No smoker? No problem, this recipe includes oven and grill instructions too. Dry brining the turkey at least a day in advance and using a meat thermometer will all but guarantee that your turkey is moist.
1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey, thawed if frozen
¼ cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried sage
8 tablespoons salted butter
1. You can ask your butcher to spatchcock your turkey for you, but it is also easy enough to do at home. Your turkey should be completely thawed and the neck and giblets are removed. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Set the turkey backbone up on a cutting board with the drumsticks closest to you. Use a heavy pair of shears to cut out the backbone – set your non dominant hand on the turkey to steady it and work up one side of the backbone at a time. Once you’ve removed the backbone (save it for turkey stock or add it to the smoker for a cook’s treat) flip the turkey over and press both hands against the breast plate to flatten the turkey.
2. Season the turkey all over with the salt, thyme, and sage. Set the tukey skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet and store, uncovered in the fridge overnight.
3. Remove the turkey from the fridge about an hour before you begin cooking. Heat a smoker to 275 degrees F and prepare it for smoking with apple, maple, or alder wood. Alternatively you can set your gas grill for low, indirect cooking or heat an oven to 300 degrees F for roasting.
4. Cook the turkey for 4 hours at low heat directly on the grill or smoker. Remove the turkey from the smoker and coat with the salted butter — you can melt this and baste it on like a sauce or just rub the room temperature butter all over the bird. Crank the smoker, grill or oven to 450 degrees F and cook the turkey for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the skin is super crisp and the 160 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast. The thigh and leg pieces will be closer to 170 when the turkey is fully cooked.
5. Rest the turkey, loosely covered with foil for 20 minutes before carving.