Smoked Turkey with Garlic and Bacon

You’ve never had a turkey like this! Fire up the smoker and make this Smoked Turkey with Garlic and Bacon. It’s so juicy and has amazing flavor!

How do you like to cook your Thanksgiving turkey? We often find ourselves cooking a turkey in an electric roaster. But if we’re cooking for a smaller group (or any other time of the year), we pull out the smoker and make a smoked turkey.

juicy smoked turkey

This smoked turkey recipe won the guys over. It is wrapped in bacon, so what’s not to love?

Fresh Turkey vs Frozen Turkey

Is one better than the other? There is no quality difference between a fresh turkey and a frozen turkey. Frozen turkeys are flash frozen to 0º Fahrenheit immediately after they are packaged.

Many people prefer fresh turkey over frozen because they say it has better flavor. If you are cooking your turkey within 2-3 days, give fresh a try. If you need to buy in advance, stick with frozen turkey.

For this recipe, you’ll want to make sure the turkey is completely thawed before prepping the turkey for the smoker.

sliced turkey with bacon

Is smoked turkey better than roasted?

Both smoked turkey and roasted turkey (have you ever tried cooking a turkey in a bag?) can be delicious, but smoked turkey will tend to have a stronger flavor than oven roasted.

Both cooking methods can yield a deliciously juicy turkey.

What is the best smoker for smoked turkey?

We have used two different types of smokers:

  1. Electric Smoker: We had a Masterbuilt smoker several years ago when we first started smoking meat. It worked great! It was small and easy to take care of, but could easily hold a turkey. See the one we had here. It is a great starter smoker to see if you are actually going to use it.
  2. Pellet Smoker: This summer, we upgraded to a Traeger wood pellet smoker. My husband is 100% in love with this grill. Not only does it easily smoke meat, but it grills up hamburgers and chicken beautifully too. See the grill we love.
golden brown smoked turkey

How to Flavor a Smoked Turkey

There are many ways to flavor at turkey when you smoke it, just as there are different ways to oven roast a turkey.

You can use a turkey dry rub or you can flavor a turkey with pop and apples. The one we’re sharing today has garlic and bacon. You can never go wrong with bacon!

Another thing to think about is the flavor of your wood chips or pellets. What flavor is best for turkey? We like hickory, apple or cherry.

ingredients for smoked turkey

How to Smoke A Turkey

  • Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Pat the turkey dry and place it in a pan that will fit in the slow cooker.
  • Stuff the cavity with the onion, carrots, parsley, sage and garlic.
  • Lay the strips of bacon over the outside of the turkey breast.
  • Load the smoker with hickory chips or pellets. Any fruit flavored wood such as cherry or apple would be good also.
  • Prepare the smoker and heat to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the turkey in the smoked and baste every 1-2 hours with turkey juices from the pan.
turkey on the smoker
  • Close the grill lid and allow the turkey to cook for 30 minutes per pound.

What temperature should a turkey be cooked to?

Turkey should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165º Fahrenheit. You’ll want to test the turkey at the innermost part of the thigh and in the thickest part of the breast. Make sure the thermometer is not touching any bones.

We’ve found that we like turkey a little closer to 170-175º Fahrenheit.

**We LOVE our Thermoworks ThermaPen to quickly test meat temperatures. This probe thermometer is AMAZING.  Get it here.**

turkey breast with bacon

How long does it take to smoke a turkey?

You should plan at least 30 minutes per pound when you smoke a turkey at around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Our turkey was 15 pounds and took about 8 hours in the smoker to reach 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

turkey and bacon

How much turkey should I plan per person?

As a guideline, you should plan 1 pound of turkey per person.

What To Serve with Turkey

When you are planning your Thanksgiving dinner menu, consider these easy side dish recipes:

How to Use Leftover Turkey

We love easy casserole recipes and soup recipes. Here are a few that use turkey!

best smoked turkey
best smoked turkey

Smoked Turkey with Garlic and Bacon

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You've never had a turkey like this! Fire up the smoker and make this Smoked Turkey with Garlic and Bacon. It's so juicy and has amazing flavor!
Servings 15
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Resting Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 15 pound whole turkey (completely thawed or fresh)
  • 1 white onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 2 carrots (peeled and coarsely chopped)
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 head garlic (peeled and separated)
  • 4-6 strips of bacon

Instructions
 

  • Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Pat the turkey dry and place it in a pan that will fit in the slow cooker.
  • Stuff the cavity with the onion, carrots, parsley, sage and garlic.
  • Lay the strips of bacon over the outside of the turkey breast.
  • Load the smoker with hickory chips or pellets. Any fruit flavored wood such as cherry or apple would be good also.
  • Prepare the smoker and heat to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the turkey in the smoked and baste every 1-2 hours with turkey juices from the pan.
  • Close the grill lid and allow the turkey to cook for 30 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (making sure it is not touching bone) to read the internal temperature. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. We like our turkey closer to 170-175º Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker and allow it to sit, still covered with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition

Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 71g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 236mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 777mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1562IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 3mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 488
Keyword grilled turkey, how to smoke turkey, Thanksgiving turkey
You've never had a turkey like this! Fire up the smoker and make this Smoked Turkey with Garlic and Bacon. It's so juicy and has amazing flavor!

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Comments

  1. You mention at the end “still covered in foil”. Is it covered in foiled while in the smoker or do you cover it when your take it out?

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