How Long To Smoke A Turkey? Here Are Things You Need To Know

Don’t you know how long to smoke a turkeyIf you enjoy smoked turkey and often serve it as a main dish in your meal, the answer to this question is vital. In particular, will we take one hour, two, or more to get a yummy smoked turkey?

In today’s article, we will know the exact answer, including the things related to smoking turkey.

Let’s see!

Why Should You Smoke A Turkey?

Before jumping to the smoking times, let me shed light on the reason why turkey is easy to smoke like other red meats or birds.

To be honest, I think smoking turkey is among the simple pleasures in our life.

Well, not only is smoked turkey delicious food, but it can also get you outdoors. What could be more pleasant than that?

Of course, this article might be a little bit unnecessary if you have already had several years of experience in smoking and got accustomed to smoker grills. But stay with us, we have some helpful tips that you might not know.

And if you are a newbie in smoking meat, today’s article is quite suitable for you.

Smoked Turkey With Other Dishes

Actually, turkey is an amazing type of meat to begin with. It doesn’t take a lot of time and is quite forgiving. Nevertheless,  the question of how long smoking turkey lasts is probably unknown to even the most skillful chefs.

How Long To Smoke A Turkey?

As you may know, the general rule of thumb is that for every 1.5 pounds of meat, an hour of smoking is required.

But remember!

The actual determinant is still the temperature.

The temperature range for most smoking dishes is 225°F to 250°F. This is also the case for turkey.

Smoked Turkey Legs

Because turkey meat is lean, it can be cooked at a high consistent temperature of 240°F and shorter smoking time. You can halve the time when smoking a turkey. In particular, you should smoke a turkey about 30-40 minutes per pound at 240°F. You can also get to 275°F, it is still fine. Surprise? But we would not recommend a much higher temperature.

Not to mention, having your food thermometer by your side is always a good idea. Remember to check your turkey’s internal temperature during the cooking time. And another thing to say is that you should take out the turkey from the smokers or grills when your turkey’s temperature is around 165°F. This is due to the fact that your turkey will still be cooked when it rests.

Important Tips:

Tip 1: Measure internal temperature

As aforementioned, it is necessary to check the internal temperature of the turkey. Here are three places that you can insert your meat thermometer to check:

  • Thickest part of the breast of the turkey
  • Innermost part of wing
  • Innermost part of thigh

Tip 2: Upgrade your turkey

To add more flavor for your turkey, you should do the following steps:

  • First mix water, sugar, salt, lemons, thyme, bay leaves, onion powder, sage, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cumin in a pan.
  • Put the mixture over medium heat and wait until sugar dissolves.
  • Remove the mix from heat and wait until it is cooled before adding the turkey.
  • Take out the turkey, rinse and smoke.

Tip 3: Cooking times

When Using a Smoker:

  • Whole turkey

If you want to smoke a whole turkey, set your smoker at 240°F. Then you should cook it for 30-40 minutes per pound. Particularly, an 8-pound turkey will take about 4 hours while a 12-pound one will take around 6 hours.

  • Turkey breast

Regarding smoking the breast of the turkey, you also set the smoker at 240°F and cook it for 30-40 minutes per pound. However, as the breast of the turkey is only 6 pounds in weight, the smoking time is shorter, which is around 3 hours.

  • Turkey legs

For smoking the turkey’s legs, the temperature of the smoker you should set is a bit lower – 225°F. And it totally takes around 4 hours to cook them.

  • Turkey wings

Smoked turkey wings also require you to set the smoker at 225°F  but you only need to spend around 1.5-2 hours cooking them.

When Using a Grill:

  • Whole turkey

In case you grill a whole turkey, remember to preheat the grill to medium-high heat – around 325°F – and prepare to cook the turkey with indirect heat. Regarding the cooking time, you should spend about 3 hours for an average turkey.

  • Turkey breast

Grilling turkey breast requires you to preheat the grill to a higher heat of 350°F. You still set up to cook with indirect heat. But you only need to spend only 1-2 hours to cook.

  • Turkey legs

For grilling the legs of the turkey, you do the same as grilling a whole turkey, but remember to sear over the direct heat for 3-4 minutes per side and roast it over indirect heat for 45-60 minutes.

  • Turkey wings

Regarding the turkey wings, again, preheat the grill to medium-high heat of about 325°F and cook them for only 30-40 minutes.


So, how long to smoke a turkey? Well, it’s around 30-40 minutes per pound and 165°F finished internal temperature.  For a 12-pound turkey, you should spend 6 hours cooking in total. Keep in mind! Also, whenever the turkey’s internal temperature lowers to 160°F, remove it from the smoker.

Then enjoy your yummy meal!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas below.