How to smoke a turkey

Get an amazing smoked flavor while leaving your oven free for other dishes. Follow the instructions below for a water or electric smoker and get a taste unlike any other.

How to smoke a turkey

Water Smoker

Smoking Tip

For food safety, your turkey must pass through a critical range of 40° F to 140° F in 4 hours or less. If the internal temperature is low after 3½ hours, take your turkey off the smoker and finish it in the oven.

Electric Smoker

  1. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for preparing the smoker.
  2. Prepare an 8 to 18 lb. thawed or fresh turkey by removing the giblets and neck draining the juices, and drying with paper towels. The turkey should be completely thawed for even, safe cooking.
  3. Do not stuff your turkey. Brush the skin with vegetable oil and insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into lower thigh.
  4. Set the smoker to 225° F. Place the turkey on a cooking rack and cook for 8 to 12 hours or until the inner thigh temperature reaches 180° F.
  5. Check the temperature of your turkey after 3½ hours. Your turkey must pass through a critical range of 40° F to 140° F in 4 hours or less. If the internal temperature is low after 3½ hours, take your turkey off the smoker and finish it in the oven.
  6. Cover the turkey and chill or let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

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Grilling Techniques

During a recent editorial meeting, our Vermont-based Business Development Manager, the invaluable Molly Kay confided that this will be the first Thanksgiving she’ll be cooking a turkey. Because so many people will not physically be able to share the holiday with friends and loved ones, we suspect many people will, like Molly Kay, be confronting their first Thanksgiving turkey.

Instead of mourning the traditions of Thanksgivings past—things will be different this year for nearly all of us—create some new ones. If you’ve never attempted it before, do the turkey on the grill or smoker. Not only will you free up valuable kitchen real estate, but you’ll transform an ordinary roast turkey into something extraordinary! It’s much easier than it looks, and produces a bird with crisp golden-brown skin and moist, succulent meat perfumed with wood smoke. Don’t be afraid: You’ve got this.

Because food shortages seem to pop up indiscriminately, reserve your fresh turkey now, or pick up a frozen one while they’re still plentiful. (They were when we checked this week.) You’d also be wise to procure fresh cranberries (they freeze well), chicken or turkey broth, butter, canned or fresh pumpkin, puff pastry, prepared pie crusts, or anything else you consider essential to the Thanksgiving feast. Fresh herbs could be in short supply as we get close to Thanksgiving, but commercial poultry seasoning is still on shelves. And if you can’t find something, be flexible.

Don’t forget charcoal, gas, wood, or wood chips or chunks! Hickory, pecan, or fruitwoods like apple or cherry all go well with turkey and side dishes.

And now, about that turkey.

Thawing Frozen Turkey

If you acquire a frozen bird, you’ll need to allow at least 1 day of thaw time for every 3 pounds of turkey, meaning a 12-pound turkey will take 4 days. (Some websites, such as that run by turkey behemoth Butterball, suggests 1 day for every 4 pounds. That is not sufficient time in my experience. Maybe my refrigerator runs cold.) Leave the bird in its original wrapping and rest it in a large pan to contain any leaks. Never thaw your turkey (or any other meat) on the countertop at room temperature.

Fresh or thawed turkeys will need an additional 2 days if you opt to brine them—and Steven and I recommend that you do for the most flavorful and succulent meat.

How to Dry-Brine Turkey for Smoke-Roasting

To dry-brine, evenly apply kosher salt—approximately 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 pounds of turkey. Don’t forget the main and neck cavities. (Remove any giblets that might be hidden there and save for stock or another use.) Refrigerate the turkey for 2 days, turning it once. There is no need to rinse it before cooking. If desired, you can add dried herbs or spices to the salt to make a quick rub.

How to Wet-Brine Turkey for Smoke-Roasting

To make a simple wet brine (an alternative to dry-brining), bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a pot large enough to hold the turkey and the brine. Add 1 1/2 cups of kosher salt and stir until dissolved. Stir in 6 quarts of ice water. Refrigerate until cold. Submerge the bird in the brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Remove the turkey from the brine and drain. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. (For a really memorable turkey, try Steven’s double-whiskey variation on a traditional brine. Click here for the recipe.

How to Smoke-Roast Turkey on the Grill

On T-Day, set up your charcoal grill for indirect grilling. Place a drip pan underneath the grill grate between the two piles of coals. Heat the grill to 350 degrees. If desired, place a wood chunk on each pile of coals, or substitute handfuls (about 3/4 cup each) of wood chips, soaked and drained. If using a gas grill, set it up for indirect grilling and preheat to 350 degrees. When ready to cook, place 1 or 2 wood chunks over the burners directly under the grill grate, or place soaked wood chips in your grill’s smoker box. If using a smoker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to smoke a turkey

Tuck the wings behind the back of the bird. Rub the outside of the turkey with softened butter. Season with chopped fresh herbs, poultry seasoning, or paprika. If desired, tuck a couple of peeled onions or a few sprigs of fresh herbs into the main cavity of the bird. (We do not recommend stuffing the bird. Instead, serve the stuffing from a casserole. Here’s one of our favorite recipes. Tie the legs together with butcher’s string (optional).

Place the turkey directly on the grill grate over the drip pan. You’ll want to catch those flavorful drippings for gravy. Close the lid. Smoke-roast the turkey, replenishing the fuel as needed; there is no need to add wood chunks or chips after the first hour. You do not want your first turkey to taste like it survived a smoky house fire.

Continue to roast the turkey until the skin is beautifully browned and the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees on an instant-read digital thermometer. This will take about 2 1/2 hours for a 10- to 12-pound turkey.

Carefully transfer the turkey to a platter (if you want a Rockwell-esque presentation) or a large cutting board. Let it rest for 20 minutes—ample time for you to make the gravy. Carve, serve, and enjoy the compliments!

More Thanksgiving Grilling Tips and Recipes:

  • The Secrets To The Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever
  • 10 Essential Tools For Your Best Thanksgiving Yet
  • Menu For A Small Thanksgiving Gathering

Are you cooking your Thanksgiving meal on the grill or smoker? Share your Thanksgiving ideas with us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram!

How to smoke a turkey

How to smoke a turkey

Whether it is for your Thanksgiving dinner or on any other day of the year, here is a simple guide on how to smoke a turkey. This recipe also includes brining, which will result in a great smoke and a delicious meal.

How To Smoke A Turkey Video Tutorial

Brine Ingredients

  • 2 Quarts Orange Juice
  • 2 Quarts Apple Juice
  • 2 Cups Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 10 Allspice Cloves (whole)
  • 1 Gallon Water

The first part of the process is the brine. For this, get a large container, preferably a cooler (or something else with thermal insulation) and mix the brine ingredients in there (see above).

Remove the turkey’s insides and clean it, then place it inside the brine. Let it soak up the flavors of the brine overnight (12-18 hours).

When the turkey is done brining, it’s time to fire up the smoker ! Get it up to temperature (225F). Make sure that you are not producing a lot of white smoke. This will give a bitter taste to your Turkey. You want a thin wisp of smoke.

Smoking Your Turkey

A good rule of thumb for smoking turkey is 30 minutes per pound of smoking. It is very important that you do not overcook the turkey, therefore a high quality and reliable meat thermometer will come in very handy on this cook or any cook where you’re using low and slow smoke.

The turkey will be ready when the breast (White Meat) reaches 160 and the thigh/leg (Dark Meat) reaches 180. Once the Turkey reaches these temps, pull the bird out and let it rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.

Smoking A Turkey Related Recipes

Smoked Turkey Recipes: 2 Turkeys 2 Ways If a citrus infused buttered smoked turkey sounds good to you or your simple traditionally rubbed smoked turkey then be sure to watch this entire video for some ideas on your holiday smoked turkey this year .
Honey Brined Smoked Chicken Thighs If you have never brined anything, well, you need to! Brining is very easy, it keeps your smoked chicken thighs extremely moist and it takes the flavor of your meat to a whole new level. The recipe is super easy.

How to smoke a turkey

How to smoke a turkey

Whether it is for your Thanksgiving dinner or on any other day of the year, here is a simple guide on how to smoke a turkey. This recipe also includes brining, which will result in a great smoke and a delicious meal.

How To Smoke A Turkey Video Tutorial

Brine Ingredients

  • 2 Quarts Orange Juice
  • 2 Quarts Apple Juice
  • 2 Cups Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 10 Allspice Cloves (whole)
  • 1 Gallon Water

The first part of the process is the brine. For this, get a large container, preferably a cooler (or something else with thermal insulation) and mix the brine ingredients in there (see above).

Remove the turkey’s insides and clean it, then place it inside the brine. Let it soak up the flavors of the brine overnight (12-18 hours).

When the turkey is done brining, it’s time to fire up the smoker ! Get it up to temperature (225F). Make sure that you are not producing a lot of white smoke. This will give a bitter taste to your Turkey. You want a thin wisp of smoke.

Smoking Your Turkey

A good rule of thumb for smoking turkey is 30 minutes per pound of smoking. It is very important that you do not overcook the turkey, therefore a high quality and reliable meat thermometer will come in very handy on this cook or any cook where you’re using low and slow smoke.

The turkey will be ready when the breast (White Meat) reaches 160 and the thigh/leg (Dark Meat) reaches 180. Once the Turkey reaches these temps, pull the bird out and let it rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.

Smoking A Turkey Related Recipes

Smoked Turkey Recipes: 2 Turkeys 2 Ways If a citrus infused buttered smoked turkey sounds good to you or your simple traditionally rubbed smoked turkey then be sure to watch this entire video for some ideas on your holiday smoked turkey this year .
Honey Brined Smoked Chicken Thighs If you have never brined anything, well, you need to! Brining is very easy, it keeps your smoked chicken thighs extremely moist and it takes the flavor of your meat to a whole new level. The recipe is super easy.

Last updated on July 17, 2019 by Raymond

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without the star of the meal – the turkey! But for some people, perfecting their turkey recipe can seem like a challenge. Thankfully, pellet grills can help you make your own delicious smoked turkey. Pellet grills are those types of grills that produce heat with the help of wood pellets. These grills smoke your turkey perfectly, giving it a rich and smoky flavor. The flavor will usually depend on the type of wood pellets that you’re going to use. If you’re not sure how to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill, then here are some tips to help you with it.

How to smoke a turkey

How to Turkey On A Pellet Grill

So here’s how to smoke your turkey using a pellet grill.

  1. First, you need to set the grill to the right temperature, which should be around 275°F. You can choose to increase the temperature to as much as 325 °F if you want to ensure that the inside parts are fully cooked.
  2. Next, place the turkey in an aluminum pan. Although it’s also possible to place it directly into the grates, placing it into the disposable pan can help to prevent the turkey from getting dry. When placing the turkey in the pellet grill, make sure you place it in a way that the breast is facing up since this is its thickest part. Otherwise, the turkey will be undercooked.
  3. Refer to your timer and set it to 90 minutes. When the timer goes off, set the temperature to 350 °F and leave the turkey to cook for 60-90 minutes more in order to allow for the smoke flavor to be seeped by the meat.

In order for the skin to be crispy, try to use two different temperature settings. Check the internal temperature of the turkey by using a meat thermometer. When the temperature is at least 170 °F, then that means the bird is already cooked. Make sure to place the thermometer at the thickest portion of the poultry.

FAQ

How Long Does It Take to Smoke a 12 Pound Turkey at 225 Degrees?

  • If you are smoking a 12-pound turkey at a low temperature between the temperature range of 225 and 250 degrees, you can expect for it to be cooked around 6 hours. That’s because, in this range, the turkey is expected to smoke one pound in every 30 minutes.

How Do You Smoke a Turkey on a Traeger Grill?

  • First, take the turkey out from the fridge. Remove the giblet, tuck the wings, and then truss the legs. To start cooking, simply set the Traeger grill to 225 °F and preheat the grill. Make sure that the lid is closed and it should remain that way for around 15 minutes. Then place the turkey at the roasting pan and into the grate of the grill. Cook until the temperature reaches 100-110°F.

How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Turkey in a Smoker?

  • When smoking an entire turkey, you should ideally set the smoker to 240 °F. The cooking time will depend upon its weight, which is 30 to 40 minutes per pound. Thus, an 8-pound turkey should approximately take around 4 hours!

How Long Does It Take to Smoke a Turkey at 275 Degrees?

  • For a temperature of 275 degrees, it’s recommended to cook the turkey for around 20 to 25 minutes per pound. Therefore, if you’re smoking an 8-pound turkey, it should be done in 3 hours or less. Make sure you let the smoked turkey cool before you brine it.

Also read how to cook on pellet grill here :

Smoking a turkey is absolutely the best way to cook a whole turkey. The flavors can’t be beat and it is so juicy and so moist that you will never cook your holiday turkeys in the oven – or the fryer – ever again.

Most people don’t get to have the luxury of having a perfectly smoked turkey, but with your smoker and this recipes. you can produce the turkey that will have everyone bragging on your BBQ skills.

I have tried about every method there is for cooking turkey – from roasting it to deep frying it, but slow-smoking a turkey is the way to go. I have never had another turkey – from anywhere – that was as as moist and delicious as when I smoke it.

I like to brine my turkeys for 24 hours prior to smoking. If you want to skip the brine, it will turn out just fine. I do think that the brine creates a moister turkey and I highly recommend it if you have the time.

Brine for Smoked Turkey:

  • 2 gallons of tap water
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Molasses
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 1 ВЅ cup Salt
  • Вј cup Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub
  • 3-4 Bay Leaves
  • Fresh Thyme Bundle
  • 1 Tbsp Whole Peppercorns

In a large stock pot bring 1 gallon of water to a boil and add the brown sugar, molasses, honey, bbq rub, and bay leaves. Once the ingredients have dissolved turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool. I make this the night before and refrigerate until time to brine.

Place the turkey in a large plastic bag then place it in a cooler. (If you can find the XL storage Ziplock bags, they will work the best. but in a pinch I have used a new kitchen trash bag)

Pour the brine over the turkey and add the other 1 gallon of water. Make sure you have the bag already in cooler because it makes this process a lot easier. The turkey should be submerged in the liquid.

Now you just have to keep your turkey cold for 24 hours.. so you will need some ice and you will need to replenish the ice as it melts. If it’s cold outside I always keep my cooler in my garage. this just keeps the ice from melting as fast.

Of course, if you have a big enough pot you can skip the bag and the cooler and just put the turkey straight into your refrigerator, but my wife isn’t willing to give up that much space in our frig this time of year.

Now that your turkey has brined for 24 hours, it’s time to wash it. You want to make sure you wash it very good and remove any pieces inside the cavity and neck.

Cut a couple apples in half and stuff in the cavity. I also add onion and celery. This will add mass to the turkey helping it cook even and gives it some additional flavor.

To season the turkey skin I use a mixture of:

  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Poultry Seasoning

First spray the outside of the turkey with cooking spray to help the seasonings stick to the skin and keep the outside from getting to dark. Apply the seasoning mix to the outside making sure to cover everything; then apply a light layer of Killer Hog’s The BBQ Rub.

The next step is to inject the turkey. You can use a store bought injection like Tony’s Creole Butter, but I created my own version. Here’s the recipe:

Turkey Butter Injection

  • 1 stick real butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 TbspВ hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning (I used Louisiana brand)

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and add the chicken broth, hot sauce, garlic, and Cajun seasoning. Whisk the ingredients together and remove from heat once incorporated. It doesn’t need to come to a boil.

Let the injection cool and shoot it into the turkey. You can check out the BDI Injector I used in my video here >> Hit the breast in 3-4 locations on each side and do the same for the legs and thighs. Before placing the turkey on the smoker, use butcher twine to secure the legs and wings.

Let your bird come to room temp (about 30 – 45 minutes) and then it’s time for it to go on the smoker.

Your smoker needs to be up to operating temp (275 – 300) and then you can place the turkey on a rack – breast side up.

Setting your temp higher (at 275 – 300 degrees) allows you to get a skin that is more crispy than it is rubbery.

It normally takes about 3 – 3 1/2 hours to get it to the proper internal temp, but as you know some cookers cook differently.

Different people will tell you to cook your turkey to all different temps. some say 165, 170 or even 185.

Really, it’s a personal preference. I want to take mine to 165 and then let it rest. Larger birds may need to go to higher temps but 185 would be way too much in my opinion. If you can grab the leg and it feels like it’s coming off, it’s done.

To make your life a lot easier – every BBQ’er and griller needs a Thermapen – an instant-read thermometer.В And using a DOT (probe thermometer) will allow you to monitor the Turkey while you cook and even set toВ alarm when it hits the right internal temp.

When you stick the turkey, juices should run out clear. There should be no trace of blood or pink colored liquid.

I start checking the internal about the 2 ½ hour mark just to see where it is. At this point if the outside is starting to get dark, I’ll lay a piece of aluminum foil over it. The foil acts as a tent and will prevent the skin from browning any further.

Once I see a temp of 165 in the thickest part of the breast and the juices are running clear out of the thigh (175 internal), the turkey is done.

В

Tips for Smoking Whole Turkeys:

  • You can baste your turkey with apple juice every few hours to give it more flavor and keep it really moist. but it is not necessary, just an added step you can follow if you have the extra time.

I let my turkey smoke for 2 hours, then check my coals and then take a look-see at the bird. If it looks dark, give it a good spray. If it looks fine, check it out in another 30 min. or so.

Keep a good smoke on it the entire time and start checking the internal temp after 1 ВЅ hrs. If you do notice that the turkey is getting darker than you want it, Take a big piece of aluminum foil and tent the bird. This will keep it from getting any darker.

Remove the turkey once you get it to the proper internal temp and allow it to rest before carving. If you don’t let it rest, all of the juice will run out when you start carving resulting in a dry turkey.

How to smoke a turkey

Almost every American is well acquainted with an oven-roasted Thanksgiving turkey, but smoking it adds a great new depth of flavor, such as sweet and smokey. Smoking is also a great way to keep the meat juicy. Here we provide some tips and tricks for smoking your own turkey.

How to smoke a Turkey

Before you start there are a few basic things you’re going to need. The basic tools you need for smoking a turkey are a smoker (or grill), some wood chips with which to smoke, and a remote probe thermometer for measuring temperature. With some easy steps, you’ll be smoking a turkey in no time.

Step 1: Make the brine

How to smoke a turkey

The purpose of brining is to enhance the flavor and to increase tenderness by making the turkey juicier. Combine some basic brine ingredients such as water, a medium tart apple (sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces), kosher salt, maple syrup, bay leaves, cider vinegar, and whole peppercorns in a pot and boil. Remove from the heat when the salt has dissolved and add ice cubes to cool the brine down.

Step 2: Brine the turkey

How to smoke a turkey

Put the turkey into an oven roasting bag (or two, which will prevent leakage) and add the brine. After squeezing out the air, close the bags, put them in a roasting tin, and put this in the fridge for about 12 hours. You can add some empty glasses in the roasting tin to help push the liquid over the turkey so the whole bird is covered with the brine.

Step 3: Fire up the smoker or grill

How to smoke a turkey

The wood chips shouldn’t burn, but should smolder instead. For this, first soak them in water for about 30 minutes prior to smoking. Preheat your grill or smoker to 275°F to 300°F. Once the desired temperature is reached, add the wood chips to your smoker by carefully following the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 3: Prepare the turkey for smoking

How to smoke a turkey

If you don’t prepare your turkey correctly, you won’t get the best results. Take out the turkey from the fridge and bags and rinse it with cold water, then dry. Add whatever ingredients you like inside the turkey and tie up the drumsticks. Coat the bird with your favorite dry rub.

Step 4: Smoke the turkey

How to smoke a turkey

The turkey should be placed breast-side up inside the grill. You can place it in between two foil roasting pans. Now smoke the turkey with indirect heat for about three and a half hours. When the thickest part of the turkey is 175°F, then it’s finished.

Step 5: Let it rest

How to smoke a turkey

Once your turkey is done, take if off the grill and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This is crucial so that the juices don’t all run out. You can cover the turkey with foil to keep the heat in while it is resting.

How long does it take to smoke a turkey?

As with all smoking, the idea is to do it over a low heat for a long time. The timing will vary depending on how big the turkey is, but a guideline is to smoke 15 to 20 minutes per pound of bird at a temperature of about 275°F to 300°F. Thus, you are looking at about 3 hours or so for your average sized bird.

What is the temperature for smoked turkey?

How to smoke a turkey

A better, and easier, measure to determine when the turkey is done is to smoke until the internal temperature of the bird is a consistent 175°F or so. It is important that the bird reaches this temperature in the thickest parts to ensure that the whole thing is properly cooked.

A Few Useful Tips for The Best Smoked Turkey

To prevent your turkey from drying out, make sure that you smoke it at the correct temperature. Also, be sure not to overcook it, so remember to check the internal temperature! That way it will come out its best. It’s not necessary to wrap the whole turkey in foil, since this will prevent the smoke from properly curing it and will potentially deflect too much heat.

You can use pretty much any wood that you like, but apple wood chips are probably one of the best to try out, especially if it’s your first time smoking a turkey. Apple wood chips are not too expensive and add great flavor to the bird. Other winners are cherry, pecan or maple wood, but it’s best to avoid mesquite since it can have quite an overpowering flavor.

How much Smoked turkey per person?

How to smoke a turkey

A pound of turkey is more than enough per person, so you will easily be able to make 12 servings from an average sized bird, which is about 11-pounds or so. But you can scale it up or down as you see fit: there is nothing wrong with having some leftovers for the next day!

What to serve with Smoked turkey?

As long as you keep in mind that turkey is the quintessential Thanksgiving ingredient, then it is easy to see that pretty much any traditional Thanksgiving side will go well with smoked turkey: green bean casserole, cornbread, stuffing, brussels sprouts, or even creamy mashed potato. The plus side of having smoked turkey is that you can also include traditional BBQ sides like grilled. That way you can easily just add them to the grill for even less effort.

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How to smoke a turkey

Written by Mike Lang

The last turkey I smoked was during one of our Weber product photo shoots earlier this year. It was a huge bird, and if it turned out anything like the turkey we had smoked a few days prior, it was destined to be the star of the holiday dinner scene. Sadly, I never got a bite, and worse, the turkey never even made it to the set.

It was the last shot of the day, and bad weather was moving in. We were scrambling. The real family, who was the talent of the scene, had just sat down when bam – the storm hit. In fact, it was not just a storm, it was a microburst, or rather a non-rotating tornado.

As the crew raced for cover in the backyard, our grill camp in the front drive turned to wet chaos. We dropped our pop-up tents, stashed our supplies into trucks, and got wet, real wet. Branches fell down around us, and the power went out in the neighborhood we were shooting in. To put it professionally, it was nuts.

As we waited for the weather to pass, which it finally did, the decision was made to wrap for the day. Thankfully it was not only the last shot of the day, it was the last shot of a super successful week.

As I walked back around front to survey the remains of our grill station, I found our Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker still vertical and more importantly, still smoking away. Under the lid, the turkey was to temperature. It looked beautiful, and the owners of the home we were using suddenly had dinner.

I would have taken a photo with my phone to savor the moment, but I was not the only thing drenched in water.

So here it is a few months later and what I am craving? Yeah, smoked turkey. Here’s the process, this time with great weather.

Smoked Turkey

By Mike Lang
Serves: 7-8

Ingredients:

1 14 pound turkey, fresh or thawed
½ cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 orange with zest, quartered
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Bring the butter to room temperature and mix with the rosemary and thyme.

2. With a pair of poultry shears, remove the wing tips.

3. Starting at the bottom cavity, use your fingers to separate the turkey’s skin from the breast meat. Work slowly up towards the neck being careful not to split or tear the skin.

4. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

Tip: For crispy skin, leave the turkey uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.

5. Season the outside of the turkey with salt, pepper, and the orange zest. Rub all over with olive oil.

Prep the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker

6. Disassemble the WSM and fill the fire ring halfway up with briquettes. You will roughly cover up the first layer of circles.

7. Fill a charcoal Chimney Starter half full with briquettes and light with Lighter Cubes.

8. Since this is a hot cook, there is no need for water in the water pan. To make cleanup easier, think about lining the pan with aluminum foil.

9. Once the coals in the chimney have turned grey and ashed over. Dump them over the unlit coals in the base of the smoker and let sit for about 10-15 minutes.

10. Re-assemble the smoker. If you plan on making a pan gravy, be sure to place a disposable foil tray on the lower grate.

11. Grill the turkey over medium low heat, 300-350 F. As the smoker climbs towards 300 F, place the turkey on the top grate. I would recommend using a Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub to monitor the internal temperature.

12. Close the lid.

13. Open the front door panel and place no more than 2 or 3 medium chunks of wood on the hot coals. I always opt for something sweet, like apple or cherry. An aggressive species of wood can be too harsh. In this case, a little goes a long way.

14. If the fire burns too hot, close the bottom vents halfway. If you are battling cold weather, and need to keep the temperature up, add 8-10 unlit briquettes every hour.

Figure 15-18 minutes of cook time per pound. Cook until the deepest part of the thigh reads 165 F.

15. Before you carve into that beautiful bird, share your pictures with us!

Looking for more turkey inspiration? Be sure to check out more tips here.