How To Smoke A Turkey On A Pellet Grill

how to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill

Smoked turkeys are incredibly juicy, tender, and have a distinct smoky flavor. Smoking a turkey on a pellet grill is undoubtedly the favorite way to prepare it for Thanksgiving. If you got a pellet grill and want to cook a pellet smoked turkey, you’ve come to the right place. This article will show you how to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill like a professional chef. We’ll also explain techniques to make your own brine “wet method and dry method” and marinade injections.

In addition, the post below has lots of valuable information to help you achieve the perfect smoked turkey every time. Please read through the entire post before attempting to smoke your turkey for the first time. Complying with all the recommendations below will ensure you are successful every time.

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Smoking Turkey On Pellet Grill

A pellet smoker is the best tool for smoking turkeys. It’s the easiest way to maintain consistent temperatures and cook a turkey with indirect heat. Use a pellet smoker if you don’t have a lot of experience or time to learn how to use other types of grills. However, you can also smoke a turkey on a charcoal grill or a natural gas bbq grill that can handle indirect heat. Make sure your grill can circulate smoke and that it is capable of cooking the turkey with indirect heat.

If you want to get a pellet grill and you don’t know who makes the best pellet grill on the market, read this article and find the best one for yourself.[1] 

Prepare Your Turkey

Before cooking, make sure your turkey fits into your pellet grill. It needs to be big enough to accommodate the amount of turkey you feed your guests. No more than 15 pounds of turkey is recommended for food safety reasons.

Make sure you fully defrost the turkey. If you got a frozen turkey, it should take about two to three days to defrost your turkey by putting it in the refrigerator.

Please don’t leave your frozen turkey out on the kitchen countertop to thaw it out more quickly. That can lead to the growth of bacteria.

Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey. Many cooks still serve pellet grill smoked turkeys with the bag of giblets in place, but we suggest you remove them for making gravy or to use for stock.

Supplies Required For A Smoked Turkey

Here are the supplies you’ll need to gather before smoking your turkey:


For food safety reasons, always check the weight of the turkey before you buy it. Also, if you’re having a large gathering, it is always better to have a few smaller turkeys than one large one.

Smoking a turkey over 15 pounds is not recommended. The time it takes to cook will be too long. If you allow your turkey to sit in the danger zone between 40 and 140 degrees F for too long, it will be spoiled, and you will have to pay for it.

Fuel & Wood

Make sure you have enough propane, gas, pellets, or wood to last until the end of the cooking process. You don’t want to run out while the turkey is in the middle of smoking.

When it comes to smoking a turkey, most professionals agree that apple, cherry, or hickory wood is the best option. The best woods give the turkey a smokey flavor that is not overwhelming.


An instant-read meat temperature probe or a remote meat thermometer is one of the best tools you can have when cooking a turkey. It’s crucial to have a suitable meat temperature probe on hand to monitor the temperatures of the various parts of the turkey while it is cooking.

Disposable Drip Pan

A big turkey means you’ll have plenty of juice. Use a drip pan to catch the juices and use them for gravy.

Water Bottle

You should always have a water bottle in your kitchen to spritz your turkey while it’s cooking.

How To Brine A Turkey?

Adding flavor to the meat is regarded as an easy way of doing it, whether it’s chicken, turkey, or any other type of poultry. There are many different ways of doing it, and they are called brining. The processes are subdivided into:

Dry Brine

Dry brine is made up of sugar, salt, and other seasonings. If you are going to season the bird, make sure the turkey is de-iced and then cover the meat underneath and skin with spices, as you would normally season the bird.

After you’ve applied the seasoning mixture to the turkey, let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Then, the turkey will absorb the flavor and moisture from the seasonings. This will make the meat incredibly tender and flavorful. In addition, the juices in the delicious pellet smoker turkey will ooze out, making the meat very juicy.

Wet Brine

Wet brining is very simple, and you can purchase a kit that includes a bag and seasonings to wet brine the turkey. A wet brine is similar to a marinade where the turkey is immersed in a salty solution. After some time, the meat will draw the liquid and the seasonings into itself.

Do you want to wet brine the turkey? Here’s what you do: Boil half a cup of water and add the brine mixture to it. Now, carefully add one gallon of cold water and place the bag with the turkey inside it into the refrigerator for some hours.

If you want to add more flavor, you can replace the water with another liquid. Apple juice, pineapple, chicken stock, lemonade, and other excellent choices are available. The advantage of wet brining is it allows you to pack more flavors into your turkey, and on the other hand, we have dry brining. It’s all a matter of personal choice, and we suggest trying both methods and seeing which one you like better.

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How to Smoke A Turkey On A Pellet Grill? Recipe

Required Ingredients

  • Stick butter – 1
  • Granulated Garlic – 1 tsp
  • Cajun Seasoning – 1 tsp
  • Hot Sauce – 1 Tbsp


  1. Put the butter and hot sauce, garlic, Cajun seasoning, and chicken broth into a bowl and mix with a fork. Whisk the mixture until the butter and syrup are entirely incorporated into the other ingredients.
  2. Put some of the mixtures into your Marinade Injector. But before injecting the turkey, it’s essential to coll down the injector.
  3. Stick the needle into the wings, thighs, and breast area of the turkey, then inject the mixture into the turkey’s body.
  4. Combine another portion of melted butter and chicken seasoning, and spread it all over the turkey. Make sure you get it under the skin too.
  5. Also, season the turkey skin ideally, as this will cause the seasonings to stick to the skin and give it a mahogany color due to the seasoning. This will make the skin crispy and delicious when you eat it.
  6. It’s time to start smoking the turkey.
  7. Turn on your pellet grill and set it for 275-300 degrees. Higher temps are recommended for large turkeys.
  8. Put the pellet grill turkey on the grill and set your timer to 1 ½ hour. To get the skin as crispy as possible, there’s not much for you to do; just let it cook. Once it is done, the outer skin will turn a beautiful mahogany color and be almost crispy.
  9. Use a probe thermometer to make sure the turkey is cooked to the proper temperature. While cooking, you can easily monitor the turkey with a meat temperature probe and set the alarm when it hits the right internal temperature.
  10. When the timer goes off, turn the turkey, so it is not facing up anymore. This will ensure evenly cooking on all sides. Let the breast up, the entire cook. Make sure it hits at least 175 degrees in the thigh and 165 degrees in the breast; check temperature details by using a meat temperature probe. Similarly, when you stick the turkey, the juices should run clear. There should be no trace of pink-colored liquid or blood.
  11. If the outer layer of the turkey begins to turn dark, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil. This will prevent the turkey skin from getting any darker.
  12. Once you read the temps on the meat temperature probe in both breasts (65 temps) and the thighs (175 temps), and the juices run clear, the turkey is done.
  13. Now, it’s time to turn off the pellet smoker and take the turkey out.
  14. Rest your cooked turkey for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  15. Enjoy the delicious smoked turkey.

Therefore, smoke a whole turkey confidently using this easy turkey recipe on the Pellet Grill. Additionally, this smoked turkey is the perfect main dish for your holiday feast, so get your carving knife ready and enjoy a happy Thanksgiving!

Smoked Turkey Temperature Highlights

You should smoke your turkey at 165 degrees for safety and taste reasons. You want to make sure you are getting the internal temperature exactly right and want the meat to be as juicy as possible.

One of the keys to a juicy, tender turkey is to make sure it is cooked at a slow temperature. This is especially important for large, whole turkeys. Start testing your turkey for doneness about one hour before the recommended cooking time. Use a meat probe thermometer to check the turkey’s temperature in the breast and thigh as it cooks.

When you test the temperature of your grill, make sure you test both sides. If there is any difference in the temperature between the two sides of the turkey, throw it back into the cooler part of the grill until it is uniform.

When all the parts of the turkey reach 165 degrees F temperature, it means you need to turn off the smoker and start putting your turkey into a serving platter.

Beneficial Tips To Consider When Smoking A Turkey On A Pellet Grill

  • If you want to get serious about barbecuing, you need to invest in a high-quality meat thermometer. Try buying the easy one to use from Amazon that shows you the accurate temperature details.
  • When smoking a turkey, it is imperative that you only use fresh birds. If the bird has been frozen, you must thaw it in the refrigerator (not on the kitchen counter) before putting it on the grill or smoker. Don’t thaw it in warm water or in the microwave. If you do, the bacteria frozen with the turkey will grow and make the bird unsafe to eat.
  • Don’t open the lid while the turkey is cooking; insert the probe when it’s done. That way, you’ll know when the bird is finished cooking without having to open the lid to check the internal temperature.
  • Pay attention to temperature, use the thermometer, and don’t see the clock frequently. Too many variables affect the actual smoking time to rely on the clock. Instead, try using a thermometer to make your cooking process feasible and avoid following the exact smoking time mentioned in the recipe. If you realize the meat is done, turn off the smoker and enjoy the meal.
  • To avoid flare-ups, don’t baste the chicken too often or use a spray bottle to spray the oil onto the chicken, as this can cause flare-ups which can leave spots on the chicken. Instead, use a natural oil, such as vegetable or corn oil, liberally and brush it on the chicken. It’s better to use melted butter and other ingredients to make something similar to a spicy version of Pam Spray. Also, you can use water pans near a direct heat source to catch the drippings and produce smoke.
  • Rinsing is vital after brining. It’s a good idea to do so before seasoning, cooking, or serving. Your turkey will be salty if you don’t. After removing it from the brine solution, rinse it under cold water. Pat dry with a clean cloth after use of paper towels. Don’t rinse until before putting on the smoker because wet skin will not brown nicely.
  • Make sure you have enough wood chips to last the entire cook time. You should check every 15 to 20 minutes and add more if needed.

What Is A Good Side Dish To Serve With Turkey?

Side dishes include extra crispy oven-roasted potatoes, carrot salad, slaw, baked beans, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, mustard beans, and of course, a fresh green salad with homemade dinner buns. You can also serve dessert with smoked turkey. Try the easiest pumpkin pie recipe and ideally serve with the delicious smoked turkey.

How to Store Cooked Turkey?

You can keep leftover smoked turkey in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Also, you can store the turkey in the freezer for up to 3 months. All you require is to keep the turkey in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. If you have any leftover turkey, slice it up and put it in a Ziploc bag, and place it in the freezer for later use.

Reasons Why You Should Smoke a Turkey

There are many reasons to smoke your turkey, but two main reasons jump out. The first thing you want is a turkey that is juicy and crisp. Add it to your turkey as a particular ingredient, and it will take it to a whole new level of deliciousness. Secondly, it’s pretty hard to make turkey in the oven, especially when cooking for a crowd. Whereas smoking a turkey in a pellet smoker instead of an oven saves users a lot of effort and time. Also, it can easily fit in a smoker. Although therefore, there is a lot of room in the grill; you can cook a turkey in it quickly.

To sum up, you will fall in love with smoked turkey, especially when cooked in pellet grill because:

  • Juicy and tender meat
  • Smoking turkey gives it fantastic flavor
  • Easy to make
  • It doesn’t heat up the house
  • The turkey will not be dried out or charred in spots when cooking on the pellet grill. That means you get more flavor, and it cooks faster.
  • You get the delicate smoke flavor.
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What Are Flavor Pellets Best For Smoking Turkey?

Cherry wood is the best choice for smoking the bird. It adds a deep, rich, unique smoky flavor that is perfectly complemented by the bird’s naturally bland and lean nature. A traditionalist will also tell you that the best turkey is smoked with only natural cherry wood.

Where To Put The Thermometer In A Smoked Turkey?

It’s better to put the thermometer in two places: right near the breast’s center and the thigh (avoid the bone).

How Long to Cook A Turkey On A Pellet Grill?

Generally, smoking turkey on a pellet grill takes 4 to 5 hours if you cook an 8 pound of turkey at 225 degrees F temperature. It would help if you smoked the turkey until the temperature reached 165 degrees. Here is a simple table for you to understand turkey’s cooking time in a pellet grill.

Turkey QuantityTotal Cooking TimeTemperature
8 pounds4 to 5 hours225 degrees F
15 pounds7 to 8 hours225 degrees F

If you want to calculate the exact weight of your turkey, it’s best to cook it at least 30 minutes per pound. Twenty-five minutes per pound is how long it will take to cook it at 250 degrees.

You should cook more than one turkey if you need to cook more than 15 pounds of turkey. For example, if you need 25 pounds of turkey to feed everyone, you should cook a 12-pound turkey and a 13-pound turkey. It is so easy that even a brain-dead monkey could do it.

Do You Cover A Turkey While Smoking?

Nope, it’s not necessary to cover a turkey while smoking.

Is It Possible To Make ​​Smoked Turkey In Pan Or On Rack?

Yes, it’s possible to use a two-pan method for smoking turkey. You can smoke a turkey on a rack directly, with a large roasting pan beneath the grates to catch drippings. Another pan to the side of the turkey, on the rack, with water in it to add moisture.

What Is The Function Of A Water Pan?

The pan catches any drippings and prevents flare-ups, and at the same time, keeps the humidity in the smoker low, which prevents the meat from drying out and toughening up.

Is It Necessary To Brine Turkey Before Smoking?

You don’t need to brine a turkey every time. You don’t have to do that step mandatorily. However, if you brine your turkey, you can enhance its flavor.

How Can You Get Gravy From A Smoked Turkey?

The best gravy for Thanksgiving comes from a smoked turkey pellet grill. The drip pan you put beneath the turkey will catch any drippings, and you can use those drippings to make the best gravy ever.

Why Choose Pellet Grill For Cooking Food?

Cooking on a pellet grill is a fantastic experience. It gives food a smoky flavor, unlike any other cooking method. Additionally, using a pellet grill is so much fun. Similarly, when you smoke turkey or food on a pellet grill, the results are always juicy, moist, and flavorful. Today, most people have discovered the numerous benefits of this amazing grill; that’s why they want to keep cooking in this appliance.


In this guide on how to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill, we go over the basic steps of preparing your bird, brining it, and adding seasonings before leaving it to smoke. The time to smoke turkey on pellet grill depends on your turkey’s size, and you need to closely monitor the cooking temperature to ensure your bird is fully smoked for that excellent smoked flavor.

I hope you liked the pellet turkey smoker recipe and complete informative guide; if you come up with relevant queries, then feel free to ask.

Keep Grilling!!!

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