Smoked Turkey Recipe | How to Smoke a Turkey on Pellet Grill

How to Smoke a Turkey on Pellet grill : A smoked turkey can be the best thing you can have on your thanksgiving occasion.

Smoked Turkey Recipe _ How to Smoke a Turkey on Pellet grill

If you are new to grilling and haven’t tried smoking a turkey on a pellet grill, this is the best time to try it now. As every pellet grill has the same rule for grilling, smoking a turkey will not be different except for a little bit of extra care which is required to smoke a turkey on pellet grills. 

All you need to do is to achieve a tender turkey cooked on a pellet grill with low temperature, indirect heat, and smoked flavor. The choice of marinade totally depends on your mood as either you want to have a hot spicy flavor or wanna go with light to mild seasoning.

Knowing the real technique is the art to master. That’s why we are here to bring you the best practices to follow. Read all the steps briefly and thoroughly to have exact information that might help you to smoke your favorite bird.

How to Smoke a turkey?

Smoking a turkey is possible on any kind of grill. Either you are using a gas grill, or charcoal grill, smoking does not affect you as long as you are maintaining a consistent temperature, indirect heat, and the proper time. But smoking on a pellet grill gives you a perfect smoked flavor because of the precision and accuracy of the temperature.

You can follow all the instructions written below to plan a barbeque date for your favorite smoked turkey.

Ingredients Required to Smoke Turkey

Keep all the ingredients handy to make the smoking of turkey successful.


A frozen turkey might not be a good choice for smoking. Keep the turkey out of the refrigerator to defrost it or use a fresh one for premium taste.

Drip pan

Any drippings may ruin your grill so keep a drip pan handy to collect any liquids from the juicy turkey.

Wood pellets

If you run out of the pellets, grilling may interrupt, shutting down the grill. So make sure to have extra wood pallets accessible. While starting cooking you must be sure of having plenty of pellets. One of the best things about it is you can adjust the temperature of your requirement.

Some wood pellet flavors used are apple, pecan, oak, and hickory. Apple has a sweet flavor. Pecan has a nutty flavor, oak has a medium smoky flavor and hickory is mellow smoky.


Before you start smoking the turkey, marination is the most important part. Decide a flavor and keep your seasoning handy. Different seasonings are used to create a special aroma. Red pepper, black pepper, thyme, mint, cumin, cinnamon, and bay are used. Seasoning adds flavor to smoked turkey making it more delicious.

Probe meat thermometer

Most of the pellet grills have their own meat probes to know the exact situation of the meat. A meat probe is the crucial part of turkey smoking.


Brining adds more flavor to Turkey. You should check whether your turkey is pre-brined or you have to do this. Pre-brined turkey is also available in the market. For brining you have to take half a cup of salt and a half cup of water in a gallon of water.

Cover the top of the pot with a lid or either use a brine bag to submerge the turkey. Now leave it in brine for almost 12 to 14 hours. This mixture will infuse salt flavor to meat. If your turkey is pre-brined then it is ready to put on the grill. Let start cooking turkey.

Turkey marinade injection

Turkey marinade injections are used to save the time. If you really want to save time you can use this approach but it doesn’t add a rich flavor to your turkey. It is always recommended to slow absorption of seasoning to get tender juicy and flavorful meat.

Temperature to Smoke Turkey

The main goal of smoking a turkey on a pellet grill is to maintain low indirect heat and consistent temperature. As you are smoking a turkey on a pellet grill so preheat the smoker at 225 F.

On the other hand, if you use a gas grill, you will have to turn on half of the burners at low flame and half burners will be off to maintain the grill’s temperature at 225F.

Read More: Why do Pellet Grill Explode

Cooking a Turkey on Pellet Grill

Before taking the start let’s confirm the size of the turkey whether it is enough to satisfy taste buds. A maximum of 15 pounds of turkey will be enough to serve. A grilled turkey is very delicious food with a rich smoked smell.

Firstly you have to defrost the turkey obviously it will be in the fridge. Defrosting usually needs 3 to 4 days.

After defrosting remove the giblets and neck of the turkey. Some served turkey with giblets but better to use it without them or either save them for stock.

Turkey has usually black and white meat combination and the ideal temperature for both meat is different. After you have brined the turkey the turkey should be rinsed with cold water. After rinsing dry its skin and seasonings but don’t put salt as the brined solution has already infused salt in it.

Read More: Best Pillet Grill for Searing

Preheat the pellet

Firstly you have to preheat the pellet grill at 225 F .for at least 15 minutes. After adding the seasoning, apply canola oil on all sides of the meat. 

Now place the breast side directly on the grill grate but avoid direct heat pellet. Now grill the turkey for almost 2 to 3 hrs. Increase in temperature up to 300 F.Cook the turkey for another 3 to 4 hours until the temperature of breast meat rises up to 165 to 170F.

Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature in the breast and thigh parts. Smoke your turkey for almost 6 hours. When the temperature reaches 125F, spray apple cider and apple juice mixture after every 30 minutes. This will help to retain moisture, make it more tender and juicy, and smoke even better.

Slow smoke infuses rich flavor to turkey and it’s delicious to serve on Thanksgiving or Christmas ceremony. Rest the turkey for 15 to 30 minutes after you remove it from the pellet and serve it later. You can serve it with apple pie and sweet potatoes to  make it more classy and elegant

Read More: How to Use Pillet Grill

Key points that should be Kept while Cooking

  • You should preheat the oven at 225 F.
  • You can run a grill at 30 minutes per pound. For example, your turkey is almost 15 pounds the required time for cooking will be approximately 7 to 8 hours.
  • Keep monitoring the temperature of your grill frequently.
  • When the temperature reaches 125 f u must apply apple juice and apple cider mixture.
  • You should keep in mind whether your turkey is pre-brined or you have to brine it.
  • Use canola oil to spray on both sides of Turkey’s skin.

How much turkey a person consumes?

Usually, a normal turkey weighs 15 pounds when we want to smoke it in a pellet grill. On an average of 1 ½ pound per person, you can feed nearly 10-12 persons from a turkey.

A whole turkey also includes giblets, wings, tips, and other parts that come in leftover later. A 15-pound turkey is sufficient for 10-12 persons. If you want to feed more people, smoke more turkeys instead of going for turkeys bigger than 15 pounds.

Method of catching drippings from smoked turkey

A drip pan is used to catch the drippings from the smoked turkey. For this purpose, a drip pan or aluminum pan is filled in water and we keep it in the grill. It not only catches the drippings from smoked turkey but it also keeps the turkey moist.

The method is way too simple. Just fill the pan with water and let the turkey smoke. The water of the pan may get dry because of evaporation so be ready to refill it.

Once your smoked turkey is ready. All the drippings in the pan will be the best gravy with smoked turkey.

Recipe to Smoke turkey on pellet grill

Smoking the turkey is the real game in smoking as turkey is a big bird. Nobody wants to miss it on thanksgiving occasion so here we bring the simplest recipe you can follow:

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Setting time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 30 minutes

Turkey weight: 15 pounds

Serving: 10-12 persons


  1. One 15 pounds Turkey
  2. 3-4 tbs canola oil, olive oil, or melted butter
  3. 3-4 tbs sweet rub
  4. 4 cups water ( to fill the dripping pan)


  1. The first and foremost part of smoking the turkey is to preheat the grill, whatever type it is. Preheat it at 225F if it is a pellet smoker. While using a charcoal or gas grill, follow the instructions mentioned above to preheat the cooking set.
  2. Take the turkey out of your refrigerator. Make sure your turkey is defrosted. If it is pre-brined, rinse it with cold water and pat it with a kitchen towel to get it dried. Tie the legs, remove the giblets for another use, and tuck the wingtips.
  3. Although pre-brined turkeys are the easiest way to save time, but they may end up with high sals, so use your own brine to get delicious smoked turkey.
  4. Grease the whole turkey with canola oil or olive oil or melted butter and apply the sweet rub on all the sides of the turkey. Make sure no side is left unseasoned.
  5. Place the turkey on the grate of the preheat pellet grill. Usually, 30 minutes per pound is the total cooking time. In the case of 15 pounds turkey, the total cooking time will be approximately 7 hours. 
  6. Measure the internal temperature of the turkey by using an instant thermometer. In the case of using a pellet smoker, the temperature is measured with a meat probe. Measure it from all sides, when all the sides show equal or above 165F, remove the turkey from the pellet grill for serving.
  7. Cut the turkey into slices with the gravy collected as drippings, or any other sauce you love.
  8. In case your turkey is done before the guests arrive, wrap it with aluminum foil followed by towels for complete insulation of heat. This will keep the turkey tender, moist and fresh.


How much time is required for cooking turkey?

It usually takes 30 minutes per pound, so if you have a 15-pound turkey the grill time will be almost 7 hours.

How can I tell my turkey is cooking?

An ovenproof thermometer is used. The best way to check whether the turkey is cooking or not is to use an instant heat thermometer or oven-safe thermometer.

Can I grill turkey in summer?

Cold air temperature usually increases cooking is better to grill turkey when you have a moderate temperature, anyways it’s a time taking procedure.

Should I brine a turkey?

Yes, brining adds more flavor and makes turkey more delicious, tender, and juicy.

What temperature do you smoke a turkey on a pellet grill?

In a preheated pellet grill, a turkey is smoked between 250F to 275 F. When the internal temperature of the breast and thighs reaches 165F, the turkey gets ready. The whole process takes almost 7 to 8 hours.

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