When it comes to Thanksgiving dinners, the turkey has always been the star of the show. A lot of people cook it in the oven, but if you want your turkey to have that smokey flavor, grilling it is the best way to go. What you may not know is that pellet grills can actually help you have that perfectly smoked turkey.
They are known to produce the perfect kind of heat using wood pellets, and it is what helps the turkey have the rich and smokey flavor that everyone loves. However, it always depends on the type of wood you will be using. But do you know how to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill the right way? No need to fret, you don’t necessarily need years of experience because it is actually a pretty easy process to follow.
Before getting started, make sure that you got every equipment and ingredient you will need to follow this tutorial. Once you are ready, let’s get smoking.
Here How To Smoke A Turkey On A Pellet Grill
The Brining Process
You might wonder why is there a need for you to brine your turkey before smoking. Turkey does not contain that much fat and flavor, so it needs help to stay juicy. Although you would not normally brine your turkey before it hits your oven, you need to brine it before smoking so the moisture stays in your turkey. What you may not know is that the turkey has the tendency to go dry while it is in the smoker. So if you do not brine your turkey beforehand, it will end up losing all the flavorful juices that make it so delicious. However, if you prefer not to brine your turkey before smoking it, then you may skip to the process of smoking it.
You Will Need
- 2-3 gallons of water (depending on how big the turkey is)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of salt
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 sliced of lemons
- 2 tablespoons of onion powder
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of cumin
- 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
Note: You can always more spices like peppercorns and even fresh herbs of your choice such as thyme or rosemary. This is just a brine so I would suggest not go all out on the spices just yet.
What You Need To Do
Step 1 – Making Room In The Fridge
One of the inconveniences of brining is that you need to make enough space in your fridge. That is why before you get on with brining, make sure that you will be able to place the large pot in your fridge.
Note: Some people prefer to put it in a cooler, but I do not personally recommend it. The reason is that there is no reassurance that the temperature in the cooler will be cold enough for the turkey.
Step 2 – Brining Turkey
Place your turkey in the pot and add all of the ingredients along with the water. Always make sure that the turkey is completely submerged in water. Leave it for a night or two before you smoke it in the grill. It is also best to pat down your turkey before you put it in the grill to remove the traces of the brine.
Smoking Using A Pellet Grill
You Will Need
- Aluminum pan
- Meat thermometer
Note – Always make sure that your turkey is perfectly dry so use some paper towels. If you did not brine your turkey, make sure that it is completely thawed for it to be cooked evenly.
Note – There are a lot of types of wood pellets to choose from and you can use any of them. If you choose to use pecan, then it will make your turkey more savory. If you prefer to give it a fruity taste, then you can use a sweeter like apple or cherry wood. You may also mix pellets if you like.
Your choice of spice rub or liquid injections
Note – Flavor injections are actually ideal for bigger turkeys because it can keep the meat from drying out while it smokes. I prefer using a bit of a rub as well as a bit of the liquid injections just to make the turkey flavorful.
What You Need To Do
Step 1 – Preheat your grill
Always make sure to preheat your grill before you place your turkey and start timing it. Set it to at least 275 F.
Step 2 – Place the turkey in
Get your aluminum pan and place the turkey with the breast side up. The breast is the thickest part of the turkey so if you placed it otherwise, it will end up being raw in the center while the rest of the chicken is perfectly cooked.
Step 3 – Set the timer
Get your turkey in the grill and set it for about 90 minutes. When the time is up, simply turn the heat up to 350 F and let it cook for another hour and a half. This additional time will allow the turkey to have that smoke flavor as well as for it to cook all the way through.
Step 4 – Check the temperature of the turkey
Once the timer goes off, you can now check if your turkey is perfectly cooked. Get your meat thermometer and check the internal temperature of the turkey. If it is around at least 165 to 170 F, then it is ready. It is necessary to check it with a meat thermometer because guessing the temperature just based on its size is not ideal.
Step 5 – Set, Carve, And Serve
Allow your turkey to rest for about 10-15 minutes before you start carving it. If you carve it right after taking it out of the grill, you will lose all of the juices that are full of flavor. Once it has rested, you can now carve it and serve it with your favorite side dishes.
That is how easy it is to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill the right way. Smoking turkey does not have to be complicated at all. Your family and friends would absolutely enjoy it. It is not just for Thanksgiving dinners, you may also serve it on other special occasions. Let me know in the comments how your turkey turned out. Happy smoking!
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- Here How To Smoke A Turkey On A Pellet Grill
- Smoking Using A Pellet Grill