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Should You Massage a Turkey Destined for the Smoker?

I have bought a smoker and want to do a turkey; can you use rubs on a turkey you are smoking?

Can? Yes. Should? Don't bother.

As discussed in Smoke the Turkey & Spare the Skin, the skin is a casualty of smoking a turkey unless you want to jump through some serious hoops to save it. And rubs, unlike long-soaking marinades or, better yet, injected flavorings, seldom add flavor below the level of the skin. So the efforts you would take to impart delicious flavor to the skin would be rubbed out in the smoking process, so to speak.

The point of smoking food these days is to impart a smoky flavor (in earlier days it was largely an act of preservation). Presumably that's why you bought the smoker. So a better way to give flavor to the meat is in the choice of wood you use to produce smoke. Check out the Best Woods for Grilling for ideas of woods that will complement your turkey.

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