This Easy Smoked Turkey recipe is the best way to cook a turkey on an electric pellet grill! The Traeger smoked turkey comes out so moist and juicy, and the smoke flavor is amazing. Best of all, it’s super easy to make. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have the best-smoked turkey ever!
If you love the flavor of smoked foods be sure to try this delicious Oven Cooked Barbecue Brisket too!
Table of Contents
Table of contents
- WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- EQUIPMENT NEEDED
- HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY SMOKED TURKEY RECIPE
- STEP 1: THAW THE TURKEY AND REMOVE THE GIBLETS AND NECK
- STEP 2: START THE BRINE BY BOILING WATER
- STEP 3: ADD THE BOILING WATER TO THE BRINE INGREDIENTS
- STEP 4: ADD COLD WATER TO THE BRINE
- STEP 5: ADD THE TURKEY TO THE BRINE AND ALLOW IT TO CHILL FOR UP TO 24 HOURS
- STEP 6: REMOVE THE TURKEY FROM THE BRINE AND RINSE IT
- STEP 7: PREHEAT THE SMOKER
- STEP 8: REMOVE THE MOISTURE FROM THE TURKEY AND ADD POULTRY RUB
- STEP 9: ADD THE TURKEY TO THE SMOKER
- STEP 10: SMOKE THE TURKEY
- STEP 11: ALLOW THE TURKEY TO REST BEFORE CARVING
- ROASTING TURKEY IN THE OVEN
- WHAT TO SERVE WITH TURKEY
- HOW MUCH TURKEY PER PERSON DO I NEED?
- DO YOU HAVE TO BRINE TURKEY?
- TIPS FOR THIS EASY SMOKED TURKEY RECIPE
- HOW TO STORE
- LEFTOVER TURKEY? TRY THESE OTHER DELICIOUS RECIPES
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
If you’ve ever been curious about smoking a turkey on a electric pellet grill, then this is the recipe for you. It’s not only easy, but the results are phenomenal. The turkey comes out incredibly moist and tender, with a beautiful smoke flavor.
- This recipe is so easy to make, and the smoked turkey comes out incredibly moist and juicy.
- The smoke flavor is amazing and will make your turkey taste as if it came from a professional smoker.
- And the best part is that it’s all made in one appliance – your pellet grill or Traeger, which saves you room in the oven for the Thanksgiving sides.
You only need a couple of kitchen tools to help you make this delicious and easy smoked turkey recipe. Gather these tools and get ready to enjoy a moist and flavorful turkey for the holidays.
- large stock pot – make sure that it is big enough to fit your entire turkey in.
- large saucepan
- pellet grill or smoker
- aluminum foil
- aluminum pan – optional to catch the drippings
Making this smoked turkey recipe is super easy, and only requires a few simple ingredients that are all easy to find at your local grocery store. I’m including the ingredients that you need to make a homemade rub and turkey brine to go along with the Traeger smoked turkey.
- Whole turkey 12-15 pounds, thawed
- poultry rub – see the ingredients below for a homemade rub
Smoked Turkey Brine Ingredients (OPTIONAL STEP)
- Kosher Salt
- whole peppercorns
- red onion, peeled and quartered
- bay leaves
- fresh rosemary
- fresh thyme
- fresh sage
- lemon, sliced
- orange, sliced
- water at room temperature
- water, chilled
Basic Poultry Rub Recipe
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- ground black pepper
HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY SMOKED TURKEY RECIPE
This smoked turkey recipe is so easy and it always turns out perfectly juicy and flavorful.
Brining your turkey is optional. I have made this recipe both with brine and without. Both methods turn out fantastic!
If you decide to brine the turkey be sure to give your turkey ample time to soak in the brine solution (up to 24 hours), and then smoke it low and slow for the best results.
STEP 1: THAW THE TURKEY AND REMOVE THE GIBLETS AND NECK
Thaw turkey ahead of time if frozen. Remove any giblets or neck sections and set them aside for stock if desired.
STEP 2: START THE BRINE BY BOILING WATER
Make the brine: Add the brining ingredients into a stock pot large enough to hold the turkey. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a separate pot.
STEP 3: ADD THE BOILING WATER TO THE BRINE INGREDIENTS
Add boiling water to the stock pot and whisk until the salt is dissolved.
STEP 4: ADD COLD WATER TO THE BRINE
Add the 6 cups of chilled water to the finished brining solution.
STEP 5: ADD THE TURKEY TO THE BRINE AND ALLOW IT TO CHILL FOR UP TO 24 HOURS
Add turkey to the stock pot with brining solution and place in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
STEP 6: REMOVE THE TURKEY FROM THE BRINE AND RINSE IT
After brining, remove the turkey from the solution, rinse it under cool water, lay it on a baking rack, and allow it to drain while the smoker comes up to temperature.
STEP 7: PREHEAT THE SMOKER
Preheat smoker to 225°F
STEP 8: REMOVE THE MOISTURE FROM THE TURKEY AND ADD POULTRY RUB
Pat any remaining moisture from the skin of the turkey and generously season the turkey with your favorite poultry rub.
STEP 9: ADD THE TURKEY TO THE SMOKER
Place a dripping pan under the grill grates, then place the turkey directly onto the grill grates and close the lid.
STEP 10: SMOKE THE TURKEY
Smoke the turkey at 225°F, allowing 30 minutes of smoking time per pound of turkey. A 12-pound turkey will take up to 6 hours to smoke.
STEP 11: ALLOW THE TURKEY TO REST BEFORE CARVING
Remove the turkey from the smoker and loosely tent it with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20-30 minutes. Carve and serve.
ROASTING TURKEY IN THE OVEN
To roast in the oven, at STEP 8, place prepared turkey breast side up on a shallow roasting pan with a rack. Tuck in the wings.
Roast at 325°F for 3 – 3 1/2 hours, 30 minutes per pound or until the the internal temperature reaches 165˚F when inserting a thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH TURKEY
Here is a list of sides that I love to serve with turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole
- Cornbread Stuffing
- Pumpkin Pie
- Pecan Pie
- Sweet Potato Pie
HOW MUCH TURKEY PER PERSON DO I NEED?
- A good rule of thumb is to plan on 1/2 pound of turkey per person. This will ensure that you have plenty of leftovers for sandwiches, salads, and other dishes.
- If you have a large group, you may want to consider smoking two turkeys. This recipe is easily doubled.
DO YOU HAVE TO BRINE TURKEY?
No. Brining your turkey is optional when smoking or cooking a turkey in the oven.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COOK A SMOKED TURKEY?
At 225°F, it will take between 6 – 12 hours to smoke a turkey depending on the size of the bird. Allow 30 minutes of smoking time per pound of turkey. According the USDA, the internal temperature should reach 165˚F when inserting a thermometer in the innermost part of the thigh.
TIPS FOR THIS EASY SMOKED TURKEY RECIPE
Here are a few tips for smoking a turkey on a pellet grill. Read these tips to make sure that you have a perfect smoked turkey every time.
- To catch the drippings from the turkey to turn into gravy for your Thanksgiving meal, then place a pan under the grill grates to catch all the goodness.
- When you are ready to carve your smoked turkey, make sure that you use a sharp carving knife and a fork to hold onto the meat while you carve. This will make carving so much easier and will help you to get nice, even slices of turkey.
- If you have a remote thermometer you can use that to check the internal temperature of the turkey without having to open the smoker lid and let all the heat out. I like to place my thermometer in the thickest part of the breast.
- If you don’t have time to allow your turkey skin to dry in the fridge, you can blot it dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel instead. Make sure that you dry the top of the whole bird so that you get a nice crisp skin on the turkey.
- It’s important that you do not try to smoke a frozen turkey. Give your turkey ample time to thaw in the fridge completely before you begin this process.
- Fresh herbs are really important to the brine, I don’t recommend using dried herbs in this recipe.
- When checking the temperature of the turkey make sure to check the center of the breast meat or the thickest part of the thigh for an accurate temperature.
- It’s important that your smoker maintains consistent temperatures so keep your eye on it.
- Make sure that you put your turkey breast side up directly on the cooking grates.
HOW TO STORE
Leftover turkey will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. Be sure to store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh.
When you are ready to reheat your smoked turkey, simply slice the meat off the bone and reheat it in a covered dish in the oven at 350°F until warmed through. Add a little chicken broth or water to the dish if needed.
Or, to reheat an entire smoked turkey, place it on a rack in a roasting pan and add 1/2-inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with foil and reheat at 350°F for 30-35 minutes per pound, or until heated through.
Do you have questions about this recipe? Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions for this recipe.
The best wood for smoking a turkey are Apple, Pecan, Cherry, or Signature Blend. No matter which type of wood pellets you use, you won’t regret smoking your Thanksgiving turkey this holiday season.
If you want to impart the most smoke flavor then you will want to smoke your turkey low and slow, so 225 – 250 degrees F. Or, if you are in a hurry and want to cook it at a higher temperature, then I recommend 300-325 degrees F.
Place your turkey in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 2 hours prior to smoking to allow the skin to dry naturally. This will give you crispy skin with the added benefit of allowing more of the smoke to absorb into the skin when you smoke your bird.
Not necessarily. If you have brined your turkey and are cooking it at 225-250°F, basting is not necessary. If you choose to baste the turkey, apple juice, diluted apple cider vinegar, and chicken stock are all good options.
Use an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure that your turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F in the inner thigh.
LEFTOVER TURKEY? TRY THESE OTHER DELICIOUS RECIPES
Easy Smoked Turkey Recipe
- Whole turkey 12-15 pounds
- 4 tablespoons poultry rub
Turkey Brine Ingredients (optional)
- 1 cup Kosher Salt
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 1 medium red onion peeled and quartered
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Bundle fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh sage
- 1 lemon sliced
- 2 cups of water at room temperature
- 6 cups water chilled
- Thaw turkey ahead of time if frozen. Remove any giblets or neck sections and set them aside for stock if desired.
- Make the brine: Add the brining ingredients into a stock pot large enough to hold the turkey. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a separate pot.
- Add boiling water to the stock pot and whisk until the salt is dissolved.
- Add the 6 cups of chilled water to the finished brining solution.
- Add turkey to the stock pot with brining solution and place in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
- After brining, remove the turkey from the solution, rinse it under cool water, lay it on a baking rack, and allow it to drain while the smoker comes up to temperature.
- Preheat smoker to 225°F
- Pat any remaining moisture from the skin of the turkey and generously season the turkey with your favorite poultry rub.
- Place a dripping pan under the grill and place the turkey directly onto the grill grates and close the lid.
- Smoke the turkey at 225°F, allowing 30 minutes of smoking time per pound of turkey. A 12 pound turkey will take up to 6 hours to cook.
- Remove the turkey from the smoker and loosely tent it with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20-30 minutes. Carve and serve.
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt To Roast theTurkey in the Oven Follow to step 8, then place prepared turkey on a shallow roasting pan with a rack. Tuck the wings in and roast at 325°F for 3 -3 1/2 hours or 30 minutes per pound of turkey. The internal temperature should reach 165°F. Remove from oven, and tent the turkey with foil. Let sit for 20-30 minutes before carving. Add a light coat of oil or butter before adding the rub. This will help give the turkey a golden crispy skin.
Please note that the nutritional information provided are guidelines and may vary based on the brand of products used. For your specific nutritional goals use My Fitness Pal or Verywell Fit recipe calculators. All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise.