How to Get Drippings from Smoked Turkey: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to Thanksgiving, or any other time you’re looking for a delicious turkey gravy recipe, this Smoked Turkey Gravy is the perfect accompaniment. Made 100% from scratch, it’ll be full of flavor and make you feel like a gravy superstar.

The best turkey gravy is made from scratch, not from a can or flavor packets. There aren’t many resources available for making gravy from smoked turkey, but don’t worry—if you want to smoke your turkey this holiday season, I’ll show you how to make a flavorful gravy that will go perfectly with the turkey.

One of the challenges in creating a gravy from smoked turkey is the variety of smoking techniques available, which can lead to varying gravy compositions. Using a brine or brining liquid can result in a salty gravy. I personally don’t recommend making gravy from a brined turkey for this very reason. (I realize this may disappoint you, but the neck and giblets from a brined turkey can still be used to make a delicious stock.)

Then there’s the beloved spatchcock turkey. Fortunately, you can use the backbone that you cut out to enhance the flavor of the turkey in your gravy if you want to make gravy from your Spatchcock Smoke Roasted Turkey. Bam! Gravy time!.

Smoking a turkey is a delicious and rewarding way to enjoy this classic holiday dish, But what about the drippings? Those flavorful juices are essential for making the perfect gravy,

In this guide, we’ll explore the best ways to collect drippings from your smoked turkey, along with tips for making mouthwatering gravy.

1. Prepare Your Smoker and Turkey:

  • Choose a smoker: Select a smoker that can accommodate the size of your turkey and maintain a consistent temperature.
  • Brine or inject the turkey: This step is optional, but it helps to keep the turkey moist and flavorful.
  • Season the turkey: Use your favorite rub or seasoning blend.
  • Prepare the smoker: Preheat your smoker to the desired temperature, typically between 225°F and 275°F.

2. Collect the Drippings:

  • Use a drip pan: Place a large drip pan filled with a liter of water, beer, wine, or juice underneath the turkey while it is cooking. This will catch the drippings and prevent them from burning.
  • Position the turkey: Make sure that the turkey is not sitting directly in the pan. You can use a roast holder or elevate the pan with foil balls.
  • Monitor the drippings: Check the drip pan periodically and add more liquid if needed. The liquid helps to prevent the drippings from drying out and burning.

3. Make Gravy:

  • Strain the drippings: Once the turkey is done cooking, remove the drip pan and strain the drippings through a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Degrease the drippings: Skim off any excess fat from the surface of the drippings.
  • Make a roux: In a saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux.
  • Whisk in the drippings: Gradually whisk the drippings into the roux, stirring constantly until the gravy thickens.
  • Season to taste: Add salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings to taste.

4. Tips for Success:

  • Use a variety of liquids: Experiment with different liquids in the drip pan, such as water, beer, wine, or juice, to add additional flavor to the drippings.
  • Don’t overcook the turkey: Overcooked turkey will result in dry drippings and less flavorful gravy.
  • Use a gravy separator: If you want to remove even more fat from the drippings, use a gravy separator.
  • Get creative with your gravy: Add herbs, spices, or other ingredients to your gravy for a unique flavor profile.

5 Additional Resources:

  • This website has a wealth of information on smoking turkey, including tips for collecting drippings and making gravy.
  • BBQ Brethren: This forum also has a great discussion on smoking turkey and collecting drippings.

By following these tips, you can easily collect drippings from your smoked turkey and make delicious gravy that will impress your guests.

Enjoy your delicious smoked turkey and gravy!

How to Make Turkey Stock

To make gravy, you’ll need turkey stock, but if you only have chicken stock on hand, that works too. The neck and tail of your turkey can be used to make turkey stock if you want to go old school, completely homemade, and genuine. You can also buy turkey legs ahead of time for your stock.

Here’s how to make homemade turkey stock for your turkey gravy:

  • For one hour, place the legs (or the neck and tails) on the smoker.
  • Place them in a crock pot with two tablespoons of salt, eight cups of water, one cup each of celery and carrots, and one medium yellow onion.
  • Cook it on low for 6-8 hours. Ta-da! Smoked turkey stock is made for the gravy.

You can make turkey stock the day before making the gravy. In fact, I strongly advise preparing it in advance so that on the day of your special meal, you have time to concentrate on the entree and sides. Additionally, if you make a large amount of turkey stock, you can freeze any leftovers by placing them in a zip-top bag. It will keep for several months, and you can use it for future stock-based recipes.

How to Make Gravy from Smoked Turkey

Thus, the key takeaway when preparing gravy with smoked turkey is to not stress too much about using drippings in your gravy. When cooking smoked turkeys, you cook them directly on the grill grates in your smoker, and it can be challenging to catch the cooking drippings.

When making smoked turkey gravy, the idea is to use the giblets, backbone, and neck of the turkey (if smoking a spatchcock turkey) to enhance the flavor of the turkey.

If you can’t get enough drippings for your gravy, you can get some when you slice the smoked turkey. Cut your fully cooked turkeys on a board with a lip around the edge. As you slice your turkey, any juices will run onto the board. Strain those and pour them into your gravy before serving.

How to Make Gravy from Turkey Drippings | ChristmasTurkey Gravy | Turkey with Gravy | Easy Gravy


Can you get gravy from a smoked turkey?

I’ve done gravy from drippings every time I’ve done a whole turkey, or even just the breast. I usually let the turkey smoke for a while (until it hits 130-140 IT), then put it in a pan with canned chicken broth or homemade turkey stock and cover it all with foil.

What to do if turkey has no drippings?

So how do you make turkey gravy without drippings? It’s all about finding a replacement for the browned, complex meaty flavor the drippings offer. For a no-drippings gravy, aromatics such as onions, celery, carrot, bell pepper, and/or garlic, can help, as can umami-rich elements like mushrooms.

How do you collect drippings?

Here are simple ways you can collect drippings. Using a drip pan can be one of the greatest ways to de-fat the drippings. You can easily do this with an ordinary pan without necessarily investing in a designated drip pan. Placing disposable foil under the food smoker’s grates is also another way to harvest the fat.

How do you smoke a Turkey drippings?

Throughout smoking, especially for longer smokes, it’s important to check the water levels in the water pan occasionally. Add the drip pan to catch the turkey drippings. Pour about 4 cups of water into the pan to prevent the drippings from drying out and burning during the smoking time. Most of the water will evaporate during the smoke.

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What to do with smoked turkey drippings?

Make Turkey Gravy The first thing you can do with your smoked turkey drippings is to make smoked turkey gravy. This is a delicious gravy, but it can be an acquired taste, as it has a robust smoky flavor. So, don’t make too much of it until you know you and your family enjoy it.

How do you store smoked turkey drippings?

The first way you can store your smoked turkey drippings is by keeping them in your fridge. You will need to place the drippings in an airtight container or jar to ensure the drippings stay fresh and bacteria or mold-free. You can then place the drippings into the middle of your fridge until you need them again.

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