Home / How-To’s / Whole Turkey Basics / How to Smoke a Turkey

How to Smoke a Turkey

Use a smoker to cook turkey to perfection

What You Need:
• A 10 to 15 pound fresh or thawed turkey
• Foil pan for turkey
• Charcoal
• Apple or cherry wood chips (mild smoking woods are best with poultry)
• Charcoal smoker (Cooking times may vary in other smokers. Check your manual for instructions.)
The Night Before: Brine your turkey and refrigerate overnight.  Do not bine a turkey if the turkey has been enhanced with a solution.  Use JENNIE-O® All Natural* Fresh Whole Turkey, giblets and neck removed
The Next Morning:
1. Soak wood chips in water 1 hour
Prep your Smoker:
1.   Add newspaper to the bottom of your charcoal chimney (charcoal starter), and charcoal to the upper chamber.
2.   Light the newspaper, and let coals burn for 30 minutes.
3.   Open smoker vents all the way.
4.   Add coals to the bottom of smoker.
5.   Place lower grate in smoker, then add drip pan.
6.   Add 2 cups of water to drip pan. 
7.   Take turkey out of brine.  Discard brine; pat dry.
8.   Place upper grate in smoker, then add the turkey breast side-up.
9.   Cover the smoker, then add wood chips to the coals.
10. Check temperature often, and plan on 30-40 minutes per pound at 235˚F*.
11. Replace coal and wood chips every 1 1/2 hours.
12. After 4 hours, check drip pan and add water if needed.
13. Turkey is done when meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180˚F and 165°F.
14. Remove, and let stand for 20 minutes.
15. Carve, and enjoy.
*Cooking times may vary by smoker type. Check your manual.
Wash hands and all items that come into contact with uncooked turkey.

Find more whole turkey basics here.