How to Smoke a Turkey in a Gas Smoker


Smoked turkey is great all year long and not just for the holidays. And smoking your meat with wood chips adds a unique taste you cannot get anywhere else. But there are a lot of different kinds of smokers, so here’s how to smoke a turkey in a gas smoker.

Smoke a turkey in a gas smoker at 225 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-6 hours for a 10-pound turkey and up to 16 hours for a 25-pound turkey. It will be ready when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Smoking a whole turkey might be challenging for those who have never done it.

However, it is fairly simple and results in juicy, soft flesh. All you have to do is emphasize care in your smoking recipe but don’t forget to cook at the right temperature; it will come in handy.

Your smoker is an ideal place to search for a mouthwatering smoked turkey during the holiday season.

Gas grills make great smokers as they can keep a consistent temperature, which is essential for smoking meats. Additionally, they are broad enough to fit your thanksgiving turkey cooking over indirect heat and the best wood chips that give the food its smoky flavor.

Looking for the best turkey (and beef, steaks, chicken or pork) and unhappy with what your local store has?

Now thanks to FarmFoodsMarket, you can get 100% hormone and antibiotic-free whole turkey delivered right to your door. All vegetarian diet, and GMO-free.

Once you try it, you’ll be astounded at how much better the quality is! Imagine the taste of that pasture-raised turkey fresh off your smoker!

Enjoy 10% off your first order with code WELCOME on FarmFoodsMarket.com!

No doubt you’ve seen FarmFoodsMarket raved about by Forbes and The Washington Post. Now it’s your turn! Flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed mean it will be farm fresh whenever you’re ready!

With every purchase, you support building a better food system for the animals, the planet, and us. Humanly raised and processed.

CLICK HERE to see all their amazing offerings on their website.

At what temperature do you smoke a turkey on a gas smoker?

225 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The best temperature for smoking your turkey is the one that allows the larger turkey to cook in the least amount of time. When cooking your turkey on a gas smoker, the rule of thumb is to slow cook at a low temperature for a long period of time.

If you pick between these temperatures and have enough time and patience, you’ll get a moist turkey with crispy skin. You also need to consider the size of the turkey. It is also important to select the best wood if you want to achieve the best smoke flavor.

The type of wood to use with your smoker ultimately depends on you.

However, you may consider wood that has a mild flavor when choosing the ideal wood to smoke because it can be really easy for the wood to overshadow the flavor of an entire turkey.

The best wood options for turkey are:

  • Applewood
  • Olive
  • Mulberry
  • Nectarine
  • Cherry 

To start smoking, place the turkey inside the preheated smoker after adding wood chips according to the manufacturer’s instructions. But I like to soak them for an hour and place a large handful in a piece of aluminum foil and lightly wrap them with the edges of the foil.

Then place the foil pouch near the open flame. Many grills have a designated place for wood chips.

Let it cook for a few hours or until the inner thigh temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Be sure to check your turkey’s temperature after 3 hours, as it needs to hit 140 degrees f within 4 hours or fewer to avoid the build-up of bacteria.

Before you consume it, the most important thing is that the internal temperature of your turkey should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

A meat thermometer is the best method to ensure that your interior temperature is accurate. You may use one of these digital thermometers to enjoy time with your family while keeping an eye on your turkey.

Smoking food continues to be a fantastic technique to add taste and prolong the shelf life of food in the refrigerator by a few days to a few weeks or months.

Don’t have a smoker and don’t have a huge budget?

No problem! You might want to check out my most recent article if you’re trying to decide what kind of smoker to buy or what kind is the best when your funds are low.

In it, I examined 15 of the best and most reasonably priced smokers available on the market. These choices span a range of brands and can simplify your BBQ experience.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How long does it take to smoke a turkey in a propane smoker?

10 lb Turkey 12 lb Turkey 15 lb Turkey 20 lb Turkey 25 lb Turkey
Total Smoke Time 5 – 6 hours 7 – 8 hours 9 – 10 hours 10 – 12 hours 14 – 16 hours

The time needed to smoke a turkey in a propane smoker depends on the size of the turkey and the smoker’s temperature.

The quantity of fat in your turkey, your type of smoker, and whether or not your grill cooks at a consistent temperature are also examples of the many variables that might impact how long it takes to cook on the best smokers.

You may anticipate that smoking will take around 35 minutes per pound of turkey at 225 degrees F.

Alternatively, it will normally take 30 minutes per pound if you use your smoker at 250 degrees F. Therefore, it will take a 12-pound turkey around 7 hours to cook through to the 165-degree threshold.

You may include an additional 30 minutes in your schedule Just in case your turkey takes longer than you anticipate. Always judge doneness based on interior temperature rather than time. Make careful to remove the turkey when your meat thermometer reads 165 degrees since you don’t want to overcook it.

When smoking, ensure you insert the probe thermometer carefully into the thickest part of the thigh to check for the readiness of the meat.

Your turkey is ready to be served if the temperature reaches 165 degrees. However, take caution when checking the temperature for your smoked turkey recipes, as if you open the smoker too frequently, smoke will escape, slowing the cooking process.

A large variety of grills and smokers are available from the propane side, charcoal grill, and Big Green Egg models. These top-notch selections bring up a completely new realm of culinary creativity and experience with some pretty delicious outcomes.

Confused about the difference between a grill and a smoker?

You may need to read my most recent article to distinguish between the numerous BBQ grill and smoker kinds so that purchasing one is simple. I break down every kind out there and which one gives you the most bang for your buck!

I also outlined the differences between the many grill kinds on the market. I also looked at the many kinds of smokers that are out there.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How do you keep a turkey moist while smoking?

Brining a fresh turkey is a good approach to making sure your turkey doesn’t turn out too dry.

This is the actual secret to a moist turkey. A turkey is brined by spending the night soaking in chicken broth or a saltwater solution, with only a little coating of olive oil on the water pan. For extra flavor in the turkey, people frequently add garlic powder, fruits, and other seasonings, depending on the turkey recipe.

During brining, the turkey gently absorbs the brine’s spices and moisture.

This helps the turkey gain flavor but also prevents it from drying out during the smoking process. Therefore, your wet rub of brine and aromatics contributes flavor instead of over-spicing the skin, which will only result in inedible skin.

A dry brine is another alternative for brining a turkey and ensuring it stays moist while smoking. In contrast to the other approach, dry brining entails rubbing salt and spices directly into the turkey skin, giving it time to settle. The skin of your brined turkey may be made crisper using this cooking process.

Larger turkeys take a long time to cook, increasing the likelihood that the meat may get dry.

The longer the turkey is on the smoker, the greater the likelihood that the thinner pieces will dry up since they cook more quickly. By cooking two smaller turkeys, you may avoid keeping your turkey on the smoker for an excessive time, which will shorten the total cook time.

Injecting the meat is another simple method for adding taste and juiciness to smoked turkey. It’s similar to injecting marinade into the tissue beneath the skin of your turkey. You may immediately inject a liquid into the skin using a meat injector or syringe.

This can impart distinctive tastes in addition to helping to provide moisture to the turkey.

Does turkey have a stall when smoking?

Yes, it does. The temperature of the meat naturally stalls at between 145 and 155 F, with duration varying.

The stall length is affected by several factors, including the weight of your turkey. The lengthy stall often occurs when the meat’s stiff collagen transforms into gelatin when fat renders to liquid or during denaturing proteins.

Many first-time smokers turn up the heat source or switch to a hot oven without seeing the end of a stall. There are, however, strategies for overcoming stalling. For example, using pink butcher paper might be an excellent method to deal with this.

Wrapping in pink butcher will significantly reduce the time needed to pass through the stall.

Additionally, butcher paper enables smoke and heat to seep through, flavoring the meat and enhancing the bark. Although they won’t speed up the cooking process as much as with foil or other techniques, you can be sure that the smoked turkey breast you end up with will be delicious.

While electric smokers can be an exception, most other smokers have an oven space that loses heat and smoke. But if anything is leaving, something else must be entering, including the air’s moisture. You could encounter far less stall on a securely sealed smoker.

If your smoker has any noticeable holes, it may be a good idea to seal them up for the desired temperatures.

The Traeger grill is worth considering if you enjoy cooking things like ribs or larger, less expensive portions of meat “low and slow,” as they can be safely left to cook without you needing to monitor the temps.

But is a Traeger worth the price, or are you just paying for the name?

You might want to read my most recent article if you find yourself in a similar position. In this article, I went through how to operate the Traeger grill and what makes it a standout product. If you’re looking for a new grill but aren’t sure if a Traeger is for you, this article might help you make a more informed choice.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Should I wrap my turkey in foil while smoking?

Wrapping your turkey while smoking is optional, but this process will allow you to evenly cook the turkey to even the thickest part of the breast.

Wrapping your delicious meat in aluminum foil at precisely the appropriate moment is also a good way to deal with stalling while using your smoker.

So when does a turkey stall when you’re smoking it?

Towards the end of the cooking time, when the internal meat temperature of the turkey is around 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the turkey will stall for an hour, or maybe even up to an hour and a half, with little internal temperature change.

This is the optimum time to wrap the turkey in foil.

You may cover the turkey with aluminum foil to stop it from burning if the skin outside of the turkey becomes too black. The foil will allow the turkey to cook in the smoker until it reaches the desired 165 degrees of internal temperature.

Allow the turkey to rest after cooking before carving and preparing to serve.

Don’t forget to place the turkey breast side down to allow the liquids to disperse and the flesh fibers to relax; otherwise, it can result in a dry turkey.

If you notice that your turkey finished a bit earlier than expected, cover it loosely with foil and wrap it in paper towels to insulate and keep the turkey at a safe serving temperature.

If the turkey needs to be kept for a while before serving it, you may put it in a dry cooler and cover it with a couple of fresh towels or a blanket before securing the cooler’s top.

Final Thoughts

Smoking a turkey is not as terrifying or difficult as you initially imagined.

A smoked turkey can be the center of attraction to your family gathering and celebrations as long as you follow the right recipe card and take note of the proper temperature controls.

Using the right wood pellets to smoke your larger bird on the grill grate may make a delicious feast that everyone will appreciate.

Whether you’ve smoked Thanksgiving turkey before or this is your first time, if you’re using a frozen turkey, make sure it is fully thawed before starting the smoking process since a frozen turkey may not cook evenly or result in foodborne disease.

Don’t forget to prepare your smokers for that delicious turkey that everyone will be talking about for a very long time as the next Thanksgiving approaches.

Looking for the best turkey (and beef, steaks, chicken or pork) and unhappy with what your local store has?

Now thanks to FarmFoodsMarket, you can get 100% hormone and antibiotic-free whole turkey delivered right to your door. All vegetarian diet, and GMO-free.

Once you try it, you’ll be astounded at how much better the quality is! Imagine the taste of that pasture-raised turkey fresh off your smoker!

Enjoy 10% off your first order with code WELCOME on FarmFoodsMarket.com!

No doubt you’ve seen FarmFoodsMarket raved about by Forbes and The Washington Post. Now it’s your turn! Flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed mean it will be farm fresh whenever you’re ready!

With every purchase, you support building a better food system for the animals, the planet, and us. Humanly raised and processed.

CLICK HERE to see all their amazing offerings on their website.


Image by Kehl Mack from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with 3 daughters, practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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