Something that’s been buzzing on my news feeds and social pages lately is an overwhelming number of people asking about smoked turkey.  How to smoke a turkey. Who sells smoked turkeys? Who’s making a smoked turkey for Thanksgiving?

Smoked Turkey The Right Way | Naturally Stellar

So, even though I admit, I’ve never once smoked a turkey in my life.  I decided to get my research on, for the sake of my peeps and put together a bunch of tips, best practices and recipes from some of the greats.  I’ve compiled the best tips available from experts at Butterball, Weber Grills, Food Network, Charbroil and more.  

If you’re planning on smoking a turkey, you better bookmark this.


Smoked Turkey The Right Way | Naturally Stellar

Smoked Turkey Rub (
  • 1/4-cup vegetable oil
  • 2-tablespoons onion powder
  • 1-tablespoon paprika
  • 2-teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2-teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2-teaspoons white pepper
  • 1-teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2-teaspoon powdered sage


  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. Take one tablespoon of the dry ingredients and dust the inner cavity.
  3. Mix the remaining dry ingredients with the oil to make a paste.
  4. Smear this under the skin of the turkey breast and over the outside of the entire bird.


Turkey In A Smoker (Doug Kacsir,


  • 1 (10 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 1 apple, quartered


  • Prep: 
  • Cook Time: 10 h
  • Ready In:  
  1. Preheat smoker to 225 to 250 degrees F (110 to 120 degrees C).
  2. Rinse turkey under cold water, and pat dry. Rub the crushed garlic over the outside of the bird, and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place in a disposable roasting pan. Fill turkey cavity with butter, cola, apple, onion, garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Cover loosely with foil.
  3. Smoke at 225 to 250 degrees F (110 to 120 degrees C) for 10 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C) when measured in the thickest part of the thigh. Baste the bird every 1 to 2 hours with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan.


Smoked Whole Turkey – Bobby Flay  (

Total Time: 9 hr

Prep: 10 min
Inactive: 4 hr 20 min
Cook:  4 hr 30 min

Yield:10 to 12 servings


  • 1 fresh whole turkey (15 to 17 pounds), patted dry with paper towels
  • Canola oil, for brushing
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


  1. Special equipment: wood chips (such as hickory, apple or pecan wood) soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours; a charcoal grill or smoker
  2. Remove the turkey from the fridge and allow to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal grill or smoker for indirect heat, at approximately 275 degrees F. Sprinkle in wood chips (such as hickory, apple or pecan wood) that have soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours, and allow them to char before cooking.
  4. Place the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Brush the entire turkey with the oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the turkey in the grill or smoker and cook for 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, mix together the chicken stock, honey and vinegar. Baste the turkey after cooking for 45 minutes. Repeat the basting every 45 minutes until the internal temperature of the thigh registers 165 degrees F and the breast registers 155 degrees F, about 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the bird.
  7. Remove the turkey to a large cutting board and let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

Smoked Turkey The Right Way | Naturally Stellar

Smoking Methods

Water Smokers (Mastering Smoke,

  • A water smoker allows you to smoke meat at temperatures well below 300°F for many hours.
  • A water smoker has vents on both the bottom and top sections. Generally, it’s a good idea to leave the top vent wide open so that smoke can escape. Use the bottom vents as your primary way of regulating the temperature. The less air you allow into the smoker, the lower the temperature will go.
  • Generally speaking, if the ring in the bottom section of the smoker is filled with lit charcoal, and the water pan is nearly filled, the temperature will stay in the range of 225° to 250°F for 4 to 6 hours. This is an ideal range for barbecuing food like pork ribs, turkeys, and standing rib roasts.
  • When you see that very little smoke is coming out of the top vent, add another chunk or two of wood through the door on the side. Wood chunks burn slowly and evenly, so they are a better choice than wood chips in this situation. For cooking sessions longer than 6 hours, you will probably need to add more charcoal occasionally. The timing will depend on your type of charcoal and how fast it burns. If you are using charcoal made with unnatural fillers, you may want to light the briquettes in a chimney starter first; some people can taste off flavors in food cooked over unlit briquettes.
  • During long cooking times, also be sure to replenish the water pan every few hours with warm water. But keep the lid on the smoker as much as possible. That’s critical for maintaining even heat.


CHECK THIS OUT ✴  Cheesy Spinach Sausage Crescent Braid

Electric Smokers (Butterball)

  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for preparing the smoker.
  • Prepare an 8 to 18 lb. thawed or fresh turkey by removing the giblets and neck draining the juices, and drying with paper towels. The turkey should be completely thawed for even, safe cooking.
  • Do not stuff your turkey. Brush the skin with vegetable oil and insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into lower thigh.
  • Set the smoker to 225° F. Place the turkey on a cooking rack and cook for 8 to 12 hours or until the inner thigh temperature reaches 180° F.
  • Check the temperature of your turkey after 3½ hours. Your turkey must pass through a critical range of 40° F to 140° F in 4 hours or less. If the internal temperature is low after 3½ hours, take your turkey off the smoker and finish it in the oven.
  • Cover the turkey and chill or let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

How To Smoke A Turkey | Naturally Stellar

Best Smoked Turkey Tips

  • Your turkey must pass through a critical range of 40° F to 140° F in 4 hours or less. If the internal temperature is low after 3½ hours, take your turkey off the smoker and finish it in the oven. (Butterball Smoking Tips)
  • Turkey tends to absorb smoke easier than red meat, so use mild woods.  Apple and cherry woods have a sweet taste that compliments turkey well.
  • Hickory and mesquite are heavier woods that can quickly overpower a turkey, but if you blend about ¼ of the heavier flavored wood with ¾ milder wood, you can offset the strong hickory or mesquite flavor. (Charbroil Smoking Tips)


CHECK THIS OUT ✴  25 Deliciously Fabulous Oatmeal Recipes

Naturally Stellar Newsletter


Have You Every Attempted To Smoke A Turkey?


The following two tabs change content below.
Founder, E of Women's Lifestyle Blog, Naturally Stellar | Copywriter and Content Creator | I left corporate life 8+ years ago, to pursue my goal of becoming a writer. Boom!! I did that! Now I'm an accomplished copywriter and then some! You should hire me. #RockStarMoms

Got something to say? Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: