Thanksgiving Turkey: Smoked

Contribution by Kendrick Kotter

With the Thanksgiving holidays just around the corner, now it is time to start thinking and planning what you are going to prepare for your friends and family.

How are you going to cook the Thanksgiving Turkey this year? Are you going for the traditional roasting way? Or are you thinking to try a new recipe and experiment a bit? Why not try smoking it? Smoking will bring out the flavor and texture of the meat to a whole different level.

But, just like any cooking method, there are certain things you need to have in mind when it comes to smoking the Thanksgiving Turkey.

After you choose your turkey, it all starts with thawing the bird safely. Most people go for a frozen turkey, but you need to make sure it is thawed out thoroughly, so the smoking/grilling happens as expected. There are three safe ways to thaw a turkey, leaving it in the refrigerator, placing in cold water or microwave.

Should you brine it or not? After you thaw it completely, some people prefer to brine it. I recommend to not brine it, as it’s not worth the time and the effort, because smoking moisture help flavor the meat and eliminates the need for brining ahead.

But, if you still want to brine it, here it’s a quick Gluten-Free Turkey Brine Recipe:


  • 2 Gallons of Water
  • 1 head Garlic or 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Cup Salt & 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 4 tbsp Sage
  • 2 Lemons
  • Any additional herbs of your liking

To prepare the brine, just combine all the ingredients, place them in medium-heat and stir well. After the sugar dissolves, wait until the brine it’s cooled and then place the turkey, leaving it overnight in the brine.

Now it’s time to cook/smoke it. Smoking a turkey required patience and regularly checking the temperature in order to maintain the recommended levels. You want the turkey to reach the recommended internal temperature of 165°F in order to be perfectly smoked. (See the infographic for detailed internal smoking temperatures for separate turkey parts)

After the cooking and a happy, turkey-filled Thanksgiving holiday meal, now it is time to put the leftovers away for later. Within two hours of pulling the bird out of smoker/grill, you need to pack it up and put it in the freezer or refrigerator for later use.

So, with all these steps in mind, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Why not take a deeper look at the infographic below from FuriousGrill, which should give you a better all round guide to make a perfect Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey.

Enjoy a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving feast!