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Smoked turkey on a platter.
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Smoked Turkey

This recipe shows you how to make smoked turkey using a charcoal smoker--in this case, a Weber Smokey Mountain--from start to finish. And if you want to smoke a brined turkey, there's a perfect and easy recipe for smoked turkey brine included, as well.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Resting time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 12
Calories 59kcal

Ingredients

For the rub:

  • 8 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt (see note 2)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground New Mexico chilies or ancho
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

For the turkey:

  • 1 (10 to 12 pound) fresh turkey neck, heart, and gizzards removed and discarded (see note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

For the rub:

  • Combine everything together in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake it up. Store in an airtight jar.

For the turkey:

  • Bring smoker to 300 to 325 degrees. Prepare a drip pan with 4 cups of water.
  • Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels, making sure to remove any parts inside the turkey. Rub the turkey all over with olive oil. Evenly sprinkle the dry rub over the turkey, patting gently to ensure the rub sticks. Tuck the wings into the sides of the turkey and place in a foil tray or large rimmed bake pan.
  • Once the smoker reaches 325 degrees, place the drip pan on the lower rack. Place the turkey directly onto the top rack, centering over the foil pan. Place the smoker lid back on and smoke for about 15 minutes per pound. Check the turkey after two hours, baste if desired.
  • If the turkey becomes too dark at any point, especially the drum sticks and wingtips, cover the parts loosely with foil.
  • About 30 minutes before the end of the time range for the weight of the bird, check the temperature in the thickest part of the turkey between the thigh and the breast. Once the turkey reaches 165 degrees on a digital thermometer, remove the turkey from the smoker and cover with foil. Allow the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Notes

  1. Turkey: Look for a natural or heritage turkey with the words "no salt added" on the label. Stay away from "self-basting" or Kosher turkeys, which are injected with a salt solution. Brining an already salted turkey will make the bird way too salty. How much cooked turkey per person? Plan on 1 1/4- 1 1/2 pounds for each eater.
  2. Kosher salt: A crucial ingredient. Kosher salt is iodine-free, with a coarse texture ideal for rubbing on meat. Don't substitute standard table salt here, which is finer and much saltier than Kosher. And, you won't like the taste of the added chemicals in regular salt. Morton's and Diamond Crystal are both good brands to look for.
  3. Holding: You can hold a finished turkey at temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours by wrapping it tightly in several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil and placing it breast-side down in an empty cooler. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 59kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1761mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 569IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg