Skip to Content

How Long to Cook A Smoked Turkey in a Smoker

Smoked turkey is a great option for holiday meals or anytime you want a delicious and juicy turkey. Wondering how long to cook a smoked turkey can be a huge issue for the holiday season. However, if you cook your turkey just right, you’ll be sure to impress your guests!

Cooking a turkey is a great way to feed a large group of people, and smoked turkeys are especially flavorful. If you’re Smoking a turkey from the grocery store for the first time, you might be wondering how long to cook it.

If you are cooking a Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey we are here to help you out!

Here’s the scoop on how long to cook a smoked turkey!

Turkey Basics

When it comes to how long to cook a smoked turkey, there are a few things that you need to take into account. The size of the turkey, the type of smoker, the temperature that you are smoking at, and how much Turkey you are cooking all play a role in how long it will take to cook your turkey.

The cook time for smoking a turkey will depend on the size of the turkey, the type of smoker, and the temperature that you are smoking at. A good rule of thumb is to smoke the turkey for about 30 minutes per pound.

So, for example, if you have a 4-6 lb bird you will cook it for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes. If you do not have much time to cook your turkey, you can always adjust to a higher temperature or smoker temperature.

However, if you have the time to cook at a lower temperature for a long time this is preferable. No matter what, your instant-read thermometer is your friend, so have it on hand!

Getting the perfect turkey takes some practice, so do not get discouraged. A thermometer probe inserted in the thickest part of the thigh should read 180 degrees F.

Preparing Your Turkey

If you think you are ready, it is time to get cooking! If you have a frozen turkey, you will need to allow ample time to defrost. So, if you are smoking a fresh turkey this will be no issue.

Before smoking your turkey, you can add any seasonings that you want. You can do a cajun dry rub for some extra flavor, or you can do a custom mixture of olive oil and fresh herbs.

If you want to give your whole bird really crispy skin, cover it in melted butter or chicken broth and a little bit of brown sugar.

If you want to keep your turkey as moist as possible, you can do a dry brine before you start the cooking process. You can find a great turkey brine recipe here!

In order to minimize the mess, you can do all of your prep in your roasting pan or an extra water pan.

Before putting your turkey in to cook, make sure that you adjust your racks or grill grates to utilize your oven space.

When smoking a turkey, it is best to use cherry wood chips, apple wood chips, or wood pellets that have been soaked in water for at least 30 minutes. This helps to prevent the chips from burning too quickly and creating a lot of smoke.

How Long to Cook A Smoked Turkey in a Smoker?

Cook your turkey at 325 degrees F for about 30 minutes per pound. If you have a 6 to 8 pound turkey you will cook it between 2 hours and 15 minutes to 3 hours and 15 minutes. An 8-12 lb turkey will cook for about 2 hrs 45 mins–3 hrs and so on.

It is really important to know how long to cook a smoked turkey in order to have the best results. You don’t want to undercook or overcook your turkey. Here are some tips on how long to cook a smoked turkey.

When smoking a whole turkey, the best way to ensure it is cooked properly is to use an aluminum foil drip pan. Place the turkey on the roasting rack on the smoker, breast side up. Put the drip pan under the turkey. Add water to the drip pan until it is about 1/2 full.

It is important to use a meat thermometer when smoking a turkey. The general rule of thumb is to cook the turkey until the internal temperature of the breast meat is 170 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some people prefer to cook their turkey until the internal temperature of the dark meat is 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

When smoking a turkey, it is best to use indirect heat. This means that you do not want the heat source to be directly under the turkey. If using a charcoal grill, put the coals on one side of the grill and the turkey on the other side. If using a gas grill, turn off one of the burners and put the turkey on the other side.

Cooking Your Turkey

First, defrost your turkey if it’s frozen. It’s best to do this in the refrigerator, allowing about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.

Next, make sure your turkey is dry. Pat it down with paper towels, inside and out.

If you want to stuff the cavity of the turkey, do so now. You can stuff it with traditional stuffing, or get creative and try a different filling. Just make sure not to pack the stuffing too tightly, as it won’t cook as evenly that way.

Now it’s time to prep your smoker. If you’re using an electric smoker, soak your wood chips in water for 30 minutes before adding them to the smoker.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, place the wood chips directly on the coals.

Wrap the turkey breast in foil, and place it in the smoker. Cook the turkey at low heat, for example, at a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes per pound.

Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast to check the internal temperature of the turkey.

It is important to let the turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes the turkey easier to carve.

Things to Remember

If you end up cooking a really large turkey, everyone will get to enjoy some leftover turkey! Just remember to store it in an airtight container. Trust us, leftover smoked turkey is not a bad thing so don’t be afraid to cook a larger turkey.

If you are interested in doing a smoked turkey brine, you can check some recipes that will have all of the answers for you like whether or not you should rinse the turkey with cold water!

Also, if your family likes stuffing in the turkey cavity, it is best to only stuff smaller turkeys. Otherwise, it can impact the turkey cooking to a safe temperature, which is not a good situation. Even if you have an instant read thermometer that works by pointing it at the outside of the turkey, the most important thing is checking the inside of the turkey.

Keep an eye on your oven thermometer as well as the temperature of your turkey, both white meat and dark meat, with a digital thermometer.

Cooking a larger bird will take longer, even if you are working with the best smoker on the market

Final Thoughts

Cooking a turkey is not easy, so try to stay positive. Even if a relative swears that they have the best smoked turkey recipe, just do your best for Thanksgiving dinner.

No matter what cooking method you decide on, cook the bird to suit your personal preference. Enjoy your delicious smoked turkey!

The best part of any holiday is sitting down to a perfect smoked turkey with your favorite side dishes and your loved ones. So pick out a great recipe, throw your turkey in an aluminum pan, and start the smoking process!

*This article contains affiliate links, thanks for your support!

For more great scoop, check out these articles:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

How Long to Cook A Smoked Turkey in a Smoker