How to Cook a Smoked Turkey


Smoking your own turkey may seem like a lot of work. However, if you follow the proper steps, it's quite simple, and the results can be delicious! This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to smoke your own turkey. Enjoy!

Things You'll Need

  • Water Smoker
  • Turkey, 1 medium to large
  • Lemon and herb seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  • Smoking wood, 5 to 6 chunks (e.g., hickory or applewood)
  • Non self-lighting charcoal, 10 to 15 pounds

Preparing the Turkey

  • The night before you plan on smoking your turkey, wash it inside and out and pat it dry with paper towels.

  • After washing, save the neck and giblets for making gravy, or you may discard them.

  • Season the turkey inside and out with the lemon pepper seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic granules. Next, lightly brush the outside of the turkey with olive oil and refrigerate.

Preparing the Smoker

  • Smoke 5 to 6 large chunks of smoking wood in water for as long as possible. Ideally this will be at least a few hours.

  • While the hardwood is soaking place 10 pounds of charcoal in the fire pan of the smoker.

  • Light the charcoal just barely, but ensure that it is lit well enough so that it will continue burning.

  • Place 2 to 3 chunks of wet hardwood on top of the charcoal, place water pan above fire pan and fill with water.

Smoking the Turkey

  • Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and place the bird on the rack above the water-pan and cover the smoker. Allow the turkey to cook for 6 hours.

  • After 6 hours, check the turkey. Stir up the charcoal and add a little more if necessary.

  • Place remaining soaked hardwood chunks on top of charcoal, add more water if necessary, close the smoker and continue cooking for an additional 5 to 6 hours.

  • Check the turkey to ensure that it is done. If a meat thermometer inserted inside of the turkey registers 165 degrees, the turkey is cooked. If you do not have a meat thermometer a rule of thumb is that the turkey is cooked when a leg can be moved easily.

Tips & Warnings

  • In cold weather add 2 to 3 hours to the cooking time.
  • Carve immediately before serving.
  • Aromatic herbs may be added to the water pan to further enhance the turkeys flavor.
  • Never grill or use a smoker indoors.

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