One of the benefits of smoking a turkey is that it's almost impossible to overcook anything in a smoker. The temperature remains low and the cooking is slow, resulting in perfectly moist and tender meat with a rich, complex flavor. Still need a recipe? Head on over to our collection of smoked turkey recipes to get started.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Turkey in a Smoker
- Honey Smoked Turkey
- Smoked Turkey
- All-Purpose Rub for Meat
- Johnny's Spice Rub
- Hugh's Dry Rub
Smoked Turkey Tools
Besides a smoker, there are a few other things you'll need to smoke your turkey:
- A large pan
- An accurate meat thermometer
- Wood chips--any kind of fruit wood, such as apple or cherry, complements turkey very well, but hickory, pecan, and maple will be equally good
If you're smoking a whole bird, we recommended that you choose one weighing no more than about 15 pounds--large turkeys take too long to heat all the way through.
If you choose a frozen turkey, it should be thoroughly thawed before you begin.
Be sure to remove all the giblets and gizzards from the turkey, as well as the plastic pop-up thermometer.
To add even more flavor to your turkey:
- Try brining: while not an essential part of smoking a turkey, soaking in brine before cooking gives the meat maximum flavor and juiciness.
- Rub bird with oil or butter for crispy and evenly browned skin.
- Apply a dry rub just before smoking. (If you have brined the turkey, you should not use any salt in the dry rub).
Unfortunately, you can't stuff a smoked turkey. Make your stuffing separately in the oven.
Smoking Your Turkey
Once you have prepped your turkey, you are ready to begin smoking:
- Place turkey in the pan, breast-side up.
- Insert the meat thermometer deep into the thigh, being careful not to touch the bone or joints.
- Run your smoker at 240 degrees F (115 degrees C).
- Allow 30 minutes of cooking time per pound of meat.
- Baste the turkey with its own juices a few times during smoking, but avoid opening the smoker too often; you will lose heat and increase the cooking time.
When the thermometer reads 165 degrees F (75 degrees C) , pull the bird out of the smoker and let it rest at least 15 minutes. Carve and serve.