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How to Smoke a Turkey & Recipe

How to Smoke a Turkey & Recipe

Last Updated on 3rd August 2022 by

One of my favorite ways to have turkey is to cook it in a smoker. I love the way this affects the flavor and the texture and particularly how the smoky scent works its way through the meat.

If you’ve never tried to smoke a turkey, you should definitely give it a try. I think you’ll want to use this cooking method frequently once you give it a go yourself.

After learning how to smoke a Turkey, I really don’t think I want to go back to roasting it anymore. I’m absolutely in love with how juicy the Turkey meat comes out. I don’t have to worry about even the white breast meat coming out dry and flavorless when I use the smoker.

The recipe I use makes it come out perfectly every single time, so there’s not a lot of risk that I will mess things up. That’s also why I like to recommend this method to people who aren’t very experienced with baking turkeys.

I use a pretty simple method, but there is a series of steps you have to go through to make your smoked turkey come out well. You don’t want to skip anything, and you want to ensure that the meat is properly infused with flavor.

Just follow the directions I give you, and you will do find. You can feel free to change up some of the ingredients and flavors as you like, especially after you get comfortable with this recipe to try something different.

How Long to Smoke a Turkey

Before we get into talking about how long to smoke a whole Turkey, let’s talk about finding the turkey. You’ll probably buy your turkey frozen, and it needs to thaw out. The larger the turkey is, the more thawing time it will need.

Most large turkeys take several days to thaw in the fridge, so give yours enough time.

How long to smoke a 20-pound turkey? The smoker is not a quick cooking method, and it will take around 7 to 8 hours to smoke a bird this big.

The temperature you use will affect how long the turkey takes to cook as well. If you’re using a normal sized turkey, which is about 12 to 15 pounds, your cooking time will be shorter than it was with a larger.

How long to smoke a turkey at 225 degrees Fahrenheit? That’s the typical temperature you’ll be using and what I would recommend, and it will take about 30 minutes per pound to cook at this temperature.

What happens if you increase the temperature? How long does smoke a turkey at 275 degrees Fahrenheit? With your typical 15-pound or so Turkey, that’s going to take about three to four hours.

What Temperature to Smoke a Turkey at?

I’m going to recommend 225 degrees Fahrenheit, as that ensures the turkey doesn’t dry out. It also helps to keep the bird from burning, and if you accidentally forget to check on the bird and leave it in a bit too long, it may still be okay at this lower temperature.

If you raise the temperature, be sure to decrease the cooking time. You don’t want your turkey to dry out or burn on the outside. How long does it take to smoke a turkey? That’s going depend on the size of the turkey, the temperature you’re cooking at, and how long it takes to cook turkey to cook all the way through.

You can check your turkey to see if it’s done cooking by using an instant read thermometer at the thickest part. Insert it into the breast or thigh meat in the center, and make sure you get a reading of 165 degrees or higher.

Smoked Turkey Recipe


  • 12-15 pound turkey (with the neck and giblets removed)
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
  • lemon, sliced
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 apple color quartered
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Rosemary


1. Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel and preheat your smoker 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a bowl, next together garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, onion powder, black pepper, and salt. Rub your mixture all over the turkey.
3. Place apple, lemon, onion, and rosemary inside the cavity.
4. Put the turkey into the smoker and allow it to smoke for 30 minutes for each pound of meat. When it’s done cooking, check with an instant read thermometer to ensure it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Allow the turkey to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting or serving.

How Long to Smoke a Turkey Breast?

If you’re just cooking a portion of the turkey and not the whole thing, you will cut down your cooking time considerably. How long does it take to cook if you are just smoking a turkey breast?

The breast alone may weigh about 6 pounds or so, and that’s going to take about 2 to 3 1/2 hours to cook in a smoker. Let me break this down for you. You should be cooking it at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit, and that will take around 35 to 45 minutes for each pound of turkey meat.

This is how to smoke a turkey breast and ensure that it cooks all the way through. You can check using instantly thermometer to ensure that you get 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill

The pellet grill cooks your turkey at a lower temperature, which ensures great flavor saturation and prevents drying out.

Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and ensure you have an adequate number of wood pellets on it. Dry off the turkey and put it into a roasting pan. Then, butter the turkey skin and season with your spices. Make sure you get underneath the turkey as well.

Put the turkey directly onto the grill rack in cook the turkey for 30 minutes per pound at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the turkey every now and then with an instant read thermometer until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Be sure to let the turkey rest for about 15 minutes before cutting or serving it.

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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!