Fuel Your Fire

man grilling turkey over flame grill


Turkey Smoke Team & Ray Lampe, Dr. BBQ

Charcoal, wood, gas? Fire is key to smoking or grilling a good turkey, but how do you fuel your fire? With so many different products out there, it can be a challenge to figure out where to start. Don’t let the charcoal aisle burn you out – we’ve got you covered.

Fanning the Flames

This seemed like a question for a pro. So, we went straight to one of the best in barbecue. Here’s what Ray Lampe, Dr. BBQ, had to say when we asked him for his recommendations.

Turkey Smoke: Dr. BBQ, help! Tell it to us straight. What’s your go-to fuel source?

Dr. BBQ: I always prefer charcoal as my main fuel when smoking or grilling turkey. Using all wood creates a strong smoke flavor in most backyard cookers, and gas just doesn’t add any flavor at all.

Ok, great. Charcoal. But there are so many options…

Dr. BBQ: When choosing charcoal, I prefer natural lump charcoal. It’s just charred wood with nothing added. Charcoal briquettes are ok – there are many that are good quality and don’t add any off flavor. My advice here is to buy top quality.

What about that extra smoky flavor? Yes, no? Do we need it?

Dr. BBQ: I love the flavor of just a charcoal fire, but sometimes adding some additional smoke flavor is good. Less is more is usually my preference though. Most folks don’t like their food too smoky.

Noted. So, if you want to get a little bit of that smoky flavor, what are you thinking?

Dr. BBQ: The choice of wood is important, too. Apple and cherry wood are the two widely available, milder woods. These are my preference when cooking turkey. Pecan is a middle of the road flavor, so it works as well. The two most popular strong flavored woods are hickory and oak. Both are tasty on turkey, but should be used sparingly.

Light the Fire

There you have it. Fuel recommendations for your next turkey cook from a pro. Now, gather up those supplies and get ready to light the fire. We’re getting hungry!

dr bbq two mentees at smoker