How to Smoke a Turkey in a Wood Pellet Grill

People often assume that smoked turkey brings a warm and fabulous feeling like the way they have to prepare together and make it. Many different recipes, but grilled on firewood is the most chosen way because of the flavor it brings.

The highlight of the meal on these festive days is a crisp, tasty, perfectly brown roast turkey at the center of the table. When everyone is looking forward to trying a bite of this dish, let me show you how to smoke a turkey in a wood pellet grill.



  • Turkey:  We should buy an unfrozen turkey for better taste. If you choose frozen one, it should be fresh or thawed, neck and giblets removed and set aside. About the amount, the 15-20pound turkey is enough for 4 people.
  • Brine seasoning: It should be 2 gallons (7.5L) of water, a cup of black peppercorn 4 cups of salt and sugar, one bulb of garlic and your option of fresh herb (rosemary, thyme, lavender, etc...).
  • Cooler recipe: 3 pockets of ice, 1 gallon of apple cider (3.8 L), and four slices of lemon and oranges.
  • Marinated spices: They include 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,  2 cups of kosher salt, 2 teaspoons of dried thyme, 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary and 1 teaspoon of dried sage. The amount of the herb depends on your requirements. Above is the reference quantity.
  • Olive oil: You should have from 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. The reason which I choose olive oil is common and healthy. But you can use another oil like peanut oil or canola oil if you want.
  • Wood: You will need 2-3 wood chunks, alder, apple or cherry wood and 1 large handful wood chips like alder, apple, or cherry wood.

Kitchen tools

  • Cooler: It should be large enough to hold the brine itself, the turkey and 3 bags of ice.
  • Saucepan: You will boil the brine in this one so make sure that the size of the saucepan matches the amount of brine you make.
  • Cutting board and knife: It will be easier for you when having these tools to cut the ingredients.
  • Thermometer(Optional): The concern about proper time will be no longer exist.
  • Spoon: It will help you to mix the brine perfectly.
  • Bowl: Due to hygiene and food safety, you need to have a place to put the spices and other ingredients.
  • Spice brusher: It will help you to impregnate evenly on the turkey surface and also guarantee the quality.
  • Dish: After cooking, you will serve your food in that dish.

Step-by-step guide you need to read it carefully

In this instruction, I will divide into 2 parts: Prepping the turkey and Smoking the turkey.

Part I: Prepping the turkey

1. Wash the turkey

Clean the turkey inside out by water. Make sure that it doesn’t have any organs left in the cavity. Dry it by air or padding.


2. Brine the turkey

A combination of salt, sugar, and herbs called a brine that are going to add moisture to a turkey during through the cooking procedure. Before smoking, you will need to steep your turkey for 24 hours.

  • Step 1: Boil 2 gallons of water in a saucepan and then, put in4 cups of sugar and of salt, one cup of black pepper corns, one bulb of garlic, and some herbs. Heat up and put in sugar and salt to dissolve totally. Let it soak about 5 minutes.
  • Step 2: Add the brine into cooler filled up with 3 pockets of ice. To get more flavor, add 4 slices of lemon and oranges and a big bottle of apple cider (3.8 L).
  • Step 3Place turkey breast down to the bottom of the water and make sure that your turkey completely submerged in that liquid.
  • Step 4: Cover and keep it overnight, at least 23 hours, rotating your turkey every 5 to 11 hours. Make sure to maintain the temperature below 40 degrees by adding additional ice through bringing produce.

3. Dry the turkey after bringing

After 24 hours, remove the turkey from the brine and dry inside out with tower or let it air dry.

4. Marinate the turkey

You will marinate the turkey skin to make it bolder

  • Step 1: Mix all the marinated spices evenly.
  • Step 2: Brush the turkey inside out with olive oil first and then rub it with the marinated spices

Part II: Smoking the turkey

1. Set up the smoker grill rack.

To keep the turkey from sticking, you should line the rungs of the rack by foil or apply oil in it.


2. Strike a light in your smoker

Because you need to wait about 45 minutes to reach the ideal temperature for smoking turkey (between 2200F and 2400F), you should take note to do this before smoke your turkey.

3. Add wood

Add wood chips to a large bowl filled with bourbon to soaking them. Once you've lit the smoker and it is prepared for cooking, put your soaked wood chips in the smoker.

Note: You can able to choose what kind of soaking liquid suitable for each wood. Like you're using Apple wood chips, you can try apple cider or even water.


4. Lay the turkey on the smoker

Once the wood has turned into the coal's color and the smoker got the wished temperature, lay the turkey in the smoker! Under your turkey, you should put a pan to gather any drippings.


Note: To avoid burning the turkey too much, you should lay the turkey far away the direct heat, it should be on the side of the smoker.

5. Check the time and preserve the heat of smoker

The smoke color and flavor of your turkey will be seen only after a few hours of smoking. Notice the smoker each hour to keep the temperature and smoker around 230oC. In this process, you may add some more water or wood chips to preserve the constant temperature.


Note: If the temperature dips higher or lower, it’s not a huge deal. But make sure it doesn’t stay that way too long.

6. Calculate the cooking time.

Normally, the smoker will smoke at least 35 minutes each pound. The cooking time will be changing based on temperature outside and your smoker.


7. Take out the turkey

When the inner temperature reaches 1650F (740C) for doneness, bring it out the smoker. Keep it rest at least 20 minutes before cutting because it helps the juice resolve in the turkey, maintain the moisture taste when you carve it.


8. Finished

Your turkey has been completed. Put on the disk and enjoy your turkey with the additional dish like cranberry sauce, candied yams, green beans, mashed potatoes, etc...

Important Tips for Smoking the Turkey

  • If you have the choice of buying turkeys, be smart shoppers when choosing fresh and non-frozen ones. This will not disappoint you because of the freshness and richness of the turkey.
  • Be sure to brine your turkey before cooking and keep it for at least 24 hours then take it out because of the change and loss of taste of the turkey
  • Use a digital thermometer. You worry about measure the time and temperature of the turkey? A thermometer is a thing that you shouldn't ignore while smoking. To determine whether it's cooked or uncooked, get one thermometer nearby.
  • Don't always check the turkey. Sometimes you want to show off your turkey. But let the turkey be, or it will never finish cooking. Again having a thermometer will save your turkey.
  • Let it rest. It’s the best to leave your turkey about 30 minutes after cooking. So the juices will stay in the meat when carving.
  • Have fun. Even if your dish is not perfect as expected, it will bring you joy and happiness when sharing with the family. Don’t upset about it and enjoy your dish.


So you've got an effective receipt for this Thanksgiving season, your family will be grateful if you favor them with a delicious smoked turkey. The steps above can be changed or modified to suit your taste and purpose.

I hope this instruction is helping you determine how to smoke a turkey in a wood pellet grill. If you have any question, please let us know by leaving your comment in the box below. Thank you for reading and have a good day!

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