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How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill

By Pellet Grill Pros March 31, 2022 0 comments

Inviting guests over for any meal calls for a unique and memorable gastronomic experience. What better way to impress your guests than serving them with turkey cooked on your trusty pellet grill? 

Fret not! Our grill experts have searched for the easiest way to make smoked turkey. Read on and try this delicious and easy smoked turkey recipe.  

Ingredients 

Here is a list of things you will need for this recipe:

1. Turkey

If you are wondering how much turkey to prepare, just make sure to prepare a sizable whole turkey enough to feed your guests. Also, make sure the turkey also fits your pellet grill. 

If it is a frozen turkey, ensure that it is fully defrosted prior to cooking. For food safety reasons, avoid leaving the frozen turkey on the countertop rather place it in the refrigerator to start defrosting. 

Remove the neck and giblets and save these parts for the turkey gravy. This pre-brined turkey is now ready for the next steps.

2. Chicken broth 

This will be used for basting the turkey. If this is unavailable, you can combine 4 quarts of water and 1 cup of salt dissolved in a container.

3. Wood pellets

Purchase quality pellets for this recipe. 

4. Drip pan

This is necessary since smoked whole turkey is juicy. A drip pan will come in handy to catch all the juices.

5. Probe meat thermometer

The thermometer will help you monitor the internal temperature of the smoked turkey. 

6. Seasoning

The addition of herbs and spices can elevate the overall flavor. 

Smoking a Turkey on a Pellet Grill 

You are almost ready to cook turkey! But before that, make sure to preheat the pellet grill and grill grate at a cooking temperature of approximately around 225 Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Once this is satisfied, rub olive oil or canola oil over the outer skin of the whole turkey. Place the turkey breast side up directly on the grilling plate or grill grates. Allow the turkey to smoke in the pellet grill for approximately 2-3 hours and then proceed to increase the temperature close to 300 degrees F. 

Continue to cook for the next 3 to 4 hours and monitor the internal temperature of the breast meat or thickest part until it is at 165 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Then remove turkey from the grill plate and place on a wire rack or grill rack for about 15 minutes before serving to guests.

Brining the Turkey 

Prior to making pellet smoked turkey, it is recommended to soak it in brine overnight and in the refrigerator for best results. This allows the moisture to seep into the meat and will be locked in during the smoking process.

Cooking Preparations 

Once you’re done with the brining process, make sure to rinse the turkey inside and outside with cold water. Pat the turkey dry in and out with a kitchen towel or paper towels.

Seasoning 

You can add any seasoning of your choice to the turkey. Any simple sweet rub or turkey rub will add some dimension to the turkey.

Smoking the Turkey 

There is no need to cover the turkey with aluminum foil unless you have undercooked it. 

Tips to Cook a Perfectly Smoked Turkey 

Tip #1: Don’t Use a Roasting Pan 

There is no need to use a roasting pan since we are smoking the turkey or using indirect heat. Roasting pans are only necessary when the turkey is cooked in liquid. The turkey will be smoked directly on the pellet smoker’s grates.

Tip #2: Use High-Quality Wood Pellets 

Any wood pellet can be used when roasting turkey but we recommend choosing the best wood or hardwood pellets [1]. A variety of pellets is also highly recommended, especially a bit of each type of apple, hickory, maple, and cherry wood.

Tip #3: Don’t Carve 

Make sure not to carve the turkey immediately. Allow it to rest so that all the moisture and juice are retained in the bird.

Tip #4: Brine for the Best Flavor

We suggest using apple cider turkey brine for the best flavor. 

Why Use a Pellet Grill for Smoking a Turkey? 

Smoked meat, turkey meat for that matter, on a pellet grill will result in fantastic results. This includes the following: meat moist, crispy skin, sufficient nutrition calories, easy, convenient, and very flavorful. 

FAQ

1. How long does it take to smoke a turkey on a pellet smoker?  

It takes 5 to 6 hours to smoke a turkey on a pellet smoker. This is when the temperature is 225°F. This time period varies based on the size and weight of the bird. 

Conclusion 

Preparing the best turkey recipe is a breeze, as long as you have all the ingredients, equipment, and recipe card for it. Our gastronomic experts have summarized the cooking process of how to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill. 

Just follow the aforementioned steps and you are sure to impress your guests by serving an entire bird as a part of the main course cuisine.


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