Smoked Turkey Recipe Pellet Grill

Discover the ideal smoking conditions, temperatures, and woods for this mouthwatering turkey smoked in a pellet smoker.

This recipe for pellet smoked turkey may be the best available, and it will open up a whole new world of meat cooking for you if you’ve invested in a pellet smoker or grill.

The fact that this recipe doesn’t require any expensive equipment is one of its best features.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good traditional roast turkey, but it just doesn’t compare to a bird that’s been slowly smoked for hours low and slow over wood, plus who wants an entire bird taking up the oven?

I’ll go over everything you need to know to cook the ideal turkey on your pellet grill or smoker in this guide.

Here’s how to cook the ideal smoked turkey, including my tried-and-true recipe, the wood and tools you need, and my best advice for pellet smoking the ultimate bird.

How to Smoke a Turkey on a Pellet Grill | Thanksgiving Recipe on a Traeger

Smoked Turkey 🔗

This smoked turkey is the perfect turkey to serve on Thanksgiving or other special occasions. The turkey is delicious and tender, and the whole bird tastes like it came from an upscale restaurant! I can guarantee this smoked turkey will take your holiday meal to the next level.

Prep: 15min

Total: 450min

Serving Size: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: calories 697 kcal, Carbohydrate 3 g, Protein 100 g, Fat 30 g, Saturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 331 mg, Sodium 524 mg, Fiber 1 g, Sugar 1 g, servingSize 1 serving


  • 1 15-pound turkey (defrosted)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Sweet Rub (Link in recipe notes)
  • 4 cups water (to start, more to refill)


  1. Preheat. Preheat whatever type of grill you are using for indirect smoking at 225 degrees F. If you're using gas, turn on half of the burners to medium-low and leave the other half off. If you are using charcoal, preheat your coals until just ashed over, dump them on one far side of your grill, and set the vents to about 25% open. If you are using a dedicated smoker, preheat your grill to 225 degrees F. Add the wood chunks or chips, if needed, to achieve a thin blue smoke.
  2. Prep the turkey. Remove your defrosted turkey from the packaging. Remove the neck and giblets from the inside cavity of the bird. If your turkey has been brined, carefully rinse the exterior of the turkey with cold water. Pat the turkey down on all sides with a paper towel. Tie the legs together with butcher's twine and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulder joint.
  3. Season. Coat the exterior of the bird with olive oil or melted butter and then season on all sides with the Sweet Rub.
  4. Smoke the turkey. Place the turkey directly on the grill grates, close the lid, and smoke the turkey. At 225 degrees F, you can plan on approximately 30 minutes per pound for your turkey to smoke. For example, this 15 pound turkey will take 7 and 1/2 hours at 225 degrees F. I always plan an extra 30 minutes, just in case.
  5. Remove to a serving platter. Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey in the breast and thigh. Make sure you test both sides of the bird, ESPECIALLY if you are smoking on a gas or charcoal grill where the temperatures of your grill may have been higher on one side than the other. You will be going off of the lowest reading you get from each side of the turkey. Once all temperatures are above 165 degrees F, it is time to remove the smoked turkey to a large platter or cutting board.
  6. Rest. Allow the turkey to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. If your turkey is done a little early, cover the turkey with foil and wrap with towels to insulate and keep the heat at a safe serving temperature.
  7. Enjoy! All that's left is to decide if you're a light or dark meat person, slice into that pretty bird, and get after it! Happy Thanksgiving!


How long does it take to smoke a turkey in a pellet grill?

If you prefer, you can baste the turkey with chicken broth every hour during the smoking time to keep it moist. Place the turkey on the smoker and smoke for 6 hours or roughly 30 minutes per pound up until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (we prefer ours at 180°F, but it is done at 165°F).

What is the best temperature to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill?

On a pellet grill, a turkey should be cooked at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes per pound or 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes per pound.

Do you cover a turkey when smoking on pellet grill?

The turkey should be placed on a wood pellet (Traeger), charcoal, electric, or gas grill that has been prepared for smoking (see instructions above), preheated to 300 degrees (see graph above for typical cook times based on grill type), and smoked until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.

How long does it take to smoke a 13 pound turkey on a pellet grill?

The turkey is prepared when it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees F. Close the lid and smoke for approximately 30 minutes per pound. Rest. Let the turkey rest for about 15 minutes before carving and serving.

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