Get The Best Expert Tips For Smoking A Whole Turkey

Sep 05, 2023 By Fabian Forte

Turkey is one of the most affordable meat cuts you can enjoy any time of the year without waiting for the holidays. The best part is that you don't need to be an expert chef to smoke the turkey.

But, if this is your first time, we suggest you choose a fresh but small-sized turkey. Never stuff the turkey, monitor the turkey while you are cooking, and you can do different experiments with spices to taste new flavors each time, while savory sauces are perfect for smoked turkey. Do not open the smoker while cooking; serving a little pink turkey meat is fine.

A perfectly smoked turkey is juicy, tendered, and gives you a burst of flavor at first bite. But, to enjoy its rich, smoky flavor, you must follow a few tips. What are those tips? Let's find them all here!

Get The Top Notch Tips For Smoking A Whole Turkey

Monitoring The Temperature Of Turkey

If you have ever used a smoker, you will be aware that relying on the built-in temperature of the smoker will be a foolish decision. You cannot get the accurate measurements from these. Therefore, you must get the dual probe thermometer, with the help of which you can measure the internal temperature of the meat. The smoking thermometer reads quickly and always gives you accurate readings.

Don't Stuff The Turkey

Never stuff the turkey. This way, heat takes a long time to reach the central part of the meat, and as a result, the turkey breast dries up. Instead, you can make the stuffing separately in a pan, reducing the smoking time significantly.

Buying The Fresh Turkey For Smoking

Instead of going for frozen meat at the store, get a fresh piece from the butcher's shop; you will find it more flavorful and juicy. Though buying and smoking frozen turkey seems more convenient, when it comes to the taste, fresh turkey tastes more delicious.

Do Experiment With Different Species

Turkey is a flavorless meat; therefore, you can use any spices. Also, experimenting with the spices will give you more new flavors. More spices are available than the stars sparkling in the sky. So, make a new combo of spices every time and amaze your loved ones with a burst of flavors.

Enough Time To Brine

Brining is a crucial step that makes the meat flavorful and juicy. So, submerge the turkey in a tube full of brine, spices, and herbs before smoking. Instead, sprinkle the salt over the turkey and let it sit for some time before smoking.

Place The Drip Pan Under Turkey

The pan under the turkey collects all the drippings, making your job easier. With a pan, you will not have to spend hours cleaning the next day. Don't forget to fill the tray with vegetables, including carrots, onions, celery, and herbs, to add more flavor to the meat.

Do Not Open The Smoker

Many people smoke the meat for the first time and keep on opening the smoker every five minutes. It only delays the cooking process, but nothing more than that. So, what do you need to do? Just sit back and wait. The thermometer will tell you a lot about the internal temperature of the meat, and you can wait till it gets cooked completely with peace of mind.

Some Pink Turkey Meat Is Good To Go

You can serve the meat even if it is a little pink inside if the internal temperature is 165 °F. Remember that the turkey meat is pinkish, so serving pinkish meat would not be an issue as long as the internal temperature is right.

Savory Seasonings Are Better

Turkey is a versatile meat, and to enjoy every bite of meat full of smoky flavors, no need to overload it with seasonings; instead, rub the bird with salt and pepper but prepare a savory sauce. But don't forget to season the bird from the inside.

Get Two Small Turkeys Instead Of One Large Sized Turkey

Instead of getting a large-sized turkey, get two small turkeys instead. Large birds take more time to cook and dry up easily. Therefore, you must choose a small bird of about 12 to 14 pounds to enjoy juicy, meaty bites at dinner.

How To Smoke The Turkey

So, if you want to know how to smoke a large turkey safely, there is no need to go anywhere. Below, we will tell you how to smoke a whole turkey.

Well, there are different ways to smoke the turkey. For instance, you can smoke it horizontally, but cooking takes a long time. While cooking this way, keep the bird's cavity open to let the smoke and spices get in. Also, it will speed up the cooking process and make the meat soft.

Many juices are collected in the internal cavity when you smoke it horizontally. So, be careful when you take out the bird; otherwise, all of these juices will flow out and can spill on your body.

Also, you can use an aluminum pan with low sides to smoke the bird. The bottom of the turkey will not get any color. Therefore, you must elevate it from the bottom of the pan. You can place the bird directly on the rack but then place a pan underneath.


Turkey can be the game changer at the dining table with all its flavors if you smoke. To make a delicious and tender turkey, you must choose a fresh turkey to smoke rather than a frozen one. If you are not an expert, select small small-sized fresh bird and never stuff the turkey.

While cooking, monitoring the turkey's internal temperature is crucial if you want juicy, tendered meat and perfectly smoked turkey. A savory sauce is perfect with this smoked meat, but you can do experiments with spices to bring variation. Most importantly, do not open the smoker while cooking!

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