To smoke a turkey in an electric smoker, brine, season, and stuff your turkey (if desired). Set your electric smoker to 225°F and add wood chips. Smoke the turkey breast side down, basting with butter and drippings every hour until the internal temperature of both the breast meat and legs reaches 165°F.
What is The Best Way to Smoke a Turkey in an Electric Smoker?
Smoking a turkey in an electric smoker is simple to do. Follow this step-by-step guide for the perfect smoked turkey!
Tools Needed to Make Turkey in an Electric Smoker
- Aluminum foil
- Butcher’s twine
- Electric smoker
- Meat thermometer
- Paper towels
- Turkey injector or baster (optional)
- Wood chips (hickory, oak, or cherry)
How to Prep Turkey for Smoking
Start by buying a whole turkey from your local butcher. If you wish to brine the turkey, do so the day before you smoke it. Remove the turkey from the brine, then pat it dry.
Fill the turkey’s cavity with aromatics such as a bundle of fresh herbs and quartered lemons if desired. Tie the turkey legs together with the butcher’s twine.
If you wish to inject it with marinade or butter, you can do so, or simply cover the bird with butter and a dry rub under the skin and on the outside of the turkey. You can keep the turkey rub simple. A typical mix includes kosher salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
After seasoning the bird, ensure you bring the turkey to room temperature before smoking.
Prepare the Electric Smoker
Preheat the electric smoker to 225°F. Once preheated, add the wood chips to the tray or box designated for them. Place the tray or box of wood chips in the smoker.
Smoke the Turkey
Place the turkey on the rack in the smoker. Close the lid and smoke the turkey until the internal temperature reaches 165°F – check by using a temperature probe. You can baste the turkey with a mixture of butter and seasonings halfway through the smoking time.
How Long to Rest Smoked Turkey
Once the turkey has reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and make the meat more tender. You can cover the turkey with aluminum foil to keep it warm while it rests.Print
What Wood is Best for Smoking Turkey in an Electric Smoker?
Many different types of wood can be used for smoking turkey.
Pick maple if you want a mild flavor that won’t overpower your turkey. Applewood and cherry are sweet, fruity, and soft types of wood that work great with poultry. Pecan is a nutty and sweet type of wood that is also a good choice for poultry.
Mesquite and hickory can be a little overpowering for white meat, as they can add a robust smoky flavor that can be overwhelming for mild meat.
It is important to note that some electric smokers do not have the option to add wood chips. You can skip this part if your electric smoker does not have this feature.
Target Internal Temperature for Smoked Turkey
Unlike other types of meat, poultry meat has to reach a higher temperature to ensure it’s safe to eat. Turkey meat has to have an internal temperature of 165°F.
Leave no room for error, and always check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke a Turkey in an Electric Smoker?
Smoking time can vary depending on factors like the size of the turkey and the temperature of your smoker. Here are some estimates:
|Turkey Weight (pounds)||Smoking Time (hours)|
|10 pounds||5-6 hours|
|12 pounds||6-7 hours|
|14 pounds||7-8 hours|
|16 pounds||8-9 hours|
|18 pounds||9-10 hours|
|20 pounds||10-11 hours|
Best Electric Smoker Temperature for Turkey
Typically, a low and slow cooking method is best for smoking turkey in an electric smoker. The best temperature range is between 225°F and 250°F.
Should Turkey Be Brined Before Smoking?
It is recommended to brine a turkey before smoking it, as brining helps to keep the meat moist and flavorful during the smoking process.
The salt in the brine helps to break down the proteins in the meat, making it more tender and moist and preventing it from drying out during the long smoking process. Additionally, a brined turkey will also help to reduce the amount of time it takes to cook.
Should Turkey be Wrapped While Smoking?
Wrapping turkey like brisket is not recommended as it can cause the skin to become soggy and prevent it from becoming the golden brown and crispy skin you’re looking for in poultry.
How Large of a Turkey Can You Fit in an Electric Smoker?
The size of a turkey that can fit in an electric smoker will depend on the specific model and size of the smoker.
Most electric smokers are generally designed to accommodate turkeys up to 14-16 pounds in size. Some larger electric smokers may be able to accommodate even bigger turkeys. Check the capacity of your smoker or size it up with a ruler.
You can also smoke a much larger turkey in your electric smoker by cutting it into smaller pieces and smoking the parts separately.