Glaze for Smoked Turkey: A Delicious Guide to Sweet and Smoky Flavor

This easy smoked turkey recipe is dry rubbed and smoked to absolutely perfection. Your smoker does all the work when you bast a perfectly juicy Thanksgiving bird with a maple BBQ glaze! Serve with all of your favorite sides and savor the flavorful leftovers for days!

If you’re looking for a way to add a touch of sweetness and smokiness to your next smoked turkey look no further than a delicious honey glaze. This simple yet flavorful glaze is the perfect way to take your turkey to the next level, and it’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends.

What is a Glaze for Smoked Turkey?

A glaze for smoked turkey is a mixture of ingredients that is applied to the turkey during the smoking process The glaze helps to add flavor, moisture, and color to the turkey Glazes can be made with a variety of ingredients, including honey, brown sugar, butter, apple cider vinegar, and spices.

Why Use a Glaze for Smoked Turkey?

There are several reasons to use a glaze for smoked turkey. First, a glaze can help to add flavor to the turkey. The sweetness of the honey and the smokiness of the wood chips will combine to create a delicious and complex flavor profile. Second, a glaze can help to keep the turkey moist. The sugar in the glaze will help to attract and retain moisture, which will prevent the turkey from drying out during the smoking process. Finally, a glaze can help to add color to the turkey. The brown sugar and spices in the glaze will give the turkey a beautiful golden brown color.

How to Make a Glaze for Smoked Turkey

Making a glaze for smoked turkey is easy. Simply combine the following ingredients in a saucepan:

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the glaze has thickened slightly, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly before applying it to the turkey.

How to Apply the Glaze

To apply the glaze, simply brush it onto the turkey using a pastry brush. Be sure to coat the turkey evenly with the glaze. You can apply the glaze at any point during the smoking process, but it is best to apply it during the last 30 minutes of smoking. This will give the glaze time to set and caramelize.

Tips for Making the Best Glaze

Here are a few tips for making the best glaze for smoked turkey:

  • Use high-quality honey. The honey is the star of the show, so be sure to use a good-quality honey that you enjoy the taste of.
  • Don’t overcook the glaze. The glaze should be thickened but not too thick. If the glaze is too thick, it will be difficult to apply to the turkey.
  • Experiment with different flavors. You can add different spices to the glaze to create different flavor profiles. For example, you could add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a bit of heat, or a teaspoon of orange zest for a citrusy flavor.

A glaze for smoked turkey is a simple yet delicious way to add flavor, moisture, and color to your turkey. With just a few ingredients and a little bit of time, you can create a glaze that will take your turkey to the next level. So next time you’re smoking a turkey, be sure to give this glaze a try. You won’t be disappointed!


  • What kind of wood should I use for smoking turkey?

Apple, cherry, or hickory wood are all good choices for smoking turkey.

  • How long should I smoke a turkey?

The smoking time will vary depending on the size of the turkey. A general rule of thumb is to smoke the turkey for 20-25 minutes per pound.

  • What temperature should I smoke a turkey at?

The ideal smoking temperature for turkey is 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Can I use a different type of glaze?

Yes, you can use any type of glaze that you like. However, a honey glaze is a classic choice for smoked turkey.

  • What should I serve with smoked turkey?

Smoked turkey is delicious served with a variety of side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

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What Makes This Recipe Great

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to make turkey! This year, I wanted to try something new from the traditional roasted turkey. Since we adore our Traeger smoker, I came up with this simple recipe for smoked turkey with a mouthwatering maple barbecue glaze.

This is NOT your mama’s Thanksgiving turkey. This bad boy is stuffed with fresh herbs, garlic, onion, apple, and citrus, buttered, and dry-rubbed with a basic homemade spice blend before being cooked slowly for six to eight hours on a pellet grill. It’s basted with a mouthwatering Maple BBQ Glaze that is sweet and tangy and absolutely delicious.

This is the BEST smoked turkey recipe I’ve ever tasted, and it’s actually really easy to make! The resulting smoked turkey has a crispy skin, is full of flavor, and has the most tender, juicy meat! There are quite a few steps to prep, but your smoker really does all the hard work!.

The ultimate Thanksgiving dinner! Let’s get smoking!

glaze for smoked turkey

  • Whole Turkey: You can use either fresh or frozen turkey, but if frozen, make sure to thaw it first.
  • Butter: Use vegan butter or olive oil for dairy-free.
  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Sweet Onion
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Sage
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Butter: Use vegan butter for dairy free.
  • Ketchup
  • Brown Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Orange Juice
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Black Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Brown Sugar

glaze for smoked turkey

  • To prepare the seasoning, combine all of the spices in a small bowl and stir.
  • Next, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the brown sugar dissolves and the mixture is combined to make the glaze.
  • Thaw any frozen turkey you may have in the fridge before smoking it. Let it come to room temperature in the refrigerator for one to four pounds of turkey.
  • Take the neck and giblets out of the turkey’s cavities after it has defrosted. Pat it dry with paper towels. Turkey should be placed breast side up in an aluminum roasting pan. With the help of this drip pan, all the juices and turkey drippings will be contained, giving the turkey a delicious flavor.
  • Apply butter at room temperature to the turkey’s exterior and beneath the skin. Apply the dry rub generously over the whole turkey. Make sure you massage the mixture into the turkey’s skin as well as its exterior.
  • Place the sweet onion, cloves of garlic, orange, lemon, and apple inside the cavity. Place any extra around the turkey in the roasting pan. Cross and tie the legs together with string or twine. Then, cover the turkey and pan with aluminum foil.

glaze for smoked turkey

  • Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Set the temperature to 225°F. We utilized apple and maple wood pellets from the Traeger 780 series as a point of reference.
  • Place the roasting pan on the smoker’s grill grate. Place the turkey on the upper level of your smoker if it has multiple levels for optimal smoke penetration.
  • Close the lid and cook for 5 hrs. Take off the aluminum foil and baste the turkey after five hours. Without touching the thigh bone, place an instant-read thermometer into the thickest area of the turkey’s thigh. This will help you monitor the internal temperature.
  • To help keep the turkey moist and flavorful, try basting it with the glaze every 30 minutes (after the 5-hour mark). Keep an eye on the smoker’s temperature and smoke levels. If additional wood chips, chunks, or pellets are required to keep the smoke level constant, add them.
  • For every pound of turkey, allow approximately 30 to 40 minutes of cooking time. However, depending on the size of the turkey and the smoker’s temperature, cooking times may change. When the thickest part of the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), the turkey is safe to eat.
  • After the turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, take the aluminum pan out of the smoker with caution.
  • Let the turkey rest for about 20-30 minutes. This makes the turkey moist and tender by allowing the juices to redistribute.
  • Serve the turkey with its favorite side dishes after it has been carved. For some of my favorite side dishes, see my serving suggestions!

glaze for smoked turkey

  • Notes on Cooking Times: As a general guideline, cook turkey for 30 to 40 minutes per pound. For instance, a 13-pound turkey should be cooked for 6 to 8 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Basting: To ensure a juicy turkey, baste it every 30 minutes (after the 5-hour mark) to help maintain its flavor and moisture content.
  • Pellets: I used maple and apple pellets. Use your preferred combination, but these two work incredibly well with the dry rub and maple barbecue glaze. Other pellets that might work are hickory or cherry.
  • Smoker: We use the Traeger 780 series. Although we adore our Traeger, you can use an electric smoker or any other pellet smoker you may have.
  • Turkey Brine: Wet brine and dry brine are the two methods for brining a turkey. Soaking the turkey for up to an entire night in a brining solution is known as wet brining. This makes the turkey juicier and more flavorful, but it’s not required for this recipe. Instead, we’re dry brining the turkey with seasonings using a dry rub.

Here are some fun (and delicious!) recipes that I’ve made over the years to go along with your easy smoked turkey recipe: Serve it with my family’s favorite gravy recipe and any and all sides you can think of! Don’t forget about this Boozy Fall Punch!

  • Keep any leftover turkey for up to four or five days in an airtight container. I always think that turkey tastes better the next day, so reheat in the oven or microwave and use for a range of meals, such as soups, salads, and sandwiches.
  • Let your dark meat or smoked turkey breast cool fully before freezing. After that, remove any air from the leftovers and put them in a freezer bag. For best freshness, store in the freezer and use within two to three months.

glaze for smoked turkey

A good rule of thumb is to cook for 30-40 minutes per pound of turkey. Small Turkey 10-12 pounds: 5-7 hours, Medium Turkey 13-16 pounds: 6-8 hours, Large Turkey 17-20 pounds: 9-11 hours.

By basting! I advise basting the turkey every 30 minutes until the cooking process is complete after it has cooked for five hours. This is the best way to keep your turkey moist and juicy.

glaze for smoked turkey

glaze for smoked turkey

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glaze for smoked turkey

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