Tasty Turkey Rub For a Great Smoked Turkey

This is the flavorful turkey rub recipe I used for my Thanksgiving bird of 2005. The secret of the success of any poultry rub is to get it under the skin. That way it will be absorbed into the flesh more easily than if it were just rubbed onto the outside of the turkey.

Whole Turkey Seasoned With a Rich Flavorful Turkey Rub Recipe

This Turkey Rub Recipe Will Make Your Bird Blush With Flavor!

A portion of this tasty rub is used to season the inner surfaces of the turkey's body cavity. The remaining dry mixture is mixed with the oil to make the wet rub.

Smoked Turkey Dry Rub Ingredients

Mixing Rub Ingredients For Combination Wet and Dry Turkey Rub
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon canning salt
  • 2 Teaspoons white pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon powdered sage

Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Reserve one tablespoon of the dry rub, using it to season inside the body cavity of the turkey. Combine the remaining rub with the quarter-cup of vegetable oil.

For improved taste and texture, brining turkeys before smoking is worth the added effort. It adds an extra day or two to the experience but the overall quality of the smoked turkey is improved quite a bit.

Gettin' Under My Skin!

Seasoning The Whole Turkey For The Smoker

Carefully separate the skin from the breast of the turkey, being careful that it doesn't tear. Also separate some of the skin from the legs and thighs. You may need to use a small paring knife to separate the skin along the breastbone.

Raw Turkey, Breast Meat Seasoning With Wet Rub

After seasoning the cavity of the turkey with a tablespoon of the dry rub, season the breast, legs and thighs with part of the oil and rub paste. After the flesh is seasoned, pull the skin back into place.

Seasoned Whole Turkey Ready To Go Into Smoker
Use the remaining wet rub to season the outer surface of the turkey. If you like, insert a couple halves of onion into the body cavity for more flavor.

NOTE: (Things have changed since I smoked that turkey back in 2005. It's no longer recommended to stuff the turkey's body cavity when smoking.  Stuffing slows down the cooking process and could leave your turkey partially under cooked and unsafe.)

Smoke That Turkey To Its Succulent Best!

Whole Smoked Turkey, Cooked To an Appetizing Brown Color

Now that the turkey is seasoned with the turkey rub mixture, it's time for the smoker. Keep the smoker temperature in the 250-275 degree range. Estimated smoking time is 30-45 minutes per pound, depending on smoker type, size of turkey and number of times the smoker is opened to check internal temperature or to baste.

Ten to twelve pound turkeys are the ideal size for the smoker. Turkeys much larger that that won't cook as well, especially at lower smoker temperatures.

When the temperature of the thighs and breast reaches 165 degrees, the turkey has reached its safe eating temperature.  In my opinion, that temperature is perfect for the breast, but legs and thighs are tastier when cooked up to 175-180 degrees.

When done, remove it from the smoker and allow the turkey to rest, covered loosely with foil, for 20 minutes before serving.

For more turkey smoking information, see my Smoked Turkey Tutorial. You will find all the information you need to brine, season, and smoke a great tasting turkey!

Bowl of Spices and Herbs, Mixed With Oil To Make a Wet Rub for Smoked Turkey