How to Smoke Turkey on a Pellet Grill

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Despite the fact that I possess numerous smokers, I nearly always wind up cooking the turkey on my pellet grill.

Smoking a turkey on a pellet grill is the most convenient technique to get a properly cooked bird with crispy skin and a faint smoky taste.

It’s also a terrific way to clear up space in your kitchen during the hectic holiday season.

Pellet grill smoked turkey

How to Smoke Turkey on a Pellet Grill

The most common criticism I hear about smoked turkey (or any fowl) is rubbery skin.

This occurs when the temperature does not rise enough to crispen and render the fat in the skin.

To prevent this, I usually start low and slow, about 225F, and then gradually increase the temperature to 350F to complete.

This method works well on a pellet grill because you can dial in the temperature and make fast adjustments without having to fire additional fuel.

If this is your first time using a pellet grill, read our article on how to operate a pellet grill in 9 easy steps before returning to smoke a turkey.

You may also like: Whole Smoked Chicken on a Pellet Grill and Smoked Brisket on a Pellet Grill.

Equipment you need

How to Smoke Turkey on a Pellet Grill

  • The pellet grill I used my Pit Boss 1600, but this recipe would also work well on a Traeger or any other pellet grill. Just make sure you have enough room for the turkey and check to see if any warming racks need to be removed.
  • Kitchen scissors I prefer to spatchcock the turkey, so some good shears will make removing the backbone much simpler.
  • 10-12 pound turkey Smaller turkeys have greater taste and cook more evenly.
  • Probe or meat thermometer You don’t want to overcook the turkey, so use a reliable thermometer, such as a Thermapen.
  • Brining vessel You’ll need a container or bucket large enough to accommodate the turkey and two gallons of water, as well as herbs and spices.

What pellets to use for turkey

I used Bear Mountain Cherry wood pellets for this recipe. You can’t go wrong with any of the popular smoking woods, such as pecan, maple, or apple.

Some individuals prefer oak or mesquite, however the latter has a stronger flavor. If you want to learn more about the finest wood for smoking turkey, we have a whole post on it.

How to smoke a turkey on the pellet grill

1. Brine the turkey for 24 hours

Turkey is one of the few meats that I like brining moist. While some believe that wet brining is a waste of resources, I have found that it enhances the final flavor.

Most people only smoke one turkey every year, so you may as well go all out to make it the best it can be.

You may skip this step if you don’t have time or don’t want to be bothered, but I suggest dusting the spatchcocked turkey with kosher salt and letting it lay in the fridge for a few hours before adding the remainder of the rub.

You may use our turkey brine recipe, but the precise components aren’t important. I like to combine salt, sugar, spices, fresh herbs, and citrus.

Allow the turkey to soak in the brine mixture for 24 hours. When you are ready to proceed, take the turkey from the brine and dry it with paper towels.

If you have time, store the turkey in the fridge for a few hours to help dry up the skin. This helps the skin crisp up, but I don’t believe it’s necessary.

2. Spatchcock the turkey

You may omit this step if you want a more traditional-looking turkey, but I think spatchcocking has so many benefits.

You can apply a more equal layer of rub to the whole chicken, it cooks quicker, and more of the surface can absorb smoke.

To spatchcock a turkey:

  1. Place the bird breast side down and look for the backbone.
  2. Cut down both sides of the spine with kitchen shears or a sharp boning knife until the backbone is gone.
  3. Turn the chicken breast side up. Place your hands in the center of the breast and push down firmly to flatten the bird.

You may save the backbone for stock or wonderful gravy.

3. Season the turkey

Begin with a small layer of olive oil to help the rub stick, followed by a liberal, even application of your turkey rub.

I like to use my smoked turkey rub, which blends the herbaceous aspects of a poultry rub with some more traditional barbecue aromas.

Apply the rub all over, elevating the wings and legs to provide a good covering of rub on all surfaces.

3. Fire up the smoker to 225°F

Allow the rub to rest on the turkey while you heat up your pellet smoker.

The initial step of cooking is important about infusing the chicken with smoky flavor while gradually raising the internal temperature.

You could go as high as 250F for this phase, but I found that once you reach beyond 225F on most pellet smokers, the volume of smoke reduces dramatically.

If your pellet grill has a smoke boost option, now is an excellent time to activate it.

4. Crank up the heat to crispen the skin

After your turkey has been smoking for at least an hour, I prefer to raise the temperature on my pellet grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for the last step of cooking.

The grill will produce very little smoke at this temperature, so all we’re attempting to do is make the skin nice and crisp before pulling it off for a little rest.

Basting the skin with melted butter a few times helps it become nice and crispy and generates a nicer color.

When the breast temperature reaches approximately 160F, remove it and cover it loosely with foil. Wrapping too tightly may cause the skin to get mushy after you’ve worked so hard to make it crisp.

After 15 minutes, the breast should be a perfectly safe 165F and ready to cut and serve.


How long does it take to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill?

Smoking your turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F should take 7.5-11 hours. When smoking a 12 pound turkey on a pellet barbecue at 225 degrees Fahrenheit… Smoking your turkey for 6 hours should result in an interior temperature of 165°F.

How long does it take to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill at 225?

2 hours at 225 deg F. I always leave myself an additional 30 minutes just in case. Place on a serving plate.You may expect the turkey to smoke for around 30 minutes per pound at 225 degrees F. For example, a 15-pound turkey will need 7 and 1

How do you smoke a turkey on a pellet grill?

2-4 hours longer. Remove the turkey from the grill and set aside for 30 minutes to rest before carving.2-3 hours. Raise the grill temperature to 350°F and continue cooking until the turkey’s internal temperature reaches 165°F. 3 1Place the turkey pan on the grill grates. Close the cover and smoke for 2 12 minutes.

How long does it take to smoke a 14 pound turkey on a pellet grill?

Place the turkey on the smoker and smoke for 6 hours, or about 30 minutes per pound, until the internal temperature reaches 165*F.

Is it better to roast or smoke a turkey on a pellet grill?

Smoking a turkey on a pellet grill is the most convenient technique to get a properly cooked bird with crispy skin and a faint smoky taste.

Should I wrap my turkey in foil while smoking?

Because roasting racks have narrower edges than roasters, heated air can move more freely around the turkey, resulting in extra-crispy skin. Covering the bird with foil works similarly to a roaster cover in that it collects steam and moisture, preventing the turkey from drying out, while also enabling the skin to crisp up.

Should you smoke a turkey covered or uncovered?

Make every effort to totally hide the exposed body. After seasoning the chicken, pull the skin back into place. Because the skin shrinks as it cooks, I use toothpicks to keep it in place. You don’t want the meat to smoke if it’s left out.

Should I put a pan of water in my smoker for a turkey?

If you’re using a smoker, fill the water pan with 2-3 liters of water, beer, apple juice, or wine. To catch the drippings, place a drip pan with a splash of water on the bottom frying grate.

Is it better to smoke a turkey at 225 or 350?

Low & Slow Time and Temperatures

Some cook at 225 degrees Fahrenheit (usually recommended), which implies 35-40 minutes per pound. Others roast their turkey at temperatures as high as 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which may reduce cooking time.

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