Ever wondered how to smoke a juicy turkey? This is the best smoked turkey recipe we’ve tried. Free up the oven and learn how to smoked turkey stuffed with fruit and aromatics for an amazing turkey dinner. You may also like our smoked turkey rub.
Summer is often the time we smoke meat, but fall is perfect for testing out smoked turkey recipes for Thanksgiving. I’ve seen turkeys on sale at our local grocery store several times in the past few months. Sometimes they are hard to find or really expensive, but this year they’ve been plentiful so we’ve been eating more turkey than usual!
Traditionally, my family likes to cook a whole turkey in an oven bag. But every now and then we like to try something new. We came across this turkey recipe on Allrecipes.com and it got amazing reviews so we had to give it a try. It was the juiciest turkey I’d ever had. Absolutely delicious!
Although it is common to rinse a turkey before cooking, the USDA actually does not recommend this because it can actually spread germs around your kitchen in doing so. If you are brining a turkey then you should definitely rinse it, but otherwise, there is no need to rinse!
Place the turkey in a large roasting pan (we often use disposable for easy cleanup). Remove the neck and giblets. You can save these for another use (we use them for gravy) or discard them. Take paper towels and pat the turkey dry. You do this so the seasoning will stick to the bird.
Often times you can get creative and put a spice rub all over the outside of the turkey, but for this recipe we kept it simple with minced garlic and seasoned salt. Most of the flavor for this turkey is coming from ingredients being baked inside the cavity, so garlic and seasoned salt just help add to that flavor.
When I saw the combination of ingredients that when inside this turkey, I was initially confused, but immediately went to excited. Coca-cola, apple, onion, butter….I mean really. It doesn’t get much better than that!
The apple and cola help add a little sweetness. The butter and onion make the juices that you’ll use to baste the turkey so rich. Sometimes we had a little celery or carrots. Tweak the ingredients if you’d like, but this combo is fantastic.
We’ve done smoked turkeys two ways:
We like to use wood chips with a slightly sweet flavor such as apple, apricot, cherry, peach or maple. Hickory is stronger but is always a classic and gives an even smoky flavor! Mesquite also goes well with turkey.
If you want the juiciest turkey, then yes, I recommend basting. The skin and the foil help to keep the turkey juicy on its own, but since you’ll have to be checking on the turkey in the smoker a few times anyway, go ahead and baste it. You won’t regret it.
It’s good to plan 30 minutes per pound when you smoke a turkey between 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Our turkey was 13 pounds and took about 7 hours in the smoker to reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
**We LOVE our Thermoworks ThermaPen to quickly test meat temperatures. This probe thermometer is AMAZING. Get it here.**