How to Smoke a Whole Turkey on a Pellet Grill

how to smoke a turkey 1 1

A smoked turkey with a beer brine is an incredible delicacy to add to your monthly menu, and preparing it is easier than you would ever imagine. You don’t need to be an expert chef to make this amazing meal and impress the people at your table. All you need is the right ingredients, a little time, and your favorite Z Grills model!

Table of Contents

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    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 Long Does It Take to Smoke a Turkey?

    If you like crispy turkey, I highly recommended smoking at 350 degrees for 3 hours, Ensure your turkey reaches 165F.

    Preparing the Turkey for the Smoker

    Before you can jump right into smoking your beer brined smoked turkey, you must prepare your turkey for cooking with these simple steps.


    1. Bring one quart of water to a boil.
    2. Once the water boils, add the contents of the brine packet–then return the liquid to a boil, and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
    3. Remove the brine from the heat source and add 3 quarts of coldwater with two beers of your choice. We are using Bud Lime, but a Honey Ale will work well too.
    4. Place the brine in the fridge until it is cooled down to 40 degrees.
    5. Remove the gizzard pack and neck from the cavity of the turkey, then place the turkey in the brining bag, breast side down.
    6. Pour the brine into the bag until the turkey is fully submerged, taking care not to spill.
    7. Seal the bag, and allow the turkey to brine for 12 to 18 hours–or up to 24 hours if needed–depending on the size of your turkey.
    8. Remove the turkey from the brine, and rinse it with cold water.
    brinning the turkey


    1. Set the turkey on a roasting rack.
    2. Carefully pat the turkey dry with a paper towel.
    drying the turkey 1


    1. Place the turkey on a roasting pan on a roasting rack, and add 1 cup of a white wine of your choice.
    2. Use an olive oil binder on the turkey, then season it with Cock-A-Doodle Brew Rub.
    3. Add one cup of chicken stock to the pan.
    4. Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes in the blend before roasting.
    seasoning the turkey 1

    How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill: Step-by-Step Instructions

    You can create the perfect smoked turkey with beer brine using these easy cooking steps!

    Preheat the Z Grills to 350F

    While your turkey is resting in the roasting pan, preheat your Z Grills model to 350F. Allow the grill to get up to temperature before proceeding to ensure even and consistent cooking.

    Preheat the Z Grills Smoker to 350°F

    Smoke the Turkey for 3 Hours

    When your Z Grills model reaches the appropriate temperature, it is time to smoke the turkey. Place the turkey on the rack in the smoker facing breast side down. Allow the turkey to smoke for 1.5 hours, or until the turkey reaches 125F, then rotate the pan to ensure even cooking and juicy skin. This is necessary and recommended for most appliances, but uneven cooking is less of a concern for Z Grills pellet grills due to the fan-forced convection cooking, which ensures even cooking. Allow the turkey to cook for another 1.5 hours.

    Smoke the Turkey for 3 Hours 1 1

    Check the Turkey’s Internal Temperature

    After the initial 3-hour cook time, you will want to get a reading on the temperature of the turkey. Using a meat probe, test the temperature of the meat. Take care to check the thickest part of the breast to receive an accurate reading. When the temperature reaches 165F, the turkey is finished cooking.

    Check the Turkey’s Internal Temperature

    Rest, Slice, and Serve

    Once your turkey reaches 165F and has that perfectly crisped exterior, you can remove the turkey from your Z Grills model. Place it out to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes. You will be able to smell the incredible aroma of the turkey and see the flavor on the surface of it. After 20 minutes, carve the turkey, and serve it up!

    slicing the turkey

    For this recipe, we recommend using the Z Grills 11002B, which has plenty of space and offers perfectly even cooking every time.

    Chef Tommy’s Pro Tips for Smoked Turkey

    Chef Tommy is the resident Z Grills culinary arts expert, and he recommends following these tips to ensure the perfect beer brined smoked turkey!

    What Temperature Should Turkey Be?

    When your turkey is finished cooking, it should be 165F internally at the thickest point. Be sure to check the thickest point to avoid coming into contact with undercooked meat. At this temperature, the turkey will be delicious, juicy, and easy to slice!

    The Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Turkey

    When you are smoking a turkey, the flavor can often come down to choosing the right wood pellets to impart that final flavor. We recommend using the Z Grills Cherry Wood Pellets, which offer a subtly fruity wood-fired flavor that people just can’t see to get enough of!

    Should You Cover Your Turkey Once It’s Cooked?

    Many people cover their turkey after cooking to protect it, but this is not the best approach. Covering your turkey will lead it to overcook, making the skin rubbery. Remove it from the tray and let it remain uncovered at room temperature.

    Best Side Dishes for Smoked Turkey?

    You have created this delicious beer brined smoke turkey, and you need the right dishes to serve it on your table. This flavor pairs beautifully with a poultry partner, like our smoked buffalo chicken dip. You can also bring more nutrients and flavor to your table with our smoked sweet potatoes. To bring the whole meal together, close out your dish with smoked cheesecake and burnt sugar sauce as a sweet balance to all that savory flavor! 

    More Smoked Turkey Recipes

    If you like this smoked beer brine turkey, check out our delicious smoked turkey recipes, they’re the most important parts of your Thanksgiving menu. Lots more holiday recipes for you with our Z Grills Thanksgiving guide!

    Smoked Beer Brined Turkey

    Servings 8
    Prep Time 45 minutes
    Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
    Resting Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes


    • Z Grills 11002B Pellet Grill with Wi-Fi
    • Z Grills Cherry Wood Pellets
    • Brining Bag
    • Paper Towel


    • 12-18 lb  turkey

    For brine

    • Honey Ale
    • 3 quarts of cold water
    • 2 beers
    • Turkey brine mix

    For seasoning

    • 1 cup of white wine
    • Olive oil binder
    • Cock-A-Doodle Brew Rub


    • Bring the quart of water to a boil.
    • Once the water begins to boil, add the contents of the brine packet, then return the liquid to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes.
    • Remove the content from the heat, and add 3 quarts of cold water, along with two beers of your choice. For this recipe, we use Bud Lime, but a Honey Ale will work well too!
    • Place everything in the fridge until it has cooled down to 40 degrees.
    • Remove the gizzard pack and neck from the cavity of the turkey. Follow this up by placing the turkey in the brining bag–breast side down.
    • Pour the brine into the bag with the turkey until the turkey is fully submerged. Take care not to spill the brine.
    • Seal the bag and place it in the fridge for 12 to 18 hours. Depending on the size of the bird, you may need to brine it for up to 24 hours.
    • Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it with cold water.
    • Set the turkey on a roasting rack and pat it dry with a paper towel.
    • Place the turkey in a proper roasting pan and set it on the roasting rack, then add 1 cup of white wine and 1 cup of chicken stock to it.
    • Use an olive binder on the bird and add your seasoning.
    • Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes before roasting.
    • Preheat your Z Grills to 350F while the turkey rests.
    • Place the turkey directly onto the grill grates, then close the lid and cook for 3 to 4 hours, taking care to rotate the bird halfway through.
    • When the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165F, it is done. Avoid foil covering the bird.
    • Remove the turkey, allow it to rest for 20 minutes, and enjoy!


    Cost: 32
    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: Smoked, Thanksgiving, Turkey

    About The Author

    Picture of Z Grills

    Z Grills

    Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made, trust us.

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    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?

    2. Stanley Snead says:

      Can I smoke 2 turkeys at a time on my z-grill? There’s plenty of room.

      1. z grills Author says:

        Yes,If you want, you can do it.

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