Smoke Your Way to Thanksgiving Glory: A Guide to Smoking a Turkey

Turkey that has been brined and smoked is fragrant, juicy, and flavorful, with a hint of applewood and infusions of herbs. Youll need 4 small metal skewers to close up the turkeys cavities. If the wood chunks (which burn longer than chips) aren’t smoking quickly enough during cooking, you can turn up the heat under them for a short while until they do, then turn it down to keep the temperature between 250° and 300°. This Story Originally Appeared On.

Tired of the same old roasted turkey routine? This Thanksgiving ditch the oven and embrace the smoky allure of a perfectly smoked turkey. It’s a culinary adventure that’ll leave your guests in awe and your taste buds singing.

The Smoking Showdown: Gas vs Charcoal

No fancy smoker? No problem! Your trusty gas or charcoal grill can be transformed into a smoky haven with a few simple steps

Gas Grill Glory:

  1. Soak It Up: Start by soaking 2 cups of wood chips (apple, cherry, hickory, or your favorite flavor) in water, apple juice, or white wine for 30 minutes. Skip the spirits – they’ll make the chips burn too quickly.
  2. Prepare the Bird: Season your turkey with a wet or dry brine (or go freestyle!), ensuring it’s coated all over. Place it breast-side-up in a disposable aluminum pan. This protects the bird from browning too fast and prevents grease from making a mess.
  3. Smoke Signals: Place the soaked wood chips in a smaller aluminum pan and put it directly on the burner assembly (usually the top left). Replace the grill grate.
  4. Light It Up: Crank all burners to high, close the lid, and wait for the smoke to appear.
  5. Indirect Heat is Key: Once you see smoke, turn off the burners under the turkey’s location and set the remaining burners to medium-low. If your grill has three zones, place the turkey in the center. For two zones, position it opposite the wood chips. Remember, direct smoke equals an ashy flavor – not what we’re aiming for!
  6. Let the Smoke Do Its Magic: Place the turkey (in the pan) on the grill over the unlit burners, close the lid, and set the temperature to 325°F if your grill has a gauge. After 90 minutes, turn the bird 180° for even cooking. Smoke for about 12 minutes per pound – a 15-pound turkey takes roughly 3 hours. Aim for an internal temperature of 155°F in the breast and 165°F in the thigh.

Charcoal Champions:

  1. Soak It Up: Same as the gas grill, soak your 2 cups of wood chips for 30 minutes.
  2. Light It Up: Use a chimney to light 24 charcoal briquettes. Wait until they’re ashed over (about 15-20 minutes).
  3. Grill Setup: Place a disposable aluminum pan on the bottom grate of your grill and fill it halfway with water (or juice, beer, or another liquid). Add hearty herbs like rosemary and bay leaves for extra flavor. Open the top and bottom vents halfway. Divide the ashed-over coals along the pan’s long sides, toss a handful of drained wood chips over each pile, and place the grill grate on top with the open sides positioned over the charcoal piles.
  4. Season and Smoke: Season your turkey as desired and place it directly on the grill grate over the disposable pan.
  5. Maintain the Heat: Aim for a temperature range of 300°F to 325°F. Add 12 unlit briquettes and a handful of wood chips to each coal pile every hour (don’t exceed the 2 cups total). Adjust the heat by opening/closing the vents: wider for more heat, closed for less. Never fully close the vents – air movement helps draw smoke through the meat. A 15-pound turkey will take around 3 hours (12 minutes per pound). Check for an internal temperature of 155°F in the breast and 165°F in the thigh.

The Final Touch:

Let the smoked turkey rest uncovered at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (up to an hour). Don’t worry about it getting cold – this resting period is crucial for retaining juiciness. Skip the foil tent – it’ll make the crispy skin turn soggy.

With these tips and a dash of culinary confidence, you’re ready to conquer the Thanksgiving turkey challenge. Remember, cooking is an adventure, so have fun and enjoy the smoky journey!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 378 calories; calories from fat 44%; protein 48g; fat 18g; saturated fat 8g; carbohydrates 2g; sodium 207mg; cholesterol 143mg. Advertisement

Hi would smoking like this taste just as flavorful as if youd smoke on a charcoal grill? Advertisement

How to Smoke a Turkey on a Gas Grill


Can you smoke turkey on a gas grill?

And you don’t need a fancy smoker to do it. (But if you want one, here are our tried-and-tested picks.) You can smoke a turkey on your regular grill—either gas or charcoal—as long as it has a lid and enough space to fit the bird and still have room for a two-zone fire.

How long does it take to smoke a 16 pound turkey?

Cook Time
8-12 lbs.
4-8 hrs.
12-18 lbs.
6-10 hrs.

Is it better to smoke a turkey at 225 or 250?

When smoking at 225°F, it can take about 30 to 45 minutes to cook one pound of turkey. That means a 12-pound turkey should take at least six hours to cook in a smoker. To smoke your turkey faster, increase the smoker’s temperature to 250°F to 275°F.

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