Looking for Smoked Turkey with Crispy Skin? Try Adding a Torch

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smoked turkey in the smoker.jpg
Photos by Eric Barton
The smoker makes a mean turkey, but the skin? Not so much.

If you smoked a turkey this Thanksgiving, you probably ended up with what's been on my plate in the past: a juicy, flavorful bird with skin as supple as rubber bands. So in an attempt to avoid that this year, I tried a new trick: After the bird hit 165 degrees, I pulled it out of the smoker and hit it with a crème brûlée torch.

The results were, at the least, fun to watch. The skin fissured and split as it
carmelized. Little geysers of juice shot out. And skin the color of honey darkened to a golden brown, with charred bits here and there.

smoked turkey getting flamed closeup.jpg

In the end, it was better, but it still didn't result in a crispy skin like you get from baking the bird.

smoked turkey plated.jpg

Next time I'll make two additions to this first try: Instead of my wimpy kitchen torch, it's time to upgrade to a full-on welder's torch. Then I'll flame the sucker before putting it in the smoker. Maybe then the skin won't end up pushed into the corner of plates with the remnants of the cranberry sauce.

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