If you planning to serve a different styled Turkey for this Thanksgiving, then, believe me, Smoked Turkey is the best option for you. It goes well with other special occasions and would definitely earn you a lot of appreciation. If you never got a chance at the tender delicacy of a perfect Smoked Turkey, it’s time to try it now. It takes the simple turkey to another level of taste.
It’s different from standard Roasted Turkey but it’s really worth trying. Smoked Turkey has a unique taste you will immediately fall in love with. This different-styled Turkey will definitely serve as a show-stopper for your Thanksgiving meal. This recipe is very simple; even a newbie can make it with the perfect taste and look.
Although Turkey is mostly enjoyed in summer, fall is the perfect season to replace your regular roasted Turkey with this amazing recipe in the Thanksgiving meal plan.
Smoked Turkey for Thanksgiving
Smoked Tukey is amazingly delicious and has this tempting smell that you’ll quickly fall in love with. It’s a lot more beneficial than typical roasted Turkey. The biggest advantage of smoking Turkey instead of roasting is that it would free up your oven, and you will be able to use the oven for making other dishes in your meal plan.
So it will definitely save your time by enabling you to make more dishes at the same time. It has an amazing taste and mouthwatering aroma that will bring a splendid change in your Thanksgiving. Smoking the turkey maintains its taste and also adds a smoky flavor to your turkey.
Smoking the turkey retains the tenderness and moisture in it. It’s easier to cook just like Roasted Turkey and also gets cooked in the same or a little more time.
Given below is all the detailed and necessary smoke your bird perfectly. Just carefully follow the simple steps and get ready to earn holiday fame and a lot of appreciation from everyone.
Temperature for Smoking Turkey
The key to a make a perfect smoked turkey is indirect heat and steady temperatures. Maintain the temperature of your grill to 225°F during the whole cooking time. If you are using gas, then turn on half of the burners to medium-low flame and keep the remaining burners off. For a charcoal grill, preheat the coals until they’re ashed over, tip them on the far side of the grill, and open the vents up to 25%. For a dedicated smoker, preheat the grill at 225°F.
If you are using a gas grill, add chips to the smoker box and generate the smoke. For charcoal, place the wood pieces directly in the burning coals. If you are using a smoker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to smoke your turkey perfectly. Whatever method you use, just ensure you get the thin, swirling, and tinted blue smoke from your grill vents.
Preparations for smoking Turkey
First of all, take the defrosted turkey out of the packaging. Now remove its neck and giblets from the inner side of the bird. If you’ve bought a brined turkey, rinse its exterior carefully with cold water.
Next pat dry the turkey with a paper towel. Now use the butcher’s twine to tie both legs together and tuck the tips of the wings behind the shoulder joint. Doing so will keep the tips from burning and will create an eye-catching presentation of your Tukey.
Coat the exterior side of the Turkey with melted butter or olive oil, and then season the best sweet rub on the bird’s sides. If you’ve brined your turkey, it will be already be marinated enough and won’t require any additional seasoning on its exterior. It’s better to still coat it lightly with melted butter or olive oil to get the crispier skin.
Stuffing the interior of a turkey before smoking is not recommended. Because by the time the stuffing gets cooked properly, the exterior meat of the bird gets overcooked. You can use onions, herbs, apples, or citrus to stuff your turkey and to get their additional flavor.
Don’t overfill the turkey so that the air circulates throughout the bird. Don’t forget to discard the stuffing after you are done smoking.
Smoking time for a Turkey
Once your smoker gets ready, it’s time to place your bird on the grill! Keep the breast side up on the grill grate breast side up on the side of the grill with indirect heat. If you are using gas or charcoal (which usually has a slightly higher temperature on one side of the grill), rotate the turkey several times during the cooking process to cook evenly.
It will take approx. 30 minutes per each pound of the turkey at 225°F. If you’ve set your smoker’s temperature at 250°F, it will take 25 minutes for each pound. For example, a 15-pound turkey will be properly cooked in 7 1/2 hours at 225°F. I always estimate additional half an hour more, just in case… if it gets cooked in time lesser than the estimated time, then wrap the cooked Turkey in aluminum foil and place it aside until the remaining items are ready.
I recommend not smoking a Turkey heavier than 15 pounds, but it will take too long to cook. Your turkey will be sitting in the danger zone of food safety at 40-140°F for way too long and there will be the risk of bacteria contaminating and spoiling your turkey even before it’s done.
Serving Per person
As we have smoked turkeys lesser than 15-pounds so it will serve 11/2 pounds of meat per person. Keep it in mind, you’ll be cooking the whole turkey along with skin, bones, wingtips, etc. that won’t be consumed at the Thanksgiving dinner.
11/2 pounds will be sufficient for everybody you’ll also get leftovers to make sandwiches the next day. A 15-pound turkey will be enough for serving a family of 10-12. If you have more family members, don’t cook bigger birds rather go for cooking multiple turkeys!
Smoked Turkey Drippings
Use a dripping pan to catch the drippings and to maintain the moisture in your smoker environment. I usually place an aluminum pan in the grill beneath my turkey.
Add several cups of water in the pan at the start of the smoking. This water is likely to evaporate within the process so don’t forget to refill the pan if the water dries up, and make sure it has few cups of water throughout the smoking. Once your turkey is cooked, use these drippings collected in the pan as the tastier gravy for your Turkey.
More detailed Temperature for Smoked Turkey
The safest temperature for cooking a perfect smoked Turkey is 165°F. Make sure to achieve the correct internal temperature to retain its juiciness and to ensure food safety.
Start checking if the turkey is done an hour before the estimated time because every bird has a different cooking time. Check properly between the cooking to ensure the meat does not get overcooked. Check the temperature of the breast and thighs of the turkey using an instant-read thermometer. Make sure to check both sides of the turkey, ESPECIALLY if you are using a charcoal or gas grill, which usually has higher temperatures than the other grills.
Go off of the lowest reading you’ll get on each side of the turkey. Once all the temperature readings exceed 165°F, it’s time to dish out the turkey in a large platter or on a cutting board.
Turkey should rest for about 15 min before serving. And if Turkey gets cooked before that, wrap it in aluminum foil and add more layers of paper towels around the foil to insulate the towels to keep it hot until serving. Doing so will make the skin a little softer. To make it crispier gain, just broil the turkey for 1 – 2 minutes. Now it’s up to you if you are a dark or light meat person!
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- A 15 pound defrosted turkey
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons Signature Sweet Rub
- 4 cups of water (at the start of smoking and add more when required)
- Preheat the grill of your choice at 225°F for indirect smoking. If you are using gas, then turn on the one-half of the burners at a medium-low flame and leave the remaining burners off. For charcoal, preheat the coals until they’re ashed over, tip them on the far side of the grill, and open the vents up to 25%. For a dedicated smoker, preheat the grill at 225°F. Add wood pieces to get the thin, swirling, and tinted blue smoke coming out of your grill vents.
- Now, take the defrosted turkey out of the packaging. Now remove its neck and giblets from the inner side of the bird. If you’ve bought a brined turkey, rinse its exterior carefully with cold water. Pat dry the turkey with a paper towel. Now use the butcher’s twine to tie both legs together and tuck the tips of the wings behind the shoulder joint.
- Now coat the exterior side of Turkey with melted butter or olive oil and then season the best sweet rub on all the sides of the bird.
- It will take approx. 30 minutes per each pound of the turkey at 225°F. If you’ve set your smoker’s temperature at 250°F, it will take 25 minutes for each pound. For example, a 15-pound turkey will be properly cooked in 7 1/2 hours at 225°F. I always estimate an additional half an hour more, just in case…
- Check the temperature of the breast and thighs of the turkey using an instant-read thermometer. Make sure to check both sides of the turkey, ESPECIALLY if you are using a charcoal or gas grill which usually has higher temperatures than the other grills. Go off of the lowest reading you’ll get on each side of the turkey. Once all the temperature readings exceed 165°F, it’s time to dish out the turkey in a large platter or on a cutting board.
- Rest the turkey for 15 minutes for serving. If your Turkey gets cooked before the estimated time, just wrap it in the aluminum foil and add a few more layers of paper towel around the foil to properly insulate the towels to insulate it to keep it hot until serving.
- Now you just have to decide if you like dark or light meat. Cut Turkey into pieces, and enjoy the mouthwatering deliciousness in every bite of the meat. Happy Thanksgiving!