Smoking your Holiday Turkey

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s time to start putting together your holiday menu. It goes without saying that the focal point of that meal will be the beautiful, perfectly browned turkey in the center of your table. Since everyone will be looking forward to that first bite of turkey, really give them a gift by smoking it.

When you smoke a turkey, you do so slowly at a low, indirect temperature. This allows for the meat to become more tender and absorb all the delicious smoke flavor along with the seasonings and spices you add.  Smoking your turkey is easier than you think.

My video walks you through the entire process from setting up your smoker, to preparing your bird. Trust me, your family and friends will be requesting a smoked turkey more than once a year!

Be sure to share your #BestTurkeyEver pictures with us! 

​Looking for more turkey inspiration?  Be sure to check out more tips here

What are your thoughts? (42)

12.22.15

Luis P

Hi Kevin,

I recently got a 22' smoker, and am supposed to cook a turkey for christmas day, so the pressure is on!

I have 2 questions:
A turkey here, normally wheights near to 13 pounds. At the mentioned 275-300F, should i still count the 15-18 minutes per pound? Someting like 3,5 hours?

I cant find the cheesecloth anywhere. For the same result, should i cover it with tin foil, or bacon for this first part?

Thanks in advance,
Luis

12.22.15

Kevin Kolman

Luis,
Sorry for the delay. You are correct on the above estimations and about the bacon or foil substitution. Hopefully your turkey turned out grate. If you need any last second advice or help please find me at Kevin Kolman’s Backyard on Facebook and Twitter and always Happy Grilling!!

11.24.15

Christopher C

Hi Kevin,

What are your thoughts about keeping the turkey in a roasting pan versus straight on the grate?

11.24.15

Kevin Kolman

Hi Christopher! I like to use a roast holder and keep the roasting pan on the grate below my turkey to catch the drippings. Check out my blog on this topic: http://www.weber.com/weber-nation/blog/2-must-have-tools-for-the-turkey-grill-master. If you have any questions tomorrow find me on Facebook or Twitter @kevinsbackyard. Happy grilling!

11.24.15

Eric A

Hi Kevin:

Thanks for making this video. I am smoking our turkey for the first time on our Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. Have a few questions if you don't mind:

Other instructions I have seen call for a drip pan to catch the juices and possibly use to make gravy. Do you recommend using a drip pan underneath the turkey?

Lastly, should the turkey go right on the grill, or should I use an aluminum roasting pan with a rack to lift the turkey off the bottom of the pan?

Thanks again,

E

11.23.15

Kevin Kolman

Hi Eric! Congrats! You will love the smoked turkey. This blog will help you with both the drip pan and the roasting rack question: http://www.weber.com/weber-nation/blog/2-must-have-tools-for-the-turkey-grill-master. Here is another post on making a gravy out of the drippings: http://www.weber.com/weber-nation/blog/how-to-make-a-gravy-from-turkey-drippings. If you have any last minute questions find me on Facebook and Twitter @kevinsbackyard. Happy grilling!

11.13.15

Steve E

Kevin have you guys though about creating an online matrix for the smokey mountain that allows you to enter what kind of meat and weight and in return gives rough estimates for how long to smoke that item?

11.13.15

Kevin Kolman

Steve,
Yes, we have. We actually have that on another blog and we will try to make easier for people to find. Have a grate Thanksgiving my BBQ friend and if you have any other questions or comments you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!!

11.08.15

Peter W

Kevin We have decided to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving - in preparation last night I did a test smoke with at 12+ turkey. Smoked with water pan at around 240 for 4 hours with apple wood

The meat is great but the skin is rubbery - Should I expect this or is there an alternative

11.08.15

Kevin Kolman

Peter,
Very smart move to get a practice round in before the big day! Yes, the rubbery skin is expected. If you end up cooking the turkey at that low of a temperature the chance of getting the skin crisp can be very challenging. This is why I cook mine at 275-300 degrees. Hope this helps and if you need anything else please let me know here on on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!! #BestTurkeyEver

10.14.15

Chris B

Kevin- are you using water in the water pan? or is this a "hot" cook?

10.14.15

Kevin Kolman

Chris,
I prefer using a water pan for moisture and smoke adhesion. Hope this helps and if you need anything else please find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling. #BestTurkeyEver

11.28.14

Chris G

Kevin,
Just stopping by to thank you for your video! With the help of your video I was able to smoke our bird on a Weber kettle 22.5 and it was amazing.

I found maintaining a constant temp was a bit of a challenge but overall I was able to keep the temps in the range of 250-300. My 18lb turkey was done in about 5 1/2 hours.

The skin ended up being black, which made me nervous (it tasted good though). I used a cheesecloth for the first 2.5 hours...what adjustment could I make to ensure a brown skin next time?

Thanks
Chris

11.28.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Chris,

Glad you liked the video and that you learned some new turkey tips. Next time, you can leave the cheese cloth on the turkey for a little longer. Also, be sure the cheese cloth is wet. The black color is very much controlled by the amount of smoke in the unit. Keep us posted on how the next one turns out.

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.27.14

David K

Hi Kevin,
I am using a WSM to smoke my turkey this year but I was going to use my A-Maze-N smoker tray instead of chunks. In addition, the temperature forecast is to be in the high teens to low 20's during my smoking window. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
David K

11.26.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi David,

Try using at least a chimney and a half of unlit coals with a half chimney of lit coals on top when starting the unit. This will ensure you do not run out of fuel. Also, do not forget to set timers and stay disciplined with watching them. The more you open that lid, the more the temperature will be driven down. Lastly, be sure to check the temperature of your bird half way though the process to be sure you are on the right track. Most important, enjoy!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.27.14

Aaron K

Hi Kevin, smoking a turkey on the Weber 22.5 Smoker. I like the video and have done a brine with apples, oranges, and onions inside while using a moistened cheese cloth for the first half. Do I need to flip turkey at all during the smoke? Thanks Kevin!!

11.26.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Aaron,

It sounds like you are on the right track. Try cooking the bird upside down for the first half and then flipping it half way through. This should give you great results, but the flip is optional. Either way, be sure to remove the cheese cloth half way though. Hope this helps!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.26.14

Jim C

Hi Kevin,

I have an 18 1/2" Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker which I got for my birthday earlier this year. I love it! I am planning to smoke a 14 lb turkey tomorrow. My first time smoking a turkey. I have a question regarding brining. My turkey has an 8% solution in it. Should I still brine it? I can't wait to get it going!

Thanks,
Jim

11.26.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Jim,

Now that is a great birthday present! Lucky you! Yes, you can still brine the turkey. It will increase moisture and flavor. Try to plan for about 15-18 minutes per pound when you smoke at around 275-300 degrees. If you have any questions on Thanksgiving, you can find me on Facebook at Kevin's Backyard.

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

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