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Turkey can be smoked at a smoker temperature as low as 225 degrees, but it's much quicker, and tastes just as good if smoked at 275-300 degrees, or even hotter. Cooked at a higher temperature, the turkey dries out less and the skin is more crispy.
When smoked at 275 degrees, figure on about 30 minutes per pound. Every time you open up the smoker, add on another 15-30 minutes to the total time. If your smoker will maintain 325 degrees, smoking time will be cut almost in half, at about 15 minutes per pound.
However, these times are just a guideline. The true test of turkey doneness is the trusty meat thermometer.
The best way to know when a turkey is done is to use an accurate meat thermometer. The breast meat must reach 160 degrees, and the thigh 170. After the turkey is removed from the turkey smoker, the internal temperature will continue to rise another 5 to 10 degrees, bringing the turkey temperature up to USDA standards.
The best thermometer to use is a remote thermometer. The probe is left in the meat throughout smoking, and the temperature is displayed on the digital readout, outside of the smoker. You won't have to open the smoker up to check the temperature, which shortens cooking time.
Always let the turkey rest after smoking, for at least 1/2 hour. It's a good idea to position the turkey breast side down, with hopes that liquid will migrate downward as the moisture redistributes within the protein fibers. But if the breast isn't overcooked, it's really not necessary.
Place the smoked turkey in a clean pan or on a platter and cover it loosely with aluminum foil. If you need to hold the turkey for a while before it's time to serve, you can place it in a dry cooler, covering it with a few clean bathtowels or a blanket before closing the cooler lid.
It's best to bone the smoked turkey completely if you plan on freezing leftovers. Place the turkey in a good quality freezer container, or wrap it tightly in foil. It will keep frozen for up to 2 months.
Frozen turkey can be placed directly in a 300 degree oven, and heated for approximately 20 minutes per pound, or until the turkey reaches 145-150 degrees. Don't overheat it, since it's already fully cooked. It just needs to be gently warmed
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