Smoked Turkey Cheat Sheet – Derrick Riches


Mastering the artwork of smoking a turkey requires consideration to element and a ardour for the craft. By following this smoked turkey cheat sheet, you’re well-equipped to create a mouthwatering smoked turkey that would be the centerpiece of your festive feast. Benefit from the wealthy flavors and aromas that solely a well-smoked turkey can present!

Selecting the Proper Turkey

As Thanksgiving approaches, the anticipation of a superbly cooked turkey turns into the centerpiece of the feast. All of it begins with choosing the proper turkey. Guarantee you could have sufficient house in your smoker by selecting a dimension that accommodates your wants. Take into account the freshness and high quality of the turkey, as contemporary or high-quality pure hen will produce an incredible consequence.

Freshness Issues: Go for a contemporary or correctly thawed turkey. Contemporary turkeys are likely to have higher taste and texture. If frozen, guarantee ample time for thawing, following really helpful tips.

  • Dimension Issues: Select a turkey dimension that matches your smoker. For greatest outcomes, we advocate 12-14 kilos or two 12-14 pound turkeys for bigger teams. A common rule is about 1-1.5 kilos per individual.
  • High quality of the Hen: Take into account investing in a high-quality, pure turkey. These turkeys are sometimes raised with out hormones or antibiotics, offering a extra genuine and flavorful style.
  • Unbrined: If buying a pre-packaged frozen turkey, be certain it isn’t packed in a brine resolution or self-basting.

Time Administration

Plan forward! It may possibly take anyplace from 2-5 days or extra to thaw a turkey safely in your fridge. Take into account your buy factors too. Native butcher, farm, grocery retailer, or on-line will all require totally different thawing and preparation instances.


Finest Woods for Smoking Turkey

On the subject of smoking turkey, select your wooden correctly. Take into account that poultry is a fragile meat and that extra sturdy woods, like hickory or mesquite, would possibly overpower it. The purpose is to have a pleasing, virtually candy, or nutty smoky taste. Use gentle to reasonable smoke-producing woods as follows: 

Best Woods for Smoked Turkey
  • Fruitwoods (Apple, Cherry): Impart a gentle, candy taste that enhances the turkey with out overpowering it.
  • Pecan: Provides a barely candy, nutty taste, enhancing the general style of the smoked turkey.
  • Maple: Imparts a fragile sweetness, including a refined layer of taste to the smoked turkey.


As soon as your turkey is prepared, elevate its taste profile by utilizing a brine, injection marinade, and seasoning mix.

Turkey prep cheat sheet
Smoked turkey cheat sheet-turkey prep
  • Brine it your self: Brining is an important step for moist and flavorful meat. Create a turkey brine resolution product of water, salt, sugar, and fragrant spices. Submerge the turkey within the brine for 18-24 hours, permitting the flavors to penetrate the poultry meat. It’s also possible to apply a dry brine. Making the brine your self will will let you take management of the components. This fashion, you’ll be able to keep away from added nitrates and different preservatives.
  • Injection Marinade: Improve the turkey’s taste by injecting a marinade instantly into the meat. A combination of broth, melted butter, and your favourite spices injected into numerous components of the turkey can elevate the style.
  • Rub: Create a dry rub utilizing a mix of herbs, spices, and salt. Apply the rub generously over the turkey’s floor, underneath the pores and skin, and contained in the cavity, guaranteeing it adheres nicely. This can type a flavorful crust throughout smoking.
  • DO NOT place stuffing inside your Thanksgiving turkey earlier than it hits the smoker. Serve it individually. It is going to dry out and turn out to be too smoky to ingest. As an alternative, place a big peeled onion inside to cavity to assist taste the hen, and launch steam and moisture because it cooks.

Smoking Temperature

Attempt to keep a gradual smoker temperature of 275 levels F. Consistency is essential for reaching completely smoked turkey. Spend money on a dependable meat thermometer to watch the smoker’s temperature all through the cooking course of.

Cooking Time

Cooking instances for complete turkeys can take anyplace from 6-8 hours relying on the dimensions of the turkey (or turkeys), your tools (pellet grill, Large Inexperienced Egg, offset smoker, aluminum foil, and a drip pan), and environmental components just like the climate, altitude, and extra. Guarantee that you’ve got sufficient gas (charcoal, wooden pellets, wooden chips and so on.) to get via an 8-hour prepare dinner. Even when it takes much less time, it’s all the time a good suggestion to be ready. And bear in mind, you’ll be able to all the time end roasting it turkey in your oven.

  • Complete Turkey: Plan for about Half-hour per pound for a complete turkey. It is a common guideline, so monitor the interior temperature for exact doneness.
  • Spatchcocked Turkey: Spatchcocking, or eradicating the spine, reduces cooking time. Estimate round 20 minutes per pound for a spatchcocked turkey. The identical holds true for a bone-in turkey breast.

Why You Ought to Baste a Turkey

Basting poultry

Basting a smoked turkey is essential for 2 causes: enhancing taste and sustaining moisture. Baste the turkey each 1-2 hours with a mix of melted butter, herbs, and garlic. This not solely provides taste but in addition helps keep moisture, leading to a succulent smoked turkey.

Inside Temperature

Some specialists swear by 160 levels, whereas others say that 165-175 levels F is the best way to go. It’s greatest to err on the secure facet. Darkish meat might be fairly temperamental and wishes somewhat extra time to prepare dinner. Be affected person and preserve security in thoughts when cooking a turkey. Nobody desires to expertise a food-borne sickness from Thanksgiving dinner.

ThermoPro TP01A Instant Read Meat Thermometer
  • Thermometer Placement: Insert the thermometer within the thickest a part of the thigh and breast with out touching the bone. This gives an correct illustration of the turkey’s total doneness.
  • Temperature Targets: Goal for an inner temperature of 165 levels F within the breast and 175 levels F for the thigh. It ensures each white and darkish meats are totally cooked.


Relaxation your smoked turkey on a clear reducing board after cooking. Tent with foil. At all times. Not solely will this yield a greater tasting hen, however it would additionally offer you time to get the gravy made and your sides collectively. Let the turkey relaxation for a minimum of 20-Half-hour to permit the juices to redistribute. You’ll have a young, moist hen that’s simpler to carve and tastes superb.

Carving and Serving

Thanksgiving is all in regards to the presentation. Some of us like to position their smoked turkey on a platter garnished. Others prefer to carve the hen first, then plate it. The selection is solely yours, however first, do you know there’s a proper technique to carve a turkey?

  • Carving Strategies: Carve the turkey by eradicating the thigh and leg portion from one facet, then separate this part into two items. Subsequent, take away the wing and breast from the identical half of the turkey. Slice the breast and thigh items. Repeat the method on the opposite facet. 
  • Accompaniments: Serve the smoked turkey together with your favorite sides, comparable to sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

Storing Leftover Turkey

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be full with out leftovers, and correct dealing with is essential. Refrigerate any remaining turkey inside two hours of cooking to stop bacterial progress. 

  • Well timed Refrigeration: Refrigerate leftover turkey inside two hours of cooking to stop the expansion of dangerous micro organism.
  • Storage Choices: Retailer leftover smoked turkey in a big hermetic container within the fridge for 3-4 days, or freeze in vacuum-seal baggage for as much as 3 months.

We hope you’ve discovered this smoked turkey cheat sheet helpful. Bookmark this web page, and be happy to go away us a remark and tell us the way it turned out!


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