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? (46)

11.25.16

Brandon P

Kevin,

Thank you for the video. 3 questions

1. Do you inject your bird after you brine it?

2. Do you or have you ever spatchcocked your bird before the smoker?

3. Do you put a foul pan underneath for drippings for gravy?

Thanks again,

Brandon

11.25.16

Kevin Kolman

Brandon,
1. I do not inject if I brine. In my mind no reason since the salt will bring out flavor in the bird. I have done injections in the paste but after using my brine I have not.
2. I have done spatchcocked birds on my gas grill and smokers. I am not the biggest fan because I love the presentation of a perfectly colored and cooked bird. I haven’t noticed a difference enough which makes me stick with a traditional grilled turkey.
3. I always put a foil tray under the bird for drippings and to help keep the grill clean.

Hopefully you had a great Thanksgiving and lets continue the work into the Holiday grilling season and always Grill On!!

11.23.16

Eric A

Hi Kevin:

I am attempting to smoke (2) 14 lb turkeys in my WSM this year. What is the general rule of thumb on the cooking time when doing 2 turkeys? Is it 15-17 minutes per pound for the combined weights or is it still 15-17 for one turkey?

Thanks,
Eric

11.22.16

Kevin Kolman

Eric,
You should follow the individual bird weight not total. They will cook at 15-17 minutes per pound at 300 ish temps. Also the bottom one can cook faster so you might want to rotate them half way through. Hope this helps, Happy Thanksgiving and if you need help we are here or on Facebook and Twitter and Kevin Kolman’s Backyard and always Grill On!!!

11.18.16

John B

Stuffing VS dressing! In my house I have always received praise each year for my Turkey but everyone asks for Stuffing. You know "In the bird, cooked in the cavity" to the point where it has turned into a challenge. I know, I've heard or read those who say "It will kill you". It's gotten to the point where my family wants the bird cooked in the OVEN. I need to have a real answer to the problem not an "Well you could try this!"
We have an idea for this year and it might work so we are going to try it. What are the stats on how many people who cook the Stuffing (in the bird dressing) are really getting sick or is this all just a bunch of "Old Wives Tells"? As long as the internal temp is at 165 I feel that all should be good.

11.18.16

Kevin Kolman

John,
Sounds like you have some grate conversation going on over there!! Putting stuffing or dressing in the cavity will don’t kill you just give you a fun bout with food poisoning. You need to make sure the bacteria is killing from the heating of the bird which makes cooking a turkey to 165 a challenge since the It is recommend that you cook the stuffing to 165-180. The problem is by having to cook the stuff too the turkey meat can and will be overdone which dries the turkey out. Its not a wives tale, but I do not cook my stuffing inside the bird for this reason. Also, by putting the stuffing inside the bird it will force the turkey to cook longer per pound. Here is a work around I have done which can be our secret. Try cooking the stuffing by itself and when you take the turkey off the grill to rest get the stuffing ready. Place it in the cavity and now you have the best of both worlds. If you have to cook the stuff inside the bird make sure you brine the turkey, and if you have time equilibrium bring the turkey!! Hope this helps and if you need any more advice you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s Backyard and always Grill On!

11.13.16

reto h

Hi Kevin
I just started about a year back with the Weber fascination and tried already a quite a bit off different things. Currently I have "only" a Weber Spirirt Classic E 210. Can I do a turkey for Christmas on it or is it to small?

Thanks,

Reto

11.12.16

Kevin Kolman

Reto,
You can do a turkey on the Spirit. I would say somewhere around 14-16 pounds is a perfect fit. I would use a roast holder and place that and the turkey in a large drip pan with some water, beer or apple juice. I like the cooking temp around 300-325 which is about 15-17 minutes per pound. You could go a little larger but run the risk of having the turkey’s edges directly over a burner. If you have any other questions you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s backyard and always Grill On!!!

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

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