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How Long to Smoke a Turkey

As soon as one hears the word turkey, the first thing that pops up in their head would be Thanksgiving. People serve turkey as the main dish for Thanksgiving dinners.

The whole bird is cooked with flavoring agents like herbs, salt, pepper, and spices and also any kind of fat to make it richer and to get the perfect crispy skin. How long to smoke a turkey? We will see in the following sections.

Turkey is either roasted in an oven, fried in the oil, or smoked in a smoker. Smoking is the best way to cook a turkey because it makes sure to cook the big bird throughout, thereby giving a rich flavor to the entire meat. The flavoring aspect can be intensified by brining the turkey enough before smoking it.

How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Turkey

Before we start learning about the timing and how to smoke a turkey and how long to smoke a turkey, we need to know that smoking is the best way to cook any meat.

This is because all the flavors of the herbs and spices intertwined with the smoke will get infused into the meat.

If a person is a beginner at smoking meat, the best meat to start with is a turkey. Also, smoking a turkey is one of the best outdoor activities for adults on a nice, sunny day.

Ingredients Needed for Smoking a Turkey

Any recipe whether the dish is cooked, baked, grilled, or smoked needs proper ingredients.

After getting all the ingredients all one has to think about is how long does it take to smoke a turkey. The basic ingredients needed to smoke a turkey are the following:

Primarily, we need the turkey; it’s a personal choice to decide how much the turkey should weigh.

Other ingredients include garlic cloves, salt, black pepper, butter, apple, onion, carbonated soda, seasoned salt, and garlic powder.

Prepping Time for Smoking Turkey

Any recipe would call for a prepping time because not everything is ready to use. For example, one has to chop the vegetables, peel the garlic, prepare the marinade, etc.

As part of the prep work, we should consider the prepping time also.

Here are the steps needed for prepping up to cook smoked turkey:

  • The first thing to prep should be the smoker. The smoker should be preheated to 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Then we need to start rinsing the turkey. After a thorough cleaning, pat dry it properly to erase all traces of moisture.
  • After prepping the bird for smoking, how long to smoke a turkey is the only question remaining, and with this question comes up another question, that is how long to smoke a turkey per pound. We will know the answers to these in the following sections.
  • We can use any type of wood for smoking turkey but mild fruitwoods are great options. You can opt for classic hickory as well.
  • Season the turkey with garlic, seasoned salt, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and butter.
  • Stuff the ingredients like apple, onion, garlic cloves, and soda in the bird’s cavity before proceeding to smoke it properly.

Directions to Follow to Smoke a Turkey

There are quite a lot of things we need to think about while deciding to smoke a turkey. Two of the major factors are the weight of the bird and the pertaining weather.

Red meats are the ones that need a longer time to cook because their fat has to melt. This fat then gets spread throughout the meat, making the dish delicious.

On the other hand, lean meat doesn’t need much time to cook because it doesn’t render as much as fat as red meat does. So, all it needs is 30 to 40 minutes per pound of the bird. We hope this answers your question on how long to smoke a turkey per pound.

It’s always advisable to check on the bird, once every two hours, to make sure there’s no burning or overcooking at any one of the specific parts.

Cooking Time for Each Part of Turkey

An average-sized full bird would take about 4 hours in a smoker to get smoked, whereas a large bird would take up to 6 hours.

Set the smoker to about 240-degree Fahrenheit. Let the temperature remain at this level throughout the whole time until the final internal temperature in the thickest part of the bird registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you’re smoking the bird by parts, set the smoker to 250 degrees F and smoke at about 30 to 40 minutes per pound for cooking turkey breasts. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit for you to stop cooking.

To cook turkey legs, you need to set the smoker at 225 degrees F and smoke for 4 hours or until the internal temperature of the legs reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

For smoking turkey wings, set the smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and smoke for 1 to 2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The above paragraph answers the question of how long to smoke a turkey at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Smoking Turkey in Harsh Weather Conditions

Turkey is a dish that’s specifically made during Thanksgiving and depending on which country one spends this holiday, it’s almost impossible to be sure of the weather.

To protect the smoker from cold weather one can shield the smoker, outfit the smoker with a welding blanket, and even insulate it.

A Brined Turkey or a No-Brine Turkey for Smoking

Brining of turkey is done so that the flavors would infuse into the meat and make the meat juicier than before.

Nevertheless, when smoking a turkey, y9ou don’t have to brine the meat at all. We can directly place the turkey in the smoker and start the smoking process.

This no-brine method of cooking the turkey leads to a lot of savings in terms of time and effort.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many ways of cooking smoked turkey in your home. Many recipes have been created using smoked turkey.

It’s one of the easiest meats to smoke even for a beginner.

So, next time when you want to serve smoked meat to your guests, but you’re running out of time, you can prepare smoked turkey quickly and surprise them.

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