Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey will be your new favorite way to prepare for your Holiday feast! We start with a simple brine, then move to a herb rub, and smoke our turkey to perfection. Easy to do, and saves space in the oven. There really is no better way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey, then by smoking the turkey on a grill!!
With our newly acquired Big Green Egg from last Christmas, it was a no brainer that this year’s Thanksgiving MUST include a smoked turkey on the grill!! We decided to practice this past weekend, and if it was as delicious as anticipated, my plan was to share on the blog.
So you guys, guess what?!?!
You can tell it’s a beautiful bird, but what you can’t really tell, is just how smoky, tender, and delicious this turkey is. Simply nothing like it!!
I’m going to give you a step by step process to help you through the process.
How to prep a Smoked Turkey
- The obvious is that you need some type of smoker. A Big Green Egg grill, charcoal grill, or Traeger are all popular ways to smoke meat. I used our Green Egg, but have also done something similar on our Weber grill. You will also want to have some flavored wood chips such as hickory chips, apple chips, or pecan chips.
- Before brining, remove the giblets. The second important piece of this method is brining the turkey which helps to seal in moisture to the turkey (otherwise it can get very dry). There are several brines you can use (feel free to adapt to your own), I’ve given you a simple one below wit a few adaptations (fresh herbs for example). You will need to plan ahead and brine for about 12-18 hours, you can still brine for as little as 4 hours! You will need to have a large pot, bucket, or even a cooler to place the turkey in. Dry the turkey before adding the herb rub.
- For our green egg, we used a Rib and Roast Rack placed inside a roasting pan. I stuffed the the cavity with half an apple, half an onion, half an orange, and a few sprigs of rosemary. In the roasting pan, I poured some chicken broth, and also tossed in some diced celery, carrots, and onion. The roasting pan will collect all the yummy fat, and this mixture will make a delicious gravy!
- Before placing on the grill to smoke, we will also prepare an herb rub. You can use butter, ghee, avocado oil, olive oil, or coconut oil as the base. My combination of herbs was thyme, sage, and rosemary. I also used a poultry seasoning. Rub the entire turkey!! Be sure to get all the way under the wings too, this will create flavorful meat.
How long do you smoke the turkey?
For the green egg set to 325, the rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound of turkey. Our 14lb turkey should have taken around 3.5 hours. However, it was finished early! Right at the 2.5 hour mark. Be sure to have a digital thermometer to gauge the temperature. The turkey is done when the innermost part of the thigh and wing, and the thickest part of the breast reach 165 degrees F. The turkey continues to slowly cook even after pulling off the grill. We pulled off right at the 165 mark, and let it sit for over 30 minutes before carving.
What to serve with your smoked turkey
So this is my absolute favorite part: the side dishes!!! Here are some of my favorites:
- Roasted Cauliflower Rice Stuffing with Sausage
- Maple Balsamic Brussels sprouts with Cranberries and Bacon
- Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Vinaigrette
- Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole
- Spicy Green Bean and Mushroom Skillet
- Slow Cooker Cranberry and Pomegranate Sauce
- Maple Roasted Carrots
Enjoy friends, Happy Thanksgiving!!
Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey
- 1 12-16 lb Turkey giblet and neck removed
For the Brine
- 2 gallons cold water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 oranges thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp peppercorns
- 5 sprigs rosemary
For stuffing the turkey:
- 1 apple quartered
- 1 orange quartered
- 1 yellow onion quartered
- 2 sprigs rosemary
For the Herb Rub:
- 1 cup avocado oil, ghee, or butter
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped sage
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped thyme
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 2 cups turkey or chicken broth
- 3 carrots diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 large yellow onion diced
Prior to brining the turkey, be sure to thaw it out. This could take up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
To make the brine: in a large pot combine all ingredients for the brine. Cook over medium high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely. Completely submerge the turkey in the brine using a large pot, bucket, cooler, or brining bag. Refrigerate for 4-24 hours. I recommend somewhere between 12-18 hours.
Remove the turkey from the brine and pat completely dry. Prepare the smoker grill by preheating the grill to 325 degrees.
Stuff the turkey with the apple, orange, onion, and rosemary.
Prepare the rub by ensuring the butter or ghee is melted, then add the fresh herbs and poultry seasoning. Liberally rub the turkey all over, to include under the wings.
Prepare the roasting pan by pouring in broth and adding in carrot, celery, and onion. Place the Rib and Roast Rack in the roasting pan. Place the rubbed turkey on top.
Transfer the roasting pan to the grill. Ensure that a digital thermometer is set properly for best results. Roast for 10-15 minutes per pound of the turkey. The turkey is done when the breast reaches 165 degrees. Remember that the internal temperature will continue to rise a bit when pulled out of the smoker.
Let rest for 30 minutes before carving and serving.