One December a big box from Tyler, Texas arrived at my door a few days before Christmas, courtesy of a customer. Perfect timing - the bird was front and center at the Christmas Eve buffet. Greenberg turkeys arrive ready to eat; all you need is a relative with good knife skills. When I read John Edge's New York Times article last Wednesday (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/dining/10united.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=%20holiday%20turkey%20steps%20out%20for%20a%20smoke&st=cse) I realized, with a shock, that the runaway train season is here - time to plan.
Greenberg has been smoking turkeys for more than 80 years and filling out-of-town orders since the late 1930's. Word of mouth spread the story and the hickory-smoked turkey business grew. A Greenberg turkey is a serious turkey, dark-skinned and redolent of smoke and pepper. This is a party turkey not a Thanksgiving turkey - Greenberg does give directions for heating one up but forget that, just serve it at room temperature (or cold if you must) with the same chutneys, relishes and mustards that accompany smoked ham. Set the skin aside, way too smoky to eat.
I've bought other smoked turkeys but Greenberg is best.
Not the same, in terms of results, but fun, is smoking a turkey yourself. Purists use wood or charcoal smokers; my smoker is an ancient electric Brinkman (www.brinkmann.net/products/outdoor_cooking/charcoal_smokers_and_grills.aspx) which is easy to use. With the addition of good smoking wood it produces a credible turkey (and a certain smugness). Electric smokers are easy easy and not dangerous - you won't show up on the evening news like the guy who fries a turkey and burns down the garage in the same afternoon.