Step-by-Step Guide: How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill

With Thanksgiving season upon us, it’s a good time to brush up on your turkey cooking skills. Did you know that smoked turkey is actually fairly healthy?  

But let’s be honest, we don’t roll up to the Thanksgiving table to count calories. We’re there for the flavor. And there’s just something about smoked turkey. 

That’s why this holiday season, you should ditch the conventional oven. Instead, consider using your trusty pellet grill to smoke your turkey. It’s an easy and delicious twist on a familiar classic. 

You can check out the Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey recipe here, and consider our step-by-step guide for the best way to smoke your turkey. 

Step 1: Thaw Your Turkey

This one is critical. Just like with conventional roasting, you need to thaw your bird first. Skip this step and you’re sure to serve up a turkey that is burned on the outside and still raw on the inside. 

Step 2: Remove the Innards 

Yep, this one still has to be done. Get in there and get the neck, heart, liver and gizzards out of the way. If you want to make gravy from scratch, set aside the innards for the gravy-making process. 

Step 3: Season

Bring on the flavor. While smoking a turkey adds a lot of flavor directly into the meat, a seasoning for the outside of the skin is still ideal. You can choose to brine or rub your bird. Just make sure it’s an even coating, tip to tailfeathers. 

Step 4: (Avoid) Stuffing

Unlike roasting, a smoked turkey will find itself in a fairly dry environment. This means that while smoked turkey is prime for stuffing, a smoked turkey will risk drying out the stuffing on the inside. If you are craving stuffing as a holiday side, we recommend making it separately. Here’s a great recipe to do just that. 

Step 5: Prep Your Drip Pan

As we mentioned, your pellet grill is going to get quite hot and dry. It’s with that in mind that we introduce a double-duty drip pan to the process. This pan, when added to the bottom of your pellet smoker with some water, can both catch the cooking drips and help keep your bird moist. Win-win. 

Step 6: Prep Your Grill

Check the hopper to ensure it’s full and ready with enough pellets. Add as needed. 

Once full, it’s time to preheat. Your pellet grill is going to get hot quickly. But you still need to preheat for optimal cooking temperatures. We recommend keeping your grill at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for the entire smoke. 

Step 7: Smoke Til Completion

You’re now ready for the exciting part: the smoke. Simply add your bird, close the lid, and let it do its thing. 

But you may be wondering how long to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill. Largely, it depends on your turkey’s weight, just like conventional cooking. 

Food smoking in a HALO Prime pellet grill.

On average, you should smoke your turkey for about 30 minutes per pound. Just whatever you do: DO NOT open the lid. This will let all that tasty smoky flavor escape! 

Step 7A: Smoking Smaller Portions

If you’re cooking for just a couple of people, you may have purchased a smaller cut of meat for yourself. The process is largely the same. But to smoke a turkey breast on a pellet grill, simply smoke for a total cooking time of three hours. 

Step 8: Rest

Sorry, we’re talking about the turkey!  

Once your bird reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit on your meat thermometer, you’re good. It’s safe to remove the turkey. 

But don’t serve it right away. This will let the natural juices escape if you immediately cut into it. Instead, rest the cooked bird, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. 

Step 9: Enjoy

Ta-da! You’ve just smoked your first turkey! And what did we tell you? How to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill is pretty easy, right? 

We know you and your family are sure to enjoy this special treat, straight off of a sizzling pellet grill. 

Make Your Holiday Cooking Special with HALO Products

The best way to smoke turkey on a pellet grill is to use high end smoking and grilling tools. 

Don’t serve up a ho-hum feast this year. HALO can help elevate all of your meat smoking needs with tested, reliable, and high quality grilling products. Shop our Pellet Grills and Accessories

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