How long does it take to smoke a Turkey

how long does it take to smoke a turkey


How long does it take to smoke a turkey

Detailed Smoking Times and Temperatures

The favorite part of the year is definitely Thanksgiving. Yes, you read that correctly. Why? As a result, it is all about turkey

The favorite part of the year is definitely Thanksgiving. Yes, you read that correctly. Why? As a result, it is all about turkey.

But how will you prepare it?

You may roast it the old-fashioned way. Alternatively, you might go the deep-fried route. Instead of using your oven for deep-fried food, why not try smoking your food?

Should You Smoke Turkey?

Smoking a turkey is as simple as preparing any other type of poultry or red meat, but before we get into the specifics, let’s have a look at why.

In my opinion, there are few simpler things than smoking meat. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and eat some wonderful meals. That’s just too cool for words.

Maybe you’ve been cooking with smoker grills for a long time and are an expert. You’re in for a real treat if this describes you. You may have never heard of any of these tips and methods before.

There is no need to worry if you have never smoked meat before. We’re not here to pass judgment.

If you’re new to smoking, turkey is a fantastic place to start. Because of this, even the most experienced backyard pitmasters have trouble estimating how long it takes to smoke a turkey in the oven.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Turkey?

Smoking most meats at a constant temperature of 225°F takes an average of one to one and a half hours per pound. This applies to smoking turkey as well.

The time it takes to smoke a turkey depends on a variety of factors. There are many factors to consider, including the bird’s weight and the weather. Depending on the sort of meat you’re using, the amount of time it takes to smoke will vary.

It will take longer to smoke red meat like brisket and hog since the temperature needs to be maintained at 225°F throughout the cooking process. Ideally, you’d like this to go on for quite some time. Allowing the fat to penetrate the meat for a lengthy period of time and at a low temperature is the key. The fat content of lean meats is low.

A greater cooking temperature and a shorter cooking time are both possible for cooking poultry, like your Thanksgiving turkey. This will save you some time in the kitchen.

When it comes to smoking turkey, you may cut your cooking time in half. Allow 30-40 minutes per pound of weight at a temperature of 240°F or above. Even if you reach 275°, it’s safe, but we don’t recommend going any higher.

Even so, having a food thermometer on hand is always a smart idea. 2 to 3 hours into your cooking period, take a look at the temperature of your turkey. When it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be ready to serve.

how long does it take to smoke a turkey
how long does it take to smoke a turkey

Smoked Turkey Cooking Time: When Using a Smoker

Whole Turkey

Set the temperature of the smoker to 240°F so that you can smoke an entire turkey inside of it. A pound should be cooked for 30 to 40 minutes. A 12-pound turkey will take longer to cook than an 8-pound turkey.

Whole Turkey Smoking Times

  • Smoker Temperature: 240 °F
  • Smoking Time: 4-6 Hours
  • Finished Internal Temperature: 165°F

Turkey Breast

Only set the smoker to 240°F when you want to smoke a turkey breast. It’s best to cook it for 30 to 40 minutes per pound. In general, a turkey breast weighs about 6 pounds, so it will take about 3 hours to cook. Enjoy your smoked turkey breast by following the instructions below:

Turkey Breast Smoking Times

  • Smoker Temperature: 240 °F
  • Smoking Time: 3-4 Hours
  • Finished Internal Temperature: 165°F

Turkey Legs

Set the smoker to 225°F and cook the turkey legs for about four hours total.

Turkey Leg Smoking Times

  • Smoker Temperature: 225°F
  • Smoking Time: 4 Hours
  • Finished Internal Temperature: 165°F

Turkey Wings

For the wings part of the turkey, set the smoker at 225°F and cook them for about 1.5-2 hours in total.

Turkey Wings Smoking Times

  • Smoker Temperature: 225°F
  • Smoking Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Finished Internal Temperature: 165°F

Smoked Turkey Cooking Time: When Using a Grill

Whole Turkey

Set the grill to medium-high heat (approximately 325°F) and arrange it so that indirect heat will be used to cook the entire turkey. For a typical turkey, allow three hours of cooking time, or 15 minutes per pound.

Whole Turkey Grilling Times

  • Grill Temperature: 325°F
  • Smoking Time: 4 Hours
  • Finished Internal Temperature: 165°F

Turkey Breast

Preheating the grill to high heat (or roughly 350°F) and setting it up for indirect heat are the best practices for grilling turkey breast. Cook it for about an hour and a half.

Turkey Breast Grilling Times

  • Grill Temperature: 355°F
  • Smoking Time: 1-2 Hours
  • Finished Internal Temperature: 165°F

Turkey Leg

Make sure to preheat the grill to medium-high heat (about 325°F) before using it for indirect cooking. Roast for 45-60 minutes in indirect heat after cooking for only 3-4 minutes on each side on direct heat.

Turkey Legs Grilling Times

  • Grill Temperature: 325°F
  • Smoking Time: 45-60 Minutes
  • Finished Internal Temperature: 165°F

Turkey Wings

It takes about 30-40 minutes to roast the turkey wings on a grill preheated to medium high heat (about 325°F).

Turkey Wings Grilling Times

  • Grill Temperature: 325°F
  • Smoking Time: 30-40 Minutes
  • Finished Internal Temperature: 165°F


How to Smoke a Turkey in Cold Weather/Country?

The weather on Thanksgiving might be a bit of a mystery, depending on where you live. You should be prepared for a cold snap because it’s the end of November. A sudden November freeze can put a damper on your turkey-smoking preparations.

A water smoker and a chilly forecast don’t mix well. The colder the air outside the grill, the more difficult it will be to manage the temperature inside the smoker. Having said that, there are various smoking tactics and recommendations that might help you reach perfect heat.

Take steps to insulate your smoker before it gets too hot. There are several ways to do this:

  • A cardboard barrier can be used to protect your smoker.
  • Install a welding blanket in the cooking chamber.
  • Install flexible insulation in a plywood border.

Here, the focus is on protecting your grill from the weather. Your foes are the wind and the cold. Anything you can do to keep nature’s wrath from invading your kitchen will do.

During cold days, you’ll require a lot more energy. You should double the number of coals you normally use.

As long as you’re using a gas or electric-powered smoker, you can relax a little more. The temperature of the outside air will not have an effect on a gas grill like it does on a charcoal grill.

Make sure not to bring your grill indoors. That’s something we can’t overstate.

How to Speed Up the Cooking Time?

You can speed up the cooking of the turkey if you’re in a rush and don’t have the whole day to devote to it.

Your turkey will cook more quickly if you cut it in half. Using the technique of “spatchcock,” you cut the turkey’s backbone out, resulting in a much shorter cooking time.

Below you’ll find more information on this ground-breaking approach.

How to Smoke a Spatchcocked Turkey

The spatchcock method is a secret to a superb smoked turkey recipe. This is a quick and easy culinary prep approach. It’ll also make you feel badass.

Did we mention it cuts down on turkey smoking time? You don’t want to keep your guests waiting. Any time spent entertaining rather than cooking is time well spent.

The underbelly of the turkey cooks evenly because of the spatchcocking technique. As it lies lower on the grill grates, it exposes more of its surface area.

The spatchcock cooking approach is straightforward. You’ll need the following:

  • Kitchen scissors
  • Hands
  • Brute force

The first step is to remove the turkey’s backbone using a pair of kitchen scissors. Take a cutting edge and run it along the spine, starting at the neck. Start at the tail and work your way up the bird.

This part can be a bit of a challenge. Avoid leaving any bone fragments by taking your time while cutting. Look for any stray hairs in the breast cavity and remove them.

The turkey should now be breast-side up after the spine has been removed. Place your hands on the breast’s center. Crack the breastplate by pressing strongly with your body weight.

Enjoy your turkey now!

How Much Smoked Turkey per Person?

Everybody gets 1 1/2 pounds of turkey as a usual rule. I’m estimating that your turkey will be around 15 pounds, which means that it can comfortably feed 10-12 people.

You should keep in mind that you will be cooking a whole turkey, including the bones, skin, and wing tips, all of which will be thrown out.

There is more than enough meat for everyone to enjoy, and there will be enough left over for sandwiches the next day. More than 12 people will require a larger than 15-pound turkey, but you can get by with two or three medium-sized turkeys if you shop accordingly.

What Equipment and Wood Type to Use?

You must first choose the sort of smoker you’ll use before deciding on the type of wood you’ll use to make this smoked turkey recipe. Obviously, if you’re going to use a smoker, you’ll have more control over the process, which will make the job much easier. In the absence of a smoker, an outside grill with low indirect heat can be used.

Using a smoker or grill with an adjustable thermostat is the best option for cooking at the ideal temperature of 225-250°F. What kind of wood is ideal for roasting a turkey with now? The taste of wood is a matter of personal preference, although different types of wood go well with specific types of meat.

For roasting turkeys, many chefs suggest using apple or alder wood. This combination of light but flavorful smoke and turkey is a winning combination. Hickory and mesquite would be excellent second choices, in my opinion. Chicken, pork, beef, and even fish can all be cooked with different types of wood.

Should You Brine Your Turkey for Smoking?

Brining a turkey at least 24 hours ahead of time is standard turkey prep 101. You’re in luck this year because you’re smoking your turkey. There will be no brining.

Buckle up, because you’re about to take a piece of the moistest white meat you’ve ever dug your teeth into. You can count on us. One of the best aspects of utilizing a smoker is how the smoke and moisture help flavor the meat. It is no longer necessary to brine the meat ahead of time.

Choosing the correct type of smoke wood is an important stage in this process. You want it to go well with the turkey. It should also be complementary to the rest of your meal.

Fruit woods have proven to be extremely effective with poultry. Applewood goes really well with it. It has a subtle flavor that isn’t overbearing and allows the turkey flavor to shine.

Take about 3-4 bits of wood and add them early in the cooking process. This is when the majority of the smoke flavor is absorbed. If you must brine, a dry brine is preferable. Season the turkey with salt and set it aside overnight.

What Spices work Best for Smoked Turkey Recipes?

The simple salt and pepper mix is preferred by the majority of people. While the simple method is always best, if you like paprika, try a combination of salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and maybe some paprika.

Depending on your preferences, these spices will enhance the smoky flavor of your turkey and make it more delightful to eat.

Quick Tips for Making Smoked Turkey

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when preparing this smoked turkey recipe at home:

Tip #1

The most important thing to remember when cooking is to keep the temperature at the recommended level during the entire session.

Tip #2

Open the smoker cover only when necessary – Doing so will let the heat to leave and will make it difficult to maintain a consistent temperature while also allowing sufficient smoke to enter.

Tip #3

To prevent skin from burning and meat from tasting terrible, try smoking it over indirect heat, especially if you’re using a grill. Placing the meat over direct heat will cause it to burn before it has finished cooking on the inside.

Tip #4

It’s a good idea to remove the turkey 5 to 10 degrees lower than your target temperature because of temperature carryover. Even after the meat has been removed from the fire, it will continue to cook for a few minutes.

Tip #5

Let the meat sit for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the juices to settle. The meat will be more dry and less juicy if you miss the resting step.

Tip #6

Don’t soak your wood chips before cooking; doing so will cause them to take longer to burn and may result in unnecessary smoke, so don’t do it at all.

How to Use Leftover Smoked Turkey?

Because this smoked turkey dish will take several hours of your time, many people opt to cook a large turkey and have some leftovers to use later. You’ll be surprised at how many dishes there are out there that make use of any leftovers, including turkey carcass or neck, which many people may not want to eat at all.

If you know how to cook them correctly, you can make some delicious turkey stock with the leftovers. Other recipes that you may use them in include turkey soup, ramen, mashed potatoes, and smoky gravy. Making sandwiches or crunchy panini with leftover turkey meat is perhaps the most popular recipe. Simply place the leftover meat on a toasted bun, top with pickled red onions and cranberry sauce, and you’re ready to go.

Other dishes to try include smoked turkey soup, breakfast hash, and chili.

How to Reheat Leftover Smoked Turkey?

As stated previously, leftover turkey flesh can be used in a variety of ways. But how to properly reheat it for recipes?

To avoid drying out the turkey meat after reheating, simply wrap it in aluminum foil and warm it at 275°F for 35-45 minutes. To ensure that the meat is fully reheated, use a thermometer to ensure it reaches 130°F. Reheat meat in aluminum foil in small batches for optimal results.

If you like crispy skin, finish it in a hot greased skillet with the skin side down.

Final Thoughts

So, how long should you smoke a turkey? Just long enough to get it up to the optimum cooking temperature. That equates to 30-40 minutes per pound and a completed internal temperature of 165°F. With a 12 pound turkey, about 6 hours.

You can also take your turkey out of the smoker when its internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Allow it to rest for around 20 minutes after you’ve enjoyed the aroma. Don’t worry, it will continue to cook while it sits.

Wait until it reaches 165° before carving. When it happens, take out your sharpest knife and begin to work.