How to Smoke a Whole Turkey on a Pellet Grill

How to Smoke a Whole Turkey

Learn how to smoke a whole turkey like a seasoned outdoor chef on a pellet grill. In this article, we’ll explain some techniques on how to grill a turkey to making your own brine “wet method and dry method” and marinade injections.

Table of Contents

    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    How to Choose a Turkey for Smoking?

    When picking or buying a whole turkey, be sure to select ones that have lesser pounds, not the ones that weigh 15 pounds. Due to the time used when cooking your turkey at a low temperature, you risk eating infected meat on bigger birds. Better to be healthy than sorry and choose a turkey that weighs 15 pounds.

    How to Brine a Turkey?

    Brining means dipping turkey in salted water for several hours to add flavor to the meat. It is regarded as an easy way of adding flavor to turkey and any other poultry birds. The processes are subdivided into:

    A. Dry Brine

    Dry brine is made up of sugar, salt, and other seasonings and herbs. To dry brine your turkey, make sure it is de-iced, and then cover the meat underneath and skin with spices as you would normally season the turkey (use three tablespoons of salt, two tablespoons of sugar, and two tablespoons of ground rosemary on a 15 pounder).

    After applying the brine, put your turkey to rest in the refrigerator for a day or two. This will allow the salt to draw all the moisture into the meat. Then, the spices and ingredient dissolve in the brine’s water, and then that liquid will ooze back into the turkey’s meat. This bringing process makes the meat soft, flavorful, and juicy down to the bone.

    B. Wet Brine

    Wet brining is very simple, and you can buy a kit that comes with a bag and seasonings to brine the turkey in. A wet brine is like a marinade where the turkey is placed in salty water. After some time, the meat draws in the seasonings and liquid.

    To wet brine the turkey:

    1. Start by creating the brine.
    2. Add the mixture and three and a half cups of water to a boil.
    3. Carefully add 1 gallon of cold water and place it into the light bag with the turkey.
    4. Close the bag and refrigerate it for some hours.

    You can replace the water with other liquid to add more flavor. Apple juice, pineapple, chicken stock, lemonade, etc., are all excellent choices. This is the advantage that wet brining has over dry brining because you can fill more flavors into your turkey, and on the other hand, we have dry brining. It is all about a matter of personal taste, and we suggest experimenting on a smaller turkey to see which one you like.

    Choosing the Right Grill for Smoking Turkey

    You can smoke a turkey on different types of grills such as pellet smokers, charcoal grill and gas grills from; your grill needs to be able to circulate smoke and cook your turkey with indirect heat. We recommend using a pellet grill because it is the easiest way to maintain a consistent temperature. If you want to get a pellet grill and you don’t know who makes the best pellet grill on the market, try Z Grills. Z Grills put 30 years of grill manufacturing experience to create its pellet grills. They are good enough for the rigors of a professional barbecue chef while being easy enough to use for grill lovers of all skill levels. Z Grills pellet grills offer the best mix of precision, versatility, flavor, and convenience. 

    How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Turkey?

    If you like crispy turkey, I highly recommended smoking at 275 degrees for 1 ½ hour, Ensure it has to hit at least 175 in the thigh and 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast.  

    How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill

    Ingredients for Smoking a Turkey on a Pellet Grill

    • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
    • 1 stick real butter
    • 1 tbsp Hot Sauce
    • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning

    Instruction for Smoking a Turkey on a Pellet Grill

    1. Melt the butter and add the hot sauce, garlic, Cajun seasoning, and chicken broth. Mix everything with the melted butter and syrup in a bowl and whisk. 
    2. Put some of the mixtures into your Marinade Injector. Let the injection cool before injecting the turkey. 
    3. Insert the needle into the part of the body “breast, thigh, and wings, and then inject the mixture into the turkey’s body.
    4. Next, combine another portion of melted butter and Chicken seasoning and spread it over the turkey’s skin, making sure it gets under the skin as well.
    5. Also, spray the seasonings on the turkey’s skin as this will cause the seasonings to stick and allow the outermost layer to form a mahogany color after smoking due to the seasonings. 
    6. Now that you have done the simple part, you can now start smoking the turkey.  
    7. Get your pellet grill and set it temp between 275-300 degrees. Higher temps make for a better bird. 
    8. Place the turkey on the grill and set your timer to 1 ½ hour. Due to the fact that you have to maintain the temperature, there’s not much to do; just let it cook. Once it is done, the outer skin turns a beautiful mahogany color and is almost crispy. 
    9. Get your thermometer(probe thermometer); with this device, you can easily monitor the turkey while cooking, and you can set the alarm when it hits the right internal temp. 
    10. When the timer goes off, turn the turkey to ensure it is cooking evenly on all sides. Never flip the turkey. Let the back, breast up, the entire cook. Ensure it has to hit at least 175 in the thigh and 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast. Once again – this is when a probe thermometer comes in really handy. When you stick the turkey, the juices should run out clear. There should be no trace of pink-colored liquid or blood. 
    11. At this point, if the outside begins to change color “dark,” lay a piece of foil over it. The foil acts as a cover and will prevent the skin from browning any further. 
    12. Once you read 165 temps in the thickest part of the breast and the juices are running clear out of the thigh (175 temps), the turkey is done.
    13. Allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. 
    14. Now, you are ready to dig in.
    15. Once you try Smoked Turkey, you would want to stop eating oven cooked turkey. This turkey is guaranteed to be the star of your feast, so brush up on your carving skills and Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    What to Serve with Smoked Whole Turkey?

    Recommended reading

    Recommended Products

    Hoosier Hill Farm Real Butter powder, 1 lb
    • Made in a facility that also makes wheat products
    • 1 Pound Jar Butter Powder, packaged in plastic jar and sealed for freshness
    • 72% fat, GMO FREE, A Product of USA
    • Mix ratio 1:1
    • Our butter powder is perfect for Soups, Sauces and Mixes – Replace churned butter, Hoosier Hill Farm brand .. satisfaction is guaranteed
    McCormick Granulated Garlic, 26 oz
    • McCormick Granulated Garlic always starts with fresh, whole garlic cloves
    • Savory and sweet flavor of fresh garlic, but with a milder taster
    • Seasons meat or poultry and adds flavor to vegetables, soups or stews
    • Use as a base for homemade meat rubs and seasoning blends
    • Larger size container perfect for frequent cooking or professional kitchens

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    Join the Conversation

    1. Maxene R Spolidoro says:

      Since two 12 pound turkeys will fit in my smoker, I plan on cooking 2 at the same time, for my 20 guests. How long should I smoke the 2 turkeys?

    © 2022 Z Grills