Smoked turkey is unlike anything you’ve tasted. The moist, juicy meat and the subtle hint of smoky flavor send your palate into overdrive.
However, when you are smoking your bird at home, you can’t place it in the smoker and expect it to taste like the smoked turkey you had at the local BBQ joint last week.
You must consider which temperature to smoke turkey at. 275°F is an excellent temperature for smoking turkey. The turkey will smoke in 4-5 hours.
- Should I Smoke Turkey?
- What Are the Best Spices for Smoking Turkey?
- Should I Dry Brine or Wet Brine Smoked Turkey?
- How Long to Smoke a Turkey at 275
- How Long To Smoke A 12 Pound Turkey At 275
- How Long to Smoke a 15 Pound Turkey at 275
- How Long To Smoke A 17 Pound Turkey at 275
- Should I Truss My Smoked Turkey?
- Final Thoughts
Should I Smoke Turkey?
Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes, you should smoke your turkey. While there are some skeptics, you will fall in love after eating one bite of smoked turkey.
Smoking a bird is just as easy as frying or roasting the bird. It also imparts a beautiful char flavor to the food.
Furthermore, turkey is the ideal candidate for smoking. Unlike other meats, such as brisket, turkey is very forgiving.
Even if you overcook it slightly, it will still have a beautiful smoky flavor. You can cover the turkey with gravy. No one will notice it’s slightly overcooked since its saturated with gravy.
What Are the Best Spices for Smoking Turkey?
A simple sprinkling of salt and pepper does the trick when it comes to turkey.
However, you can also add herds or granulate onion or garlic. You can even cover the turkey in herb butter or paprika to give it a lovely color.
You can also add aromatic vegetables, such as onions and garlic, to the bird’s cavity. You can also add fresh rosemary, thyme, apples, and lemons to the cavity.
Since the bird is being smoked, you can season it with your favorite BBQ seasoning or BBQ rub. This will give the turkey a robust BBQ flavor.
Should I Dry Brine or Wet Brine Smoked Turkey?
Some people believe wet brines are best for smoking turkey. Others believe dry brines are best for turkey.
Wet brines involve submerging the bird in a saltwater solution. In contrast, dry bring involves rubbing the bird with salt, sugar, paprika, or other spices and herbs.
You can use a wet or a dry brine for turkey. They both work well for smoked turkey.
However, dry brining the bird may be best if this is your first time smoking a whole turkey.
You may feel uncomfortable soaking your bird in saltwater for 24 hours. Additionally, you may not have time or the refrigerator space to wet brine your turkey.
You can attempt to wet brine your turkey if you want to. However, a dry brine will also add moisture to the bird, just like a wet brine.
How Long to Smoke a Turkey at 275
Even if you are a BBQ veteran, it can be difficult to estimate the smoking time of turkey. Factors such as the wind, how many times the smoker is opened, and the bird’s size affect the cooking time.
The general equation for smoking turkey at 275°F is 20-25 minutes per pound. For example, if you are smoking an 8-pound turkey, it will be done in 2 1/2-3 hours.
Remove the turkey from the smoker once it has a temperature of 158°-160°F. Remember, the turkey’s temperature will rise as it rests.
However, ensure the turkey has an internal temperature of 165°F prior to serving it. This is the recommended safe temperature for consuming turkey.
How Long To Smoke A 12 Pound Turkey At 275
A 12-pound turkey is a little bigger than an 8-pound turkey, so it will take longer to cook. A 12-pound turkey takes 4-5 hours to cook.
However, do a temperature check after 2 1/2 hours. Test the breast and thighs. The thighs will have a higher temperature than the breast since they cook more quickly.
If the temperature is near 160°F, chances are the bird will be done soon. So, keep an eye on the turkey, so it does not dry out. Check it every 20-30 minutes until it has a temperature of 160°F.
How Long to Smoke a 15 Pound Turkey at 275
Again, the larger the turkey, the longer the cooking time. A 15-pound turkey will take 5- 6 1/2 hours to smoke.
However, check the bird after 4 hours. If the temperature is close to 160°F, check the bird every 20-30 minutes.
How Long To Smoke A 17 Pound Turkey at 275
It will take 5 1/2-7 hours to smoke a turkey at 275°F. Yes, this is basically the entire day, but the bigger the turkey, the longer the cooking time.
If you’re on a time crunch, it may be better to smoke 2 smaller 8 or 12-pound turkeys. This way, they will be done in 2 1/2-5 hours to be ready for dinner.
Should I Truss My Smoked Turkey?
Some smoked turkey recipes call for trussing the bird. However, air needs to circulate, so do not truss your turkey.
Smoking turkey, breast side-up without trussing it, let’s air circulate freely around the legs.
The added circulation helps the bird’s skin crisp up better. Furthermore, it also enables you to estimate the cooking time more accurately.
On average, the thighs cook faster than the breast. However, not trussing the legs may help the breast and the thighs to be cooked around the same time.
This will prevent some parts of the turkey from being raw while others are dry.
The whole point of smoking the bird is to impart a smokey flavor. Trussing the bird means less smokey flavor. Not trussing the bird allows the smoke to penetrate the entire bird, so there is more smokey flavor throughout the bird.
Try smoking your bird if you want your holiday season to have a smoky twist. If you smoke it at 275°F, it will be cooked in 4-5 hours.
However, if you are cooking a larger bird, it could take up to 7 hours to cook completely. Remember to check the bird after a few hours so you don’t get an overcooked, dry turkey.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.