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The Best Smoked Turkey

Just in time for Thanksgiving, this is The Best Smoked Turkey you will ever taste, it is flavorful, juicy, and soft, with a hint of smoke. To make each mouthful explode with flavor, begin with a straightforward brine and a selection of fresh herbs.

The Best Garlic Herb Smoked Turkey Recipe

It’s the second year in a row that we’ve smoked a turkey for Thanksgiving, and I don’t believe we’ll ever go back to roasting one. I’ve had some of the best and most juicy turkeys ever after it was smoked. The days of dry, tasteless turkey are over! When I follow this recipe, it always turns out perfectly. Every one of my turkeys has turned out juicy and tasty.

I begin by bringing the turkey in a simple citrus-herb brine to infuse the meat with flavor from the inside out. After that, I use a substantial amount of my own combination of garlic, pepper, and fragrant Italian herbs to coat my turkey. For added taste and tenderness, I prefer to fill my turkey with lemons, onions, and other herbs. Then, the smoker it is! Because of how simple it is to make, you’ll adore this.

It’s a lot less complicated than it appears to prepare this smoked turkey. This recipe does all the work, whether you’re a seasoned smoker or just starting out. It’s quite easy to do! I’ve also included a handy chart with smoking and grilling timings and temperatures. When you smoke your meat for the first time, you’ll never go back to any other method. Your meat of choice will always come out tender, juicy, and smokey excellent. Here is my collection of smoked recipes; stay tuned for more!

The Best Smoked Turkey
The Best Smoked Turkey

How Should A Turkey Be Prepared For Smoking?

Although rinsing a turkey before cooking is normal practice, the USDA advises against it because it might transmit bacteria. You should always rinse a turkey before bringing it, but otherwise, you can skip the step.

Prepare a big roasting pan for the bird (we often use disposable for easy cleanup). Take out the head and spinal column. The drippings from the roasting pan can be discarded or saved for gravy. The turkey should be patted dry using paper towels. So that the seasoning stays on the chicken, you do this.

Ingredients That You’ll Need:

The best part about this smoked turkey dish is that it just requires items you probably already have in your pantry! Thanksgiving is already stressful enough without having to go to the grocery shop! For a complete list of ingredients and measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Turkey Brine: Brine is just seawater mixed with herbs and citrus for added taste! It also aids with tenderization. While this step is optional, it is strongly recommended for a more delicious turkey! My whole recipe may be found here.
  • Whole Turkey: Ensure that the giblets and neck have been removed.
  • Paprika: For a moderate flavor, I like to add paprika to my turkey rub! In contrast to the smokey flavor, it tastes fantastic.
  • Garlic Powder: With garlic, you can’t go wrong! Added to provide the ideal savory taste.
  • Italian Seasoning: This is my own herbal concoction of rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and basil. It improves any meal to which it is introduced!
  • Onion Powder: I like how onion powder provides a strong taste to turkey.
  • Salt and Pepper: Used to improve the overall flavor of smoked turkey.
  • Apple: I stuff the bird with quartered apples for moisture and a delicate sweet taste.
  • Onion: I fill the turkey with quartered onions, just like the apples, to flavor it from the inside out!
  • Lemon: Sliced lemons are stuffed within the turkey for a tangy taste.
  • Fresh Rosemary: For taste, I prefer to stuff full sprigs of rosemary within the bird. They’re also lovely as a garnish!

The Best Smoked Turkey Recipe Supplies:

  • Turkey – The turkey has to be completely thawed and no more than 15 pounds in weight.
  • Energy Source – Because the turkey will be on the grill for several hours, make sure you have plenty of your preferred energy sources on hand: charcoal, pellets, propane, gas, and so on.
  • Smoking Wood – Chunks, chips, or pellets.
  • Disposable Drip Pan – A large bird means more drippings. It is very advised to use a drip pan to capture the fluids. You may also use it to make gravy.
  • Thermometer – Take the temperature regularly. Always. Thermaworks Dot is our preferred digital thermometer. Every time, it happens the same way.
  • Water Bottle – Sprinkle it on the turkey before putting it in the oven. To spray down surfaces, we utilize low-priced spray bottles purchased from Amazon.
  • Smoker Box – If you’re using a gas grill, you won’t get that authentic smoked flavor without one.
The Best Smoked Turkey
The Best Smoked Turkey

Which Turkey Did I Use For The Best Smoked Turkey Recipe?

Any turkey will do; the secret is smoking it. The decision to pay more for a fresh (organic) turkey ultimately rests with you. While I agree that fresh produce is always preferable, as a food blogger who cooks very frequently, I find that frozen turkeys are more convenient and save me time.

Mine was purchased on a Monday, and I smoked it over the weekend after letting it thaw in the fridge. The amount of time spent smoking the turkey and the number of people it will feed are also factors to consider when deciding on the appropriate bird size. Generally speaking, you should plan on 1 pound of turkey per person, and if you want leftovers, 1 1/2 pounds per person.

In my experience, smaller turkeys are less of a hassle to prepare and cook (smoke). To smoke, I used a turkey that weighed around 13 pounds. You may use any turkey that weighs between 12 and 15 pounds. The general rule of thumb is that for every pound of turkey, you’ll need around 30 minutes of smoking time at 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Make The Best Smoked Turkey

  1. Take the turkey out of the brine and blot dry with a paper towel.
  2. Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Combine the paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Apply liberally to the whole turkey.
  3. Stuff the turkey cavity with the apple, onion, lemon, and rosemary.
  4. Smoke the turkey for 30 minutes per pound in the smoker. Insert the meat thermometer into the thigh without contacting the bone, or approximately an inch into the thickest section of the breast. Smoke until the temperature reaches 165°F.
  5. Once the turkey has achieved the desired temperature, take it from the smoker and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

What To Serve With The Best Smoked Turkey?

Which Smoker Is Best For Smoking Turkey?

  • Electric Smoker – Ideal for first-time smokers. It’s simple to keep the temperature stable over lengthy periods of time, and it’s simple to add more wood as needed.
  • Pellet Smoker (Smoking A Turkey Traeger Style) – Any brand will do the trick. Pellet smokers are fantastic for evenly dispersing the smoke and controlling the temperature, which is very useful for the Thanksgiving turkey.
  • Gas Grill – The temperature on a gas barbecue stays constant, which is a big plus. That being said, what’s the downside? You should have enough propane for at least seven to eight hours of use.
  • Charcoal Grill – More “hands-on” work is required when using a charcoal barbecue. Watch the temperature closely and replenish the charcoal or wood as necessary. Because we take pride in being in charge of the grill, we always choose this approach. Although not the simplest, it is a lot enjoyable. Just be sure to bring enough charcoal and wood to keep the fire going for at least seven hours.
The Best Smoked Turkey
The Best Smoked Turkey

Storing Leftover Smoked Turkey

  • In The Refrigerator: Wrap the smoked turkey leftovers in plastic wrap after removing any stuffing or condiments. Refrigerate for up to one week.
  • In The Freezer: Leftover smoked turkey may be stored in a freezer-safe bag for up to 4 months. Thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving/reheating.
  • Reheating: I prefer to keep the leftover turkey warm in the oven at 325°F. Before serving, ensure that the interior temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Recipe Tips

Add these basic techniques to your turkey-making procedure, and you’ll have a Thanksgiving masterpiece! Smoked turkey, in my opinion, is a game-changer. It’s one of the most effective methods to keep your turkey moist and flavorful! You may now have a turkey that both looks and tastes spectacular!

  • Thaw ahead of time: Thaw your turkey before smoking it to ensure full cooking! I prefer to defrost a 12-15 pound turkey 4 days ahead of time.
  • Don’t Forget to Brine: If you want the greatest turkey possible, don’t forget to brine it! Brining your turkey aids in the breakdown of proteins. This adds moisture and tenderness to your turkey! I also like to add herbs and citrus to help infuse flavor. My recipe may be found here! It does take 1-3 days to get the greatest benefits, so keep that in mind so you don’t have to rush before Thanksgiving!
  • Keep Your Grill Closed: While it may be tempting to open your grill to see how things are doing, I recommend keeping it closed for as long as possible to maintain the proper smoking temperature!
  • Examine the Internal Temperature: This Thanksgiving, the last thing you want to do is make your visitors ill. It is critical that the interior temperature of your smoked turkey be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

FAQ Section

What Is The Best Smoked Turkey Seasoning?

Even while it’s common practice to use a spice rub on the turkey’s exterior, we kept things straightforward by using only minced garlic and seasoned salt. The turkey gets most of its flavor from the stuffing you bake within the cavity; the garlic and seasoned salt are mainly for garnish.

The Best Smoked Turkey
The Best Smoked Turkey

What Flavor Wood Chips Should I Use For Smoking Turkey?

Wood chips with a somewhat sweet flavor, such as apple, apricot, cherry, peach, or maple, are popular. Hickory is stronger, but it’s always a classic and adds even more smokiness! Mesquite pairs well with turkey.

Is It Really Essential To Bast The Turkey?

Yes, basting is recommended if you want the best and juiciest smoked turkey. The skin and foil assist to keep the turkey juicy on their own, but since you’ll be checking on it in the smoker anyway, go ahead and baste it. You will not be sorry.

How To Tell If My Smoked Turkey Is Done?

When a thermometer put into the thickest portion of the thigh reads 165 degrees F, the smoked turkey is done. I use a digital thermometer that I leave in the turkey as it smokes so that I can watch the progress from the home using a temperature remotely.

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Turkey?

When smoking a turkey at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit, allow 30 minutes per pound. Our 13-pound turkey took around 7 hours in the smoker to reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is It Necessary To Baste A Turkey?

Nobody wants a dry smoked turkey, therefore I prefer to baste it! To guarantee a moist final result, I baste the turkey with a little chicken stock while it cooks. You may skip the basting step if you brined your turkey ahead of time.

How Much Turkey Should Be Served Per Person?

Plan on one pound of turkey per person to estimate the size of the bird you’ll need. Plan on 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person if you want a lot of leftover turkeys.

What To Do With Leftover Smoked Turkey?

Leftover turkey is a common occurrence after preparing a turkey dinner. Smoked or roasted, turkey leftovers are perfect for making a variety of different meals.

After your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, try The Endless Meal’s Homemade Turkey Soup.

What Do You Stuff A Turkey With?

We never put anything in the big beast. We don’t detect the VERY little flavor that may leave behind after smoking. If necessary, add aromatics such as rosemary and thyme, or even garlic and onions. Just don’t fill it too full since air has to flow. If brining is your thing, go ahead and do it (we use this turkey brine recipe). If you try to prepare the stuffing in the cavity, it will not be done when the bird is ready to be plucked.

Try More Recipes:

The Best Smoked Turkey Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving ( 5 Oz )

  • Calories 137.5
  • Total Fat 6.3g
  • Saturated Fat 1.9g
  • Cholesterol 62.5mg
  • Sodium 812.5mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 1.3g
  • Dietary Fiber 0g
  • Sugars 1.3g
  • Protein 18.8g

Nutrition Facts Source: Source

The Best Smoked Turkey

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 10 minutesCook time:4 hours Rest time: minutesTotal time:4 hours 10 minutesServings:8 servingsCalories:137.5 kcal Best Season:Available

Description

Just in time for Thanksgiving, this is The Best Smoked Turkey you will ever taste, it is flavorful, juicy, and soft, with a hint of smoke. To make each mouthful explode with flavor, begin with a straightforward brine and a selection of fresh herbs.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Take the turkey out of the brine and blot dry with a paper towel.
  2. Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Combine the paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Apply liberally to the whole turkey.
  3. Stuff the turkey cavity with the apple, onion, lemon, and rosemary.
  4. Smoke the turkey for 30 minutes per pound in the smoker. Insert the meat thermometer into the thigh without contacting the bone, or approximately an inch into the thickest section of the breast. Smoke until the temperature reaches 165°F.
  5. Once the turkey has achieved the desired temperature, take it from the smoker and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Notes

  • Thaw ahead of time: Thaw your turkey before smoking it to ensure full cooking! I prefer to defrost a 12-15 pound turkey 4 days ahead of time.
  • Don’t Forget to Brine: If you want the greatest turkey possible, don’t forget to brine it! Brining your turkey aids in the breakdown of proteins. This adds moisture and tenderness to your turkey! I also like to add herbs and citrus to help infuse flavor. My recipe may be found here! It does take 1-3 days to get the greatest benefits, so keep that in mind so you don’t have to rush before Thanksgiving!
  • Keep Your Grill Closed: While it may be tempting to open your grill to see how things are doing, I recommend keeping it closed for as long as possible to maintain the proper smoking temperature!
  • Examine the Internal Temperature: This Thanksgiving, the last thing you want to do is make your visitors ill. It is critical that the interior temperature of your smoked turkey be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keywords:The Best Smoked Turkey
Nutrition Facts

Servings 8


Amount Per Serving
Calories 137.5
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6.3g10%
Saturated Fat 1.9g10%
Cholesterol 62.5mg21%
Sodium 812.5mg34%
Total Carbohydrate 1.3g1%
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 1.3g
Protein 18.8g38%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dee Walker

Sunday 6th of November 2022

Hi, I really look forward to using this recipe for Thanksgiving, but I did not see a link for the brine recipe! Can you please provide it or the recipe itself? Thanks