Best smoked turkey recipe with dry rub for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year. It’s so good we smoke a turkey year round in our pellet grill or electric smoker. If you are wondering how to cook a moist turkey on your Traeger for Thanksgiving or Christmas you’ll love this.
We have the best dry rub smoked turkey recipe for you! Have you tried this method for Thanksgiving or Christmas time?? If you’re looking for easy smoker recipes for the holidays, or just because, (affiliate links present)
Traeger Smoking a Turkey
Let me tell you it gives you the tender meat you love with a crispy skin outside. We first made this years ago and still think about it to this day. The guests that were over raved about it and said it was the best Thanksgiving dinner they had ever had.
It is not just because we made turkey in a Traeger. The dry rub is what takes it from so good to OMG amazing as ever. We will NEVER make it any other way again!
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To get your meats absolutely perfect we have this printable meat smoking chart to refer to so each and every time it will be fork tender.
- Recently we upgraded to this Traeger pellet smoker and grill and love it.
- We started with an electric smoker that was a Charbroil which worked well to start with.
- These are the pellets we always have on hand and use for almost everything.
- This smoker cookbook has some more great ideas if you want to cook outside more regularly.
Smoked Turkey with Dry Rub
Smoker – we have a simple electric smoker and this larger version that uses pellets! I will say that both work fantastic but there are some big differences. One is much smaller and you’ll have to take racks out just to get this large bird to actually fit inside.
We did start with the smaller electric version which was good because it gave us a chance to really mess around with it before spending more money on the other.
- We used our pellet grill & smoker for the best smoked turkey recipe. It will work for any type you have though.
Wood chips / Pellets – We have bought a wood chip variety pack for years. For this we used apple wood pellets.
Smoked turkey recipe
Timing – you’ll need this meat smoking chart to know what temp and how long to cook each meat.
- If your smoker doesn’t have a built in digital thermometer you’ll want that too so you can check if it reaches an internal temperature that’s needed.
Make sure you remove your bird from the heat source before determining it’s proper temperature. If it isn’t done through then put it back on and give it more time until it’s ready. Last but not least we used this Turkey Dunrite apparatus which is the best way to keep it as moist as possible.
Traeger Smoked Turkey
Why we decided to use this: First off, we knew it would give us the crispy skin we wanted since it wouldn’t be sitting in it’s own juices while cooking. Known for keeping the breasts as juicy as possible because of the position of the turkey.
I bought this on a whim thinking “you never know” and recommend it to literally everyone I tell you.
How to Smoke a Turkey
I know, it looks kinda’ funny and not like “yo’ mama’s turkey” back in the day but hear me out. After you try it with this strange apparatus you’ll swear by it as well. SO good I tell you!
- It also makes the whole process easier when smoking a turkey since it has a handle. That way you can easily place it on to the grates and lift it out easily too.
We love trying new methods of cooking and IF they work we share them with you!! This was a success.
Best Smoked Turkey Recipe
You can see basic instructions here, a printable version is available below as well. First unwrap your turkey. I know this seems obvious but let’s cover all our basis here shall we. 😉
- Then rinse it off and remove items from inner cavity.
- Pat dry with paper towels.
If you plan on adding our dry turkey rub (below) you’ll want to add it to the breast side of the bird first.
- Ours is simple to mix together with a few of our favorite seasonings
- Slide it on to your turkey holder like you see here with the breast down.
Rub the other half of your mixture to the side facing the top so your whole bird is nicely coated. We didn’t bother to tie the legs once on this apparatus but I suppose you could.
Smoked Turkey Recipe with Dry Rub
I’m obsessed with these flavors, you can even find more Old Bay recipes here too. Add wood chips or pellets to your smoker. There are many choices of each out there. We prefer apple for this smoked turkey recipe but everyone has their own preference. Hickory would be good as well.
The general rule is 30 minutes per pound Ours was about 11 pounds and 5.5 hours was perfect. The most important part when the internal temperature of the thigh is 165 degrees F.
The breast should be at 155 degrees F. To take the most accurate temp. remove the turkey from your smoker.
It depends on your preference of course. We swear by hickory or apple pellets!
Preheat your smoker to 240 degrees. Do not put meat in until it reaches this temperature for optimal results. We have used a baking sheet under the bird in order to keep the grate cleaner. We’ve also done it without. If you use the honey rub you see below you must use a pan. Foil helps for an easier cleanup as well.
Avoid lifting the smoker lid during the cooking process in order for it to cook evenly. Of course you will need to check the temperature to ensure it doesn’t overcook. If you want to baste it every hour or so with the juices at the bottom of the pan do so. However you shouldn’t open it other than that.
How long to cook a turkey per pound?
The general rule is about 30 minutes per pound (to 40 minutes) when your smoker is set to 240 degrees.
- If you want a lower and slower way it’s typically 1 hour per pound at 225 degrees.
- From there you can approximate the total time needed and adjust from there.
If you’re cooking at a slightly higher temp to get the skin crispier than it will take a bit less time overall. Then use a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the turkey breast.
If you take it while it is still on the grates it will skew it and you may think it’s hot enough when really internally it hasn’t reached a safe temp.
This was our first smoked Thanksgiving turkey using the honey butter sauce you see above. I will tell you that the meat comes out amazingly tender, especially the breasts.
Smoked whole turkey
Yes you could cook it faster if you cut it up into pieces. If you chose to do it this way you would need to put like pieces together because each will need different cooking times. Wings would take the shortest, then thighs, legs and turkey breast will take the longest.
- Whole turkey – ours was a 10 pound turkey
- Smoked turkey rub recipe
- Roasting pan or Turkey Dunrite apparatus
- we used the latter with a baking sheet underneath
- Turkey baster
- if you’re going to baste the turkey throughout the process, we didn’t
Of course you’ll need your favorite pellets or wood chips.
Recipes to try next: We have made a pressure cooker turkey as well which comes out super moist and love that.
- Our smoked meatloaf is amazing.
- This sheet pan turkey is a great way to make a whole bird in just one hour!
- Smoking a cooked ham is one of our most well known recipes.
- This is how to smoke salmon
- Smoked corn on the cob is a great side dish with turkey.
Our smoked beer can chicken is the bomb!! With a dry style bbq rub it is my favorite way to cook it EVAH!!!
You can make a batch of these smoked vegetables with it for a complete meal.
- If you have any left use our leftover turkey recipe everyone raves about.
You can print recipe below – Note that this one is for the dry rub smoked turkey
How to Smoke a Turkey
If you have any meat left, make our leftover turkey pot pie recipe and freeze some for later too. Rinse turkey and remove items from inside cavity. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Add wood chips or pellets to your smoker. Preheat your smoker to 240 degrees.
- Mix all dry rub ingredients together. Spray turkey with olive oil on all sides. Rub dry rub on breast side so it is well coated.
- Place on your turkey dunrite appliance if you’re using this with the breast side facing down. Use remaining rub to cover top facing half of turkey.
- Once smoker reaches 250 degrees F, put turkey on holder directly on to grate. Close lid.
Smoke for 30 minutes per pound. Ours was about 11 pounds and 5.5 hours was perfect.
- Once time is up remove from smoker and check internal temperature of thigh registers 165 degrees.
Allow turkey to rest at least 15 minutes to better yet a solid 30 minutes before carving to keep juices in.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Best Smoked Turkey
- 1 smoker
- Rinse turkey and remove items from inside cavity. Pat dry with paper towels. Add wood chips or pellets to your smoker. Preheat your smoker to 240 degrees.
- Mix all dry rub ingredients together. Spray turkey with olive oil on all sides. Rub dry rub on breast side so it is well coated. Place on your turkey dunrite appliance if you're using this with the breast side facing down. Use remaining rub to cover top facing half of turkey.
- Once smoker reaches 250 degrees put turkey directly on to grate. Close lid.
- Smoke for 30 minutes per pound. Ours was about 11 pounds and 5.5 hours was perfect.
- Once time is up remove from smoker and check internal temperature of thigh to ensure it is at 165 degrees and middle of breast reach 155 degrees F.
- Allow turkey to rest at least 30 minutes before carving to keep juices in.
If you’d like to try this turkey rub butter recipe it is here for you to follow. You add it after the skin has browned a bit first.