How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill

There are some meals that simply have to be done to perfection. Turkey is one of those meals.

Whether you’re having it for Thanksgiving or at Christmas, you want it to look, smell, and taste as good as possible.

Traditionally, turkey is roasted in the oven. However, smoking a turkey on a pellet grill, letting it slowly cook as it absorbs the smokey flavors of the burning wood...that is definitely one way you can up the meal to the next level.

All the authenticity and flavor of the outdoors, served in the midst of a family celebration, sound ideal right? 

So, how do you smoke a turkey on a pellet grill? Just like how there is a certain way, with tricks and tips, to roast turkey in the oven to perfection, there is a specific way to getting turkey perfectly smoked and ready over a pellet grill.

The first thing you should know, perhaps, is that there is no need to go through the effort and hassle of stuffing the turkey beforehand.

That’s right. No need to bother with creating the ideal filling to stuff the turkey with.

When you’re smoking a turkey, you want the air and smoke to flow through the meat as much as possible, and a few herbs and some sauce are all you will need to perfectly accompany the final result.

But it’s best you simply take a look at our step by step guide for the rest! 

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Step by Step Guide on How to Smoke Your Turkey on a Pellet Grill

Smoking a turkey on a pellet grill is no easy task, or rather, it is easy enough but will take up a lot of time.

You should take into account that you will need around 12 hours for the turkey to be fully prepared and ready at its best for serving, so get started with plenty of time!

Although this might make it seem like it will be a lot of hassle, remember that most of that time will be letting the turkey be on the grill, and meanwhile you can be doing other things, especially since the oven will be completely free! 

To smoke your turkey you will need a pellet grill, the turkey (duh!), and some water and salt for the brine. Now let’s get into the step by step guide!

Step 1:

Before you smoke the turkey you should ensure it is prepared.

To do so, prepare the brine by mixing water with salt, and submerge the turkey in it.

You can then leave it in the refrigerator overnight, or for as long as your turkey needs according to its size. 

Step 2:

Once the turkey is prepared, it is time to prepare the pellet grill. You can use different types of wood pellets for the grill.

We recommend you put some thought and consideration into your choice of wood pellets, as different woods can add different blends of flavorings that will impact the final outcome and taste of the turkey. 

If you’re aiming for a sweeter flavor, we recommend you use apple or cherry wood pellets (or a blend of both!). However, if you want a stronger smoky taste for your turkey, we recommend you use hickory wood pellets. 

Step 3:

Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels or an alternative, so that the excess brine is removed. Remember that you don’t need to stuff your turkey when smoking it.

The best results will be achieved if the smoke can flow through the turkey without anything (like stuffing) blocking the way. 

If you want to add some extra flavoring, you could rub some citrus herb seasoning over the turkey, as that will blend extremely well with the smokey flavoring from the wood pellets. 

Step 4:

Place the whole turkey on the grill, and cook it at 180 degreed Fahrenheit.

You should leave it smoking for around two hours. Then you can raise the temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Step 5:

Many recipes for smoking turkey indicate different cooking times.

The truth is, the turkey can take more or less time according to how well it is cooking and its size, so there isn’t an exact amount of time you should cook and smoke it for. 

Instead, you should use a meat thermometer to control and monitor when the inside of the turkey has reached the right temperature to be considered done. 

In the case of smoked turkey, it needs to be cooked until the breast meat reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6:

Remove the turkey from the pellet grill and place it on a counter or chopping board (basically, place it on a flat surface where it is safe and out of reach from hungry pets).

Allow it to rest in foil for a while (around 20 min seems to be the average amount of time for this). This will give the turkey juice to settle and for the flavoring to set in just right. 

Step 7:

As an extra tip, when you serve the turkey you should actually try and avoid carving.

Although that is what is popularly done, it is much better to deconstruct it and then carve each individual piece.

That way you ensure you get to every last piece of meat and nothing goes to waste! (And trust us, with how delicious smoked turkey is, you won’t want to waste a single bit!)

Conclusion

Turkey is traditionally roasted in the oven. However, there is nothing that can beat the authentic smokey flavor of grilling something over wooden pellets.

Smoking a turkey is slightly time-consuming, but it is well worth it. 

To smoke the turkey, it is best not to use any stuffing (which is also a plus, as it saves you from having to prepare the filling!)

You can rub some herbs after having left it in brine overnight, and then you simply place it on the pellet grill. The trick for getting the best possible smoked turkey is to choose the right wood pellets, as different types of woods can add different blends of flavoring. 

Using a meat thermometer you can cook the turkey until it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the turkey is done and smoked, it is ready to serve and enjoy! 

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