How to Smoke a Turkey on a Gas Grill: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

This smoked turkey recipe is the perfect turkey to serve on Thanksgiving or other special occasions. The turkey is delicious and tender, and the whole bird tastes like it came from an upscale restaurant. I can guarantee this smoked turkey will take your holiday meal to the next level!.

Thanksgiving turkey cooked at home is the best! This recipe for smoked turkey won’t scare you; in fact, it will help you make the best smoked turkey you’ve ever had! Smoking a turkey can be just as easy as cooking it in your kitchen.

It is possible to prepare a smoked turkey at home using any kind of deck grill. Since you never forget your first, our first smoked turkey was actually cooked on our old gas grill and is still one of the best smoked turkeys I’ve ever had.

I now prefer to use my Camp Chef SmokePro pellet smoker because it reduces the amount of babysitting I have to do by maintaining the temperatures and smoke for me. However, you can use any kind of smoker you own, including a gas or charcoal grill, to prepare this smoked turkey. The most crucial thing is to use a grill that allows you to add wood smoke, maintain steady temperatures, and produce indirect heat.

The post below is loaded with lots of information to help you get the best smoked turkey around. Please take the time to read through the entire post before you smoke your first bird. Following all the recommendations below will help you avoid any pitfalls on the big day.

Are you looking to impress your guests with a delicious and juicy smoked turkey? Well you’ve come to the right place! Smoking a turkey on a gas grill is easier than you might think, and with the right tools and techniques you can achieve restaurant-quality results in your own backyard.

This guide will walk you through every step of the process, from prepping your turkey to achieving the perfect smoky flavor. So grab your gas grill, fire it up, and get ready to smoke the most amazing turkey you’ve ever tasted!

Gather Your Tools and Ingredients:

Before you start make sure you have all the necessary tools and ingredients:


  • Gas grill
  • Wood chips (apple, cherry, or hickory are good choices)
  • Aluminum pan
  • Meat thermometer
  • Basting brush
  • Tongs
  • Cutting board
  • Carving knife


  • 15-pound turkey (fresh, not frozen)
  • Olive oil or melted butter
  • Your favorite poultry rub or seasoning blend
  • Water

Prepping Your Gas Grill:

  1. Soak your wood chips: Fill an aluminum pan with water and add your wood chips. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning too quickly.
  2. Preheat your grill: Light your gas grill and preheat it to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Use indirect heat by turning on the burners on the sides and leaving the middle burner off.
  3. Place the wood chips: Once the grill is preheated, place the aluminum pan with the soaked wood chips on the side burner away from the direct heat.

Prepping Your Turkey:

  1. Remove giblets and neck: Take your fresh turkey and remove the giblets and neck from the cavity.
  2. Pat it dry: Pat the turkey dry with paper towels to ensure even browning.
  3. Season generously: Rub the turkey with olive oil or melted butter and then season it generously with your favorite poultry rub or seasoning blend. Make sure to get under the skin as well for maximum flavor.

Smoking the Turkey:

  1. Place the turkey in the pan: Place the seasoned turkey in an aluminum pan and add a cup of water to the bottom. This will help keep the turkey moist and prevent it from drying out.
  2. Position the pan on the grill: Place the pan with the turkey on the grill, away from direct heat.
  3. Monitor the temperature: Close the lid of the grill and monitor the temperature. It should stay around 300 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the cooking process.
  4. Baste the turkey: Every hour or so, baste the turkey with the pan drippings to keep it moist and flavorful.
  5. Check the internal temperature: After about 4-5 hours, start checking the internal temperature of the turkey using a meat thermometer. The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast and thigh.

Resting and Carving the Turkey:

  1. Let it rest: Once the turkey is done, remove it from the grill and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful turkey.
  2. Carve and serve: Carve the turkey as you normally would and serve it with your favorite sides.

Pro Tips for Smoking Turkey on a Gas Grill:

  • Use a drip pan: Placing the turkey in a drip pan helps to catch the drippings and keep the grill clean. You can also use the drippings to make a delicious gravy.
  • Don’t overcook the turkey: Overcooked turkey is dry and tough. Make sure to check the internal temperature regularly to avoid this.
  • Use a variety of wood chips: Experiment with different types of wood chips to find your favorite flavor profile.
  • Brine the turkey: Brining the turkey before smoking it adds moisture and flavor.
  • Let the turkey rest: This is crucial for ensuring a juicy and tender turkey.

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What type of wood chips should I use?
    Apple, cherry, and hickory are good choices for smoking turkey.
  • How long does it take to smoke a turkey?
    It takes approximately 30 minutes per pound to smoke a turkey.
  • Do I need to brine the turkey?
    Brining is not necessary, but it can add moisture and flavor.
  • What temperature should I cook the turkey to?
    The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast and thigh.
  • How long should I let the turkey rest?
    Let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

Smoking a turkey on a gas grill is a fun and rewarding experience. By following the steps in this guide, you can easily achieve restaurant-quality results in your own backyard. So, fire up your grill, grab your turkey, and get ready to impress your guests with a delicious and juicy smoked turkey!

Brine and Seasoning for Smoked Turkey

Let’s talk about brining and seasoning the turkey for smoking once you’ve bought your turkey or turkeys.

  • Brining. You can skip brining the turkey before smoking if you’re using a store-bought, pre-brined turkey. Prepare your own brine for your turkey if it hasn’t been brined previously. For this exact occasion, I heartily suggest my Apple Spice Smoked Turkey Brine. It’s sweet with the perfect blend of spices.
  • Seasoning. Turkey tastes great with a little seasoning. Apply a basic Sweet Rub or Smoked Turkey Rub to your turkey’s exterior to enhance the flavor of real barbecue sauce and balance the smoke from the grill. My Sweet Rub is available in the Hey Grill Hey Store, so you can save some time on Thanksgiving.

Note: The bird’s skin will turn fairly dark and caramelized due to the sugar in the Sweet Rub. It is not burned! It will simply appear darker. Keep this in mind if you choose to use the Sweet Rub instead of the Turkey Rub.

How Much Turkey Per Person?

A good rule of thumb is to plan on 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person. Remember, you will be cooking a whole turkey with bones, skin, wings, etc. that won’t necessarily be consumed at the Thanksgiving table.

Personally, I estimate 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person. This will ensure everybody gets enough, and you’ll have leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

How to Smoke a Turkey on a Gas Grill

Leave a Comment