If you are 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 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 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.
Smoked Turkey Recipe
Here’s our standout turkey recipe for the season. While turkey is traditionally a summer favorite, autumn is the prime time to incorporate this dish into your Thanksgiving lineup. Dive deeper into the article to ensure the best results and elevate your holiday meal!
- 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)
- Ensure your turkey is fully defrosted.
- Remove the turkey from its packaging.
- Take out the neck and giblets from the turkey’s interior.
- If your turkey is brined, rinse its exterior gently with cold water.
- Pat the turkey dry using paper towels.
- Use butcher’s twine to tie the turkey legs together. Tuck the wing tips behind the shoulder joints.
Setting Up Your Grill/Smoker:
- Gas Grill: Preheat to 225°F. Activate half of the burners to a medium-low flame, leaving the other half off.
- Charcoal Grill: Light the coals and wait until they’re ashed over. Place them on one side of the grill. Adjust the vents to be 25% open.
- Dedicated Smoker: Simply preheat to 225°F.
- Once preheated, add wood pieces to produce a thin, blue-tinted smoke from the vents.
Seasoning the Turkey:
- Brush the turkey with melted butter or olive oil.
- Generously apply your preferred sweet rub to all sides of the turkey.
- Estimate 30 minutes per pound of turkey at 225°F. For a 250°F setting, it’s 25 minutes per pound. Example: A 15-pound turkey will take about 7.5 hours at 225°F.
- Always add an extra 30 minutes to your estimated cooking time as a buffer.
- Periodically check the turkey’s temperature using an instant-read thermometer.
- Measure both the breast and thighs and on both sides if using a charcoal or gas grill.
- Ensure all readings are above 165°F before removing the turkey from the grill/smoker.
Resting and Serving:
- Allow the turkey to rest for 15 minutes after removing it from the grill.
- If your turkey finishes cooking earlier than expected, wrap it in aluminum foil. Add several layers of paper towels around the foil for insulation, ensuring it remains warm until serving.
- Slice the turkey as desired, choosing between dark or light meat.
- Serve and enjoy your delicious smoked turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!
Spread the holiday cheer! If you loved this Smoked Turkey Recipe, pin the image below to your Pinterest board. Thanks for sharing the festive vibes! 🦃🎄🌟
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 frees 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 you time by enabling you to make more dishes at the same time. It has a fantastic 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 gets cooked in the same or a little more time.
Given below are all the details 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 making 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 use gas, 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 to 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, 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 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 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 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 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 a 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 to serve 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’s environment. I usually place an aluminum pan on the grill beneath my turkey.
Add several cups of water to 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 a 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. Ensure the correct internal temperature is achieved to retain its juiciness and 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. 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 on 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!