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Mastering the Art of Quick, Oven-Smoked Turkey: Michael Symon’s Flavor Trick

Michael Symon’s Flavor Trick for a Quick, Oven-Smoked Turkey

When it comes to cooking methods, smoking meat is an ancient technique that has been cherished in many cultures. The savory, smoky flavor of smoked meat is something that many people can’t resist. However, traditional smoking methods can be time-consuming and require specialized equipment. But fear not, because renowned chef Michael Symon has a trick that any home cook can use to achieve a delicious smoked flavor in a fraction of the time. In this article, we’ll explore Michael Symon’s flavor trick for a quick, oven-smoked turkey and how you can recreate this delicious dish at home.

The art of smoking meat

Smoking meat is a culinary adventure that dates back centuries. It is believed that the first smoking techniques were discovered by accident when meat was exposed to smoky wood fires while drying. Over time, smoking meat evolved into a deliberate cooking process that imparts a unique flavor profile to various types of meats. From Montreal smoked meat to Cajun smoked sausage noodles, the smoky flavor has become a popular delicacy. However, traditional smoking methods can be time-consuming, often requiring 8 to 12 hours to smoke a turkey (via Butterball).

Michael Symon’s Hack for Quick Smoked Turkey

If you crave the delicious flavor of smoked turkey but don’t have the time or equipment for traditional smoking, Michael Symon has a solution. His trick is to add a woodsy flavor to a roasted turkey using a simple but effective technique. The key to his method is to spatchcock the turkey and use wood chips to infuse it with smoky goodness.

Spatchcocking: The secret to faster cooking

Spatchcocking is a technique that removes the backbone of the turkey, allowing it to lie flat during cooking. Not only does this method reduce cooking time, but it also increases the turkey’s ability to absorb the smoky flavors directly. By opening up the turkey, the smoke can penetrate the meat more efficiently, resulting in a deliciously flavored bird.

Using Wood Chips in the Oven

To create the smoky flavors, Symon suggests using wood chips, which are readily available near the charcoal briquettes in most grocery stores. Before using, soak the wood chips in water to prevent them from burning too quickly. Place the soaked wood chips in a roasting pan and place a spatchcocked turkey on a roasting rack above. Symon begins the cooking process by covering the turkey with foil on the stove, which heats the wood chips and begins the smoking process. When the wood chips begin to smoke, the turkey, still on the rack, is transferred to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.

Enhancing the Smoky Flavor

For those who want to intensify the smoky flavor, Symon suggests creating a rub for the turkey before cooking. Ingredients such as smoked paprika, smoked salt and even smoked sugar can be used to enhance the overall flavor. Applying the rub to the turkey before cooking will further enhance the smoky profile of the dish, resulting in a quick-cooked smoked turkey that rivals the real thing.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to Michael Symon’s flavor trick, you can now enjoy the irresistible taste of smoked turkey without the lengthy smoking process. By spatchcocking the turkey and using wood chips in the oven, you can achieve a quick-cooked smoked turkey that’s packed with woodsy flavors. Whether you’re hosting a holiday feast or just craving a smoky treat, this method is a game changer for home cooks. So put down the liquid smoke and give this technique a try. Your taste buds will thank you as you savor the deliciousness of a quick, oven-smoked turkey that’s almost as good as the traditional smoked variety.


Can I get a smoky flavor in less time using Michael Symon’s method?

Yes, Michael Symon’s Flavor Trick allows you to achieve a delicious smoky flavor in a fraction of the time compared to traditional smoking methods. By spatchcocking the turkey and using wood chips in the oven, you can enjoy the woodsy flavor without the lengthy smoking process.

Where can I get wood chips for this recipe?

You can find wood chips near the charcoal briquettes in most grocery stores. Look for them in the same section where grilling and smoking supplies are typically found.

Do I need special equipment to smoke a turkey in the oven using this method?

No, you don’t need any special equipment. All you need is a roasting pan, roasting rack, foil, and wood chips. These items can be found in most kitchens.

How does spatchcocking affect the cooking process?

Spatchcocking involves removing the backbone of the turkey, which allows it to lay flat during cooking. This technique significantly reduces cooking time and helps the turkey absorb the smoky flavors more efficiently.

Can I increase the smoky flavor?

Yes, you can enhance the smoky flavor by creating a rub for the turkey before cooking. Ingredients such as smoked paprika, smoked salt, or even smoked sugar can be used to enhance the overall flavor and aroma.

Can I use this method for other meats besides turkey?

Absolutely! While this article focuses on oven-smoked turkey, you can apply Michael Symon’s flavor trick to other meats. Experiment with different cuts of poultry, pork, or beef to explore a variety of delicious quick-smoked dishes.

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