will do

For those of us who don't have a backyard, the Vaughn Stafford Gray version in Lifehacker swaps a smoker with a convection or conventional oven, a sheet pan, and some pre-soaked wood chips. 

After one oven-smoking attempt gone awry, Gray came across a method that involved using a disposable catering pan filled halfway with pre-soaked wood chips. A rack goes underneath the pan, and the meat goes on top. "I tried it, and it worked exceptionally," says Gray, who put his own spin on it. He suggests maple, apple, or pecan wood chips for smoked turkey, claiming they lend an "Instagram-worthy deep-brown color and impart a subtle sweetness and delicate smokiness."

To get started, soak your chips in water for at least 30 minutes. Then, spread them in an even layer on a sheet pan (to ensure minimal smoke alarm risk) and add a quarter cup of their soaking liquid to the pan. Top the wood with a wire rack, and a catering tray poked with 10-12 holes, and then add your turkey. Wrap the whole thing in foil, "ensuring you've created a puffy but tightly-sealed envelope" that doesn't cling to the skin. Finally, set the thing in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the turkey reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and you should have a delicious, smokey-tasting turkey.