How to Smoke a Turkey in an Electric Smoker? (Any Grill or Smoker!)

Welcome to the arena of turkey smoking. A smoked turkey makes a delicious meal, but many people are unsure how to smoke a turkey in an electric smoker. Masterbuilt digital smokers make it easy to smoke a whole turkey. 

How long you will spend smoking your turkey delicacy depends on several factors, including its size. Every part of the turkey smokes at a different rate. It takes longer to smoke a whole turkey than just smoking turkey wings. With this guide, you’ll know how to smoke turkey to perfection while considering all such factors!

Recipe of Smoking a Turkey in an Electric Smoker

The best way to smoke a Turkey needs the following steps:

  • Selecting your turkey
  • Defrosting
  • Cleaning
  • Brining 
  • Rinsing 
  • Seasoning
  • Picking the right wood
  • Smoking

Smoking turkey is entirely based on personal preference. Depending on your preference, wings, breasts, legs, etc., can be sliced and smoked. 

Essential Tips to Consider While Smoking Turkey

  • To produce a perfect smoked turkey, use an internal meat thermometer. If it does not have one, you can use an external probe thermometer to replace your Masterbuilt smoker’s internal thermometer.
  • Generally, 165 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which the turkey has been fully smoked. The temperature must be 165 degrees Fahrenheit no matter how the turkey is smoked, the same appliance, or the cut of the bird.
  • You can increase its smoky flavor with Little Liquid Smoke. Liquid Smoke has a smoky taste.
  • Aluminum roasting pans are recommended. It is not necessary to smoke a turkey in a metal pan. I’d instead use a disposable foil roasting pan to dispose of it after using it.  
  • Don’t throw away the drippings. You will find juice and browned bits in your roasting pan after the turkey has finished cooking. Keep these for making turkey gravy. You can also make giblet gravy with the leftover neck and giblets after removing the turkey from its package.  

Preparing a Turkey for Smoking

Your Masterbuilt electric smoker will come with an instruction manual. And for Masterbuilt smoked turkey, use the following method!

Equipment

  • Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
  • Smoking wood: Apple or cherry

Ingredients

  • Turkey, 12-14 pound 
  • Virgin Olive Oil, 1/4 cup 
  • Dried Thyme, 2 tbsp 
  • Powdered sage, 1 tbsp
  • Dried Oregano, 2 tsp 
  • Paprika, 2 tsp
  • Sea salt, 2 tsp 
  • Cracked Black Pepper, 1-1/2 tsp
  • Dried Rosemary, 1 tsp
  • Onion Powder or Garlic Powder (optional), 1 tsp
  • 1/2 Orange Zest
  • Apple Cider, 1/2 cup
  • Water, 1/2 cup 

Instructions: Preparing Your Turkey

  • Fresh or thawed, be sure to remove the giblets and neck. Allow the meat to drain for a little while. Now you can dry it with paper towels.
  • It is best to thaw the turkey completely before smoking. You can smoke and consume thawed turkey after being in the refrigerator for two days at most. 
  • For checking the turkey’s internal temperature, you will need a meat thermometer. Apply some vegetable oil to the lower thigh, then insert the thermometer. Avoid stuffing the turkey while doing so.

Directions for Masterbuilt Smoked Turkey 

Step 1: Preheat the smoker to 225°F.

Step 2: Mix all the dried herbs and spices in a bowl. Inside the turkey, rub about 1/3 of the seasoning.

Step 3: Rub the remaining seasoning mixture on the outside of the turkey with extra virgin olive oil and orange zest.

Step 4: Fill the bottom of the smoker with water and apple cider. Stack a drip pan on top of the water pan. Insert the applewood chips into the side drawer.

Step 5: Set the timer for approximately 6.5 hours and place the turkey on the middle rack of the smoker. Your turkey’s weight will determine how long the smoke time will vary. Smoking time should be between 30 and 40 minutes per pound of turkey.

Step 6: Every hour, check for smoke and add more wood chips if necessary. You can also use the thermometer that comes with the smoker to check the turkey’s internal temperature every 3 hours.

Step 7: Remove the cooked turkey from the smoker and place it on a cutting board. Let it rest for an hour before slicing it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 Slice
Diet                                  Nutrition
Calories407kcal
Protein60g
Carbohydrates:1g
Fats18g
Saturated Fats4g
Polyunsaturated Fat4g
Monounsaturated Fat7g
Cholesterol193 mg
Potassium601 mg
Calcium30mg
Iron2mg
Fiber 1g
Vitamin150 IU

How Long to Smoke Turkey in a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

Now you know how turkey smokes in its entirety. It is easier to determine how long to smoke a turkey on a Masterbuilt electric smoker at this point.

How Long to Smoke Turkey in a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

The essential hints are as follow: 

  • It takes 30 to 40 minutes per lb of Turkey to smoke at 240 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • It takes at least four hours to smoke a Smaller Turkey, for example, an 8-pounder.
  • Smoking a Turkey Breast at 240 degrees Fahrenheit with the same temperature setting results in the same rate as smoking a whole turkey. Turkey’s breasts weigh about 6 pounds on average. Therefore, you will have to smoke it for 3 hours.
  • Turkey Legs should be smoked at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, Turkey Legs should be smoked for 4 hours.
  • In general, turkey legs should smoke for 4 hours.
  • The smoking temperature for Turkey Wings is also 225 degrees Fahrenheit. They are smoked for a maximum of two hours.

How Long Does it Take to Smoke a 20lb Turkey?

      Temperature                             Time
235 F/115 C30 to 35 minutes per 20 lb
250 F/120 C25 to 30 minutes per 20 lb
275 F/135 C20 to 25 minutes per 20 lb

What is the Best Way to Make Turkey Skin Crispy?

When you want a turkey with crispy skin, smoke it until it reaches 145°F on the inside. Grill the bird until its temperature reaches 165°F on a hot grill preheated to 350° to 375°F.

What To Serve with Smoked Turkey?

Here is our pick of side dishes to serve with Smoked Turkey

  • Green Bean Casserole
  • The Best Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Corn Casserole
  • Buttery Soft Rolls
  • Turkey Stuffing

Which is the Best Smoker for Smoking Turkey? 

Any of the following smokers can be used to smoke a Turkey:

  1. Electric Smoker 

Perfect for first-time smokers. When necessary, adding extra wood makes it easy to maintain the temperature for long periods.

  1. Pellet Smoker

You can use any brand. During the Thanksgiving season, pellet smokers are fantastic for quickly painting smoke and temperature.

  1. Gas Grill 

Consistent temperature is an advantage of gas grills. Are there any disadvantages?  Ensure you have enough propane for at least 6-7 hours.

  1. Charcoal Grill 

When you use a charcoal grill, more “manual” labor is involved. Depending on the temperature, you might need to add more charcoal or wood. Although challenging, it is fun nonetheless. Make charcoal, ensure you have enough wood and charcoal to last around 6-7 hours.

Which Wood is Best for Smoking Turkey?

How do you choose the best wood when it comes to smoking turkey? That depends on what you want.

best wood for smocking a turkey

Choosing the right wood is essential to a great smoke. Especially true of turkey, which is a meat that tends to absorb the flavors of smoke more readily than other meats.

  • Apple and cherry wood both work well. 
  • Pecan makes poultry taste great when smoked. 
  • Maple also adds a great sweetness. 
  • Smoke your Thanksgiving turkey with hickory if you prefer a more robust smoke flavor.

Flavored Wood for a Smoked Turkey

It’s best to use wood from your local area. If you wish to add some great flavors to smoked turkey, try:

  • Citrus woods: Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, lime
  • Fruit woods: Peach, pecan, cherry, maple sugar
  • Grapevines have an aromatic flavor similar to fruitwood 

Wrapping it Up

Well, the procedure of how to smoke a turkey in an electric smoker is quite friendly and enjoyable as long as you have adequate supplies for the work. Follow the recipe and tips above to maximize the turkey smoking experience. 

Also, it depends on the electric smoker you choose – whether you will smoke successfully. Choose Masterbuilt models for easy turkey smoking. And whether you want to smoke like a pro or attempt to do so, this guide will give you the steps to success.

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