The best way to cook a turkey is with a smoker rather than a grill. Smoked turkey wins every time! The smell of smoked turkey wafting around while cooking a perfectly done turkey meal for your friends and family.
Whether it’s a get-together or just a Sunday super meal, my list of tips and methods for the best smoked turkey has got your back. And it’s a meal you can freeze and reheat when the desire strikes again.
Smoked Turkey Temperature And Time
Smoked turkey temp and time vary according to your cooking style. Even with a smoked turkey temperature chart for the perfect and juiciest turkey meal; it is important that you focus on the internal smoked turkey temperature. Smoked turkey done temperature is 165 F. I have compiled several tips for preparing and smoking the turkey. Read on to find out how long to smoke a turkey and what is the optimum smoked turkey temp.
Smoker Temperature for Smoked turkey:
Turkey can be flavorfully cooked at a low temperature of 225 F and even at higher temperatures like 250-300 F or even more. Low smoked turkey temp will offer you a smokey-flavored turkey, whereas a high smoked turkey temperature will give you a darker turkey with crispy brown skin cooked in lesser time.
I like to smoke turkey anywhere between 250 F to 275 F. I like the mahogany color my turkey gets. It’s well enriched with smokey flavor and does not take too long for the smoking process.
Smoked Turkey Time:
Now knowing how long to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill is a tricky thing to understand. But there are definitely certain solid variables that can guide your cooking process. If you are a smoked turkey newbie, please refrain from following the cooking time from a recipe but rather tweak the recipe to your variables.
Variable 1: Smoker
Sometimes, the smoker temperature gauge needs repairing and may not tell the exact smoker temperature. A smoker thermometer with dual probes is the best way to find the internal smoked turkey temperature as well as finding the true smoker temperature.
Variable 2: Opening the smoker increases cooking time
Every time you will open your smoker to add wood, to baste your turkey, or even to just take a peek… it will add an extra 15 minutes to the smoked turkey cooking time.
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Variable 3: It’s windy!
If it’s windy, then your smoker temperature can also come down a few notches. You will have to keep an eye on that.
Variable 4: Turkey Size
Your turkey’s size is directly related to how long should you smoke it. The bigger the turkey, the more time it will take to cook and reach an internal smoked turkey temp of 165 F.
Smoked Turkey Temperature Chart:
For an approximately 14 pounds turkey size, the various temperatures and times chart for smoked turkey is as follows:
|Smoker Temp||Minutes Per Pound||Total Time|
|225 F||30-35||8 plus hours|
|250 F||30||7 hours|
|275 F||25||5 ½ plus hours|
|325 F||13||3 hours|
Smoked Turkey Done Temp:
A very important point to remember is that the smoked turkey time and temp depend on the above-mentioned variables. There is no one temp for all tips while smoking a turkey. If you are planning to make turkey thighs, breasts, or even a whole turkey, you should always focus on the internal smoked turkey temperature and its pull temperature.
The pull temperature is at which you take your meat out. Various turkey parts, their resting times, and smoked turkey done temp are given in the following chart.
|Internal Pull Temp||Resting Time||Internal Done Temp|
|Smoked Turkey Breast||160 F||15 minutes||165 F|
|Smoked Turkey Wings||175 F||5 minutes||175 F|
|Smoked Turkey Thighs||175 F||5 minutes||175 F|
|Smoked Turkey Tails||165 F||5 minutes||165 F|
|Smoked Whole Turkey||160 F for breast 170 for thighs/wings||15 minutes||165 F for breasts 175 F for thighs/wings|
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Tips for checking Smoked turkey done temp
Internal temperatures are the holy grail for a done smoked turkey. It is important to have the appropriate tool and knowledge to find out when your smoked turkey is done internally.
Tip 1: Use a dual probe thermometer
The dual probe smoker thermometer is the best tool for checking internal as well as smoker temperature. One probe is inserted within the turkey meat, whereas the other remains outside measuring the smoker’s temperature.
This reduces cooking time as well as you do not have to open the smoker to get temperature frequently. It’s always best to keep a standard thermometer handy as well to check for doneness at various parts of a whole turkey.
Tip 2: The smoked turkey done temp is 165 F
The smoked turkey done temp is 165 F according to international standards. However, if you cooked turkey at 300 F, then pull the meat at 160 internal temperature and let it rest.
Due to high smoker temperature, the internal smoked turkey temp will keep increasing and will reach 165 F while resting.
Smoking turkey at a lower smoker temperature like 225 F means that the internal smoked turkey temp won’t keep increasing after you pull it, so let the smoked turkey done temp at 165 F before you pull in this situation.
Smoked turkey breast temp is perfectly done between 160-165 at a lower smoker temperature. Other turkey meat parts like thighs, wings, and tail are internally done when they reach 170 F – 175 F.
Tip 3: Check the smoked turkey breast temp by inserting the meat probe within its juiciest center.
For thighs and wings, you can check smoked turkey temperature by inserting the probe into a meaty part, however, refrain from hitting the bone with the probe.
For the whole turkey, it is important to insert the temperature probe from the top and bottom rather than the sides. Insert the probe in the meatiest parts.
For the whole turkey, you will also need to check the thighs and wings’ internal temp to make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked from everywhere.
Tip 4: It’s better to start checking the smoked turkey done temp an hour before it’s supposed to be done.
Use an instant thermometer for these cases to get quicker readings without losing smoker heat.
Resting the smoked turkey: How long to rest smoked turkey?
How long to rest smoked turkey? After smoking, make sure to let your smoked turkey rest for at least 15-20 minutes before you slice through that juicy and meaty interior. The juices are reabsorbed during this time. Do not cover with foil, as this will only make the turkey skin soggy. If you see a slight pinkness, do not be worried. As long as your thermometer checked the internal done temp accurately, you are good to go!
How to store and re-heat a smoked turkey?
Now, to keep enjoying that smoked turkey, you can either wrap the remains in foil or freeze it as it is. Or you can pull the meat off, separate the thighs and wings, and freeze it in air-tight containers for future deliciousness.
To reheat the frozen turkey, simply throw it in the oven while wrapped in foil at 300 F. The heating time would be 20 minutes per pound approximately or when the internal temperature of the smoked turkey is between 140-150. Remember to not overheat the frozen turkey.
Tips for the best smoked turkey meal:
1. Don’t forget to thaw a frozen turkey:
It’s medically important to defrost a turkey way ahead of time. Leave it in the wrapping and put it in the fridge before you will be cooking it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
2. Basting while cooking:
Despite popular opinion, do not baste your smoked turkey while being smoked. It will not only increase smoking time but also make your meat soggy. To avoid burning thigh and wing ends, wrap them in aluminum foil.
3. Avoid drying out a turkey at high heat:
It’s better to stay between 275 F to 300 F for your smoked turkey temperature for cooking. Any higher heat could char and dry your turkey meat very quickly. Have faith only in internal meat probes or instant thermometers for internal smoked turkey temp for confirming doneness.
With so many smoked turkey temperature tips, be assured you are halfway there to becoming a smoked turkey pro. Have some practice runs and you are ready for your next Smoked Turkey Family gathering.
What pellet flavor is best for smoked turkey?
Check this article to find the best wood chips for smoking turkey.
Smoked Turkey Sides
The best side dish for smoked turkey is arguably the most difficult to find. Turkey is usually served with — Cranberry sauce
– Mashed potatoes
However, this leaves out a multitude of other delicious sides perfect for a holiday feast.