Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

You don't have Thanksgiving without the turkey, and this smoked turkey recipe is one of the most promissing we've seen this year! Follow along on your smoker and enjoy.

Big thanks to Lupe Melchor of Smoke Sum With Loop for sending in their home recipe for Thanksgiving turkey - much appreciated!

You Will Need

  • One medium-large turkey
  • 3 Sticks of Butter: one and a half at room temp, the rest  cut into cubes and put in freezer for 30 minutes.
  • 1 whole Head of Garlic, chopped
  • 2 lemons
  • Kosmos Q SPG rub
  • Kosmos Q Dirty Bird rub
  • Parsley, chopped

The Prep

As we suggest in every recipe, it's a good idea to do as much prep work as possible before getting started on the main cook. This is especially true for one as important as your Thanksgiving dinner!

So, small things first: Put one and a half sticks of butter (chopped into cubes) in the freezer for 30 minutes. Let the other one and a half sticks sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Zest the lemons. Chop your garlic and parsley, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the room temperature butter with the garlic, 1 teaspoon of SPG, and 1 teaspoon of Dirty Bird. Cut your lemons and squeeze the juice into the mixture, then add the chopped parsley and lemon zest, and mix well.

The Cook

Next, preparing the turkey itself: Cut the turkey open so it can lay flat on the cooker. Then use a finger to get underneath the skin and loosen it up. Get the butter from the freezer and stuff it underneath the skin, spreading the cubes out evenly. Finally, season the skin with a light coat of SPG and Dirty Bird, then spread the butter all over the outside.

Fire up your smoker, and let the temp come up to within 250-275°F (121-135°C). If you're cooking on a barrel smoker, this might be trickier to control - just let it heat up and place the rack as high as possible.

When the cooker is hot, place the turkey on the cooking rack with the breast side facing up. Then close the lid, and let the heat work its magic...

The Payoff

The target temperatures for this cook are 165ºF (74ºC) in the breast and 180ºF (82ºC) in the thigh. Towards the end of the cook (about 2/3 of the way there), cover the breast and wings with a loose piece of tin foil. This will help the bird retain its moisture.

When the smoked turkey is ready, bring it inside. Rest for 20-30 minutes before serving.


We hope you got some inspiration for your Thanksgiving turkey! Once again, big thanks to  Lupe Melchor of Smoke Sum With Loop for this recipe.

Catch you on the next recipe!


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