How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill: A Comprehensive Guide

The ideal turkey to serve for Thanksgiving or other special occasions is this recipe for smoked turkey. The entire turkey tastes like it came from a fine dining establishment, and the meat is succulent and flavorful. I promise that this smoky turkey will elevate your holiday feast to new heights!

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! It’s possible to smoke a turkey and cook it in your kitchen at the same time.

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.

There is a ton of information in the post below to help you get the best smoked turkey around. Before smoking your first bird, please take the time to read the whole post. It will be easier for you to avoid any problems on the big day if you follow all of the advice listed below.

What temp to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, the optimal temperature for smoking a turkey on a pellet grill is 240°F. This temperature provides a perfect balance between infusing the turkey with a deep, smoky flavor and achieving a juicy, tender texture.

Why 240°F is the Sweet Spot:

  • Flavor: Smoking at 240°F allows the smoke to penetrate the turkey slowly and evenly, resulting in a rich, smoky flavor that permeates every bite.
  • Juiciness: Maintaining a lower temperature helps retain moisture, preventing the turkey from drying out and ensuring a succulent, tender texture.
  • Time Efficiency: While smoking at a lower temperature takes longer than higher temperatures, it allows for more flexibility and control over the cooking process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Smoking a Turkey on a Pellet Grill:

1 Brining (Optional):

Brining is an excellent way to enhance the flavor and moisture of your turkey. Here’s a simple brine recipe:

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 gallons water
    • 1 ½ cups kosher salt
    • 2 cups brown sugar
    • 3 tbsp black pepper
    • 3 oranges, cut into wedges
    • 3 lemons, cut into wedges
    • 5 garlic cloves
    • 4 tbsp fresh rosemary
    • 4 tbsp fresh thyme
  • Instructions:
    1. Bring one gallon of water to a boil and mix in the rest of the brine ingredients. Stir until dissolved.
    2. Add the other gallon of water and stir. If the brine is still warm, top up with ice until cool.
    3. Place the uncooked turkey in a large cooler with ice or a container large enough to hold the turkey and brine for 24 hours.

2, Spatchcocking:

Spatchcocking involves removing the backbone of the turkey, allowing it to cook faster and more evenly. Here’s how to do it:

  • Tools:
    • Kitchen shears or a sharp knife
  • Instructions:
    1. Lay the turkey breast side down and find the backbone.
    2. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut along both sides of the spine until you have removed the backbone.
    3. Flip the bird breast side up. Place your hands on the middle of the breast and press down with some force to flatten the bird.

3. Seasoning:

Apply a generous amount of your favorite turkey rub, ensuring even coverage over the entire surface, including under the wings and legs.

4. Smoking:

  • Temperature: Set your pellet grill to 240°F.
  • Wood: Use fruit wood pellets like cherry, apple, or pecan for a mild, sweet smoke flavor.
  • Placement: Place the spatchcocked turkey breast-side up on the grill grates.
  • Smoke Time: Smoke the turkey for approximately 2 hours per pound, or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 130°F.

5. Finishing:

  • Temperature Increase: Crank up the pellet grill temperature to 350°F for the final stage of the cook.
  • Basting: Baste the skin with melted butter a few times to achieve a crispy texture.
  • Internal Temperature: Remove the turkey from the grill once the breast temperature reaches 160°F.
  • Resting: Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.


  • Turkey Size: Aim for a turkey between 10-12lb. For larger gatherings, consider smoking two smaller turkeys.
  • Rubs and Seasonings: Experiment with different rubs and seasonings to find your perfect flavor profile.
  • Thermometer: Use a reliable thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the turkey.
  • Carving: Follow a step-by-step guide to carve the turkey properly.

Smoking a turkey on a pellet grill at 240°F is an excellent way to achieve a delicious, juicy, and flavorful bird. By following these steps and tips, you can impress your guests with a Thanksgiving or holiday feast that will leave them wanting more.

Catching the Smoked Turkey Drippings

To collect the drips and maintain a moist smoking environment, make sure you have a drip pan ready. I place a pan made of aluminum on the grill to place underneath my turkey.

When the smoke first appears, add several cups of water to the pan. This water will probably evaporate while the food is smoking, so be ready to add more water and always have a few cups in the pan. Utilize those delicious drippings from your cooked turkey to create the most delicious Smoked Turkey Gravy you’ve ever tasted!

Supplies Needed for a Smoked Turkey

Before preparing your smoked turkey, gather the following ingredients:

For the sake of food safety, make sure the fresh turkey you buy weighs no more than fifteen pounds. I suggest getting two or three smaller birds for Thanksgiving dinner rather than one large one if you’re hosting a large group of people. If you are not sure what size turkey to buy, see the next section about how much turkey to plan per person.

I advise against smoking a turkey heavier than fifteen pounds because it can take too long to cook. You run the risk of bacteria growing and ruining your turkey before it’s done because it will be left in the danger zone for food safety, which is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, for an extended period of time.

Roasting two or three smaller turkeys is preferable to one large one. My recipe for Spatchcocked Smoke Roasted Turkey is highly recommended if you’re looking to cook a larger bird. There are no dry breasts on a spatchcocked bird because the bird is flattened and cooked at a higher temperature.

What temperature do you smoke a turkey on a pellet grill?


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.

What temperature do you smoke a turkey on a pellet smoker?

To Smoke: One very low-and-slow method of cooking a turkey is smoking. If you smoke a turkey, cooking at 225 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit for the start of the cook will deliver the best results.

How long does it take to smoke a turkey at 250 degrees?

Smoking a turkey can be a long process, so be sure to start early in the day so that the turkey will be done by dinner time. Typically, it takes at least 5 hours to smoke an average sized turkey at 250 degrees F. Plan on having your turkey cook for about 25-30 minutes per pound.

How long does it take to smoke a 14 pound turkey on a Traeger?

How long and and what temperature do I cook my turkey? A small bird (8 to 12 pounds) requires 2-1/2 to 3 hours at 325 degrees F; a medium (12 – 18 pounds) will need 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours; and a large bird (over 18 pounds) could take up to 6 hours.

How do you smoke a Turkey on a pellet grill?

Then follow these simple steps for smoking your turkey on your pellet grill. Place your turkey with the giblets removed in a brining bag. In a separate container, mix 1 cup of salt with 4 quarts of water. Pour this mixture over the turkey and seal the bag. Make sure to read the label of your turkey to see if it has been pre-brined already.

What temperature should a Turkey be smoked at?

Smoke your turkey at 325°F until the breast reads 160°F or internal temperature. Take your time carving the turkey, stick it on a platter, and it’s time to eat! John bought his first home in 2012 and bought his first grill shortly afterward: the ubiquitous Weber kettle grill. He’s been hooked since the first time he fired up some coals.

How do you cook a turkey breast on a pellet grill?

Insert the probe into the thickest part of the turkey breast. Place the pan with the pellet grill turkey on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke for 2 1/2-3 hours. Increase the grill temperature to 350℉ and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F, 3 1/2-4 hours more.

What temperature do you cook a smoked turkey breast?

Pull the smoked turkey off the pellet grill when the breast reads about 160°F and the thigh reads about 170°F. The meat will continue to rise another 5°F while its resting and will be perfect (a final temperature of 165°F in the breast and 175°F in the thigh) when you carve.

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