Pitmaster Secrets

Pitmaster Secrets


Team Turkey

We all strive for the best in our BBQ. One of the things that people most often speak of when they discuss their love for this cuisine is the never-ending pursuit of perfection. In many hobbies and activities, this quest would be daunting. Not for the BBQ enthusiast! Instead, we think of it as a way to constantly improve our craft. At Turkey Smoke HQ we share that same passion for barbecue and want to help with your process. That’s why we’re asking some of the biggest names in the business to share their favorite pitmaster secrets.

Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe

Dr. BBQ with whole turkey

Ray Lampe, known as Dr. BBQ, is an outdoor cooking expert and NTF’s 2022 Turkey Smoke “Spokeschef.” In 2014, Lampe was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. You might know him from his “Dr. BBQ’s” restaurant in Saint Petersburg, Florida. It’s also possible that you’ve seen him on the Food Network or other television programs. He most recently was named a Brand Ambassador for Louisiana Grills. Here’s what Ray had to say about injecting his turkey:

“There are some tasty Cajun injections available at retail, or you can make a simple butter-infused one with your favorite barbecue rub. Just be sure to strain the liquid before you put it into the injector because any big pieces of seasoning will clog the needle. Inject a little bit of the flavored liquid every couple of inches in a grid pattern deep into the whole turkey. Let it sit for 10 minutes and get cooking.”

Check out Ray’s Instagram for more tips and tricks! Here’s the Atomic Buffalo Turkey Dip recipe he put together for us.

Lee Ann Whippen

Lee Ann Whippen is a world champion pitmaster, Food Network champion, celebrity chef and restaurateur. You may have seen her win the premier season of BBQ Brawl: Flay V. Symon on Food Network. She also took the title on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Whippen is a judge with the Kansas City Barbeque Society and currently serves as a Brand Ambassador for Pit Boss Grills. Lee Ann is a huge proponent of brining turkey to lock flavor into the meat:

“My favorite tip is to brine turkey first! Also after brining, let the turkey dry out in the fridge for a crispier skin!”

Click here to see what Lee Ann is up to on Instagram and don’t miss her go-to turkey brine.

Brad Leighninger

Brad Leighninger is the founder and chef/pitmaster of the World Championship-winning Gettin’ Basted Competition BBQ Team and restaurants. On the competition barbecue scene, Brad has been on a tear, winning the season championship in 3 of the past 4 years. He opened three Gettin’ Basted restaurants in 2017 followed shortly by his American smoke and fire pub concept, Downing Street Pour House. Alongside his friend and fellow competition pitmaster Tim Scheer, Brad co-founded The BBQ League in 2018. This collaboration has grown into the most exciting and exclusive online hub for barbecue entertainment and educational content serving thousands of members. Brad shared an innovative tip to maximize the turkey flavor in your gravy or BBQ sauce when smoking a turkey:

“I usually spatchcock my turkey when I smoke it. One disadvantage of smoking a turkey vs. roasting in the oven is you lose all the delicious pan drippings needed to make a good turkey sauce or gravy. To remedy this, roast the backbone, wing tips, neck and giblets with some vegetables and make a reduced stock to amp up the turkey flavor in your favorite bbq sauce or gravy.”

Check out what Brad has going on at his restaurants here! Also, take a look at this show-stopper of a sandwich he made for us that we still can’t stop thinking about.

Stay tuned as we share more pitmaster secrets in the quest for smoked turkey perfection!