How to Smoke a Turkey on the Grill

Smoke a Turkey on the Grill

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 3 hrs 30 mins
Brine: 24 hrs
Total: 28 hrs
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 1 turkey
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
2223 Calories
77g Fat
99g Carbs
269g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 2223
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 77g 99%
Saturated Fat 21g 105%
Cholesterol 1022mg 341%
Sodium 8577mg 373%
Total Carbohydrate 99g 36%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 85g
Protein 269g
Vitamin C 138mg 689%
Calcium 276mg 21%
Iron 12mg 65%
Potassium 2792mg 59%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Are you interested in making a smoked turkey but don't have a smoker? No worries—use your grill to slow-roast this tasty bird, and it will be just as tender and delicious.

A flavorful brine of apple juice, brown sugar, spices, and orange helps keep this bird nice and juicy while it grills. For best results, brine the turkey for 24 hours in the fridge before cooking. Smoking the turkey will take about 3 to 4 hours after brining, depending on the size of your bird.

You can use a gas or charcoal grill for this recipe. Regardless, you will want a good-quality grill thermometer to measure the temperature inside and avoid overcooking your turkey. Check the meat at multiple points with a probe thermometer to ensure it is fully cooked and safe to eat.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts (1.9 liters) apple juice

  • 1 pound (450 grams) brown sugar

  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) kosher salt

  • 3 quarts water

  • 3 large oranges, quartered

  • 4 ounces (115 grams) fresh ginger, thinly sliced

  • 15 whole cloves

  • 6 large bay leaves

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey

  • 1 package hickory chips

  • Vegetable oil, for brushing on turkey

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Smoke a Turkey on the Grill ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue heating until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

    Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Skim off any foam that forms on the top and let cool.​

    Skim off any foam that forms on the top of the mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. In a large (5-gallon or larger) stockpot or similar container, combine the apple juice mixture with 3 quarts of water, oranges, ginger, cloves, bay leaves, and garlic.

    combine the apple juice mixture with water, oranges, ginger, cloves, bay leaves, and garlic

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Remove any fatty deposit you might find on the turkey and everything from the body cavity.

    Remove any fatty deposit you might find on the turkey

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Place the turkey in the brine mixture and refrigerate for 24 hours. Make sure that the turkey remains completely submerged.

    Place the turkey in the brine mixture

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Place the hickory chips in water and prepare your grill for indirect grilling on medium heat.

    Place the hickory chips in water

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. Remove the turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels.

    Remove the turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  9. Tie the legs together with string and lightly brush the turkey with vegetable oil.

    Tie the legs together with string

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  10. Preheat your grill to about 325 F/165 C. Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a foil pan. Place on the grill away from direct heat.

    Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a foil pan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  11. After 30 to 40 minutes, you will need to wrap the wings in foil to keep them from burning.

    wrap the bird in foil to keep them from burning

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  12. Brush with vegetable oil periodically. If the breasts start to get too brown, cover with foil. The smoked turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches about 175 F/80 C in the thigh or about 165 F/75 C in the breast. You should expect it to take about 12 to 14 minutes per pound.

    brush the turkey with oil

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  13. When done, remove from the grill and let rest for about 15 minutes.

    smoked turkey on a wood board

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  14. Carve and serve.

    Smoke a Turkey on the Grill, Carved and served on a platter

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Do You Baste a Turkey When You Smoke It?

Some smoked turkey recipes call for basting throughout the cooking process. This recipe includes a 24-hour brine that adds flavor and moisture to the meat, so no basting is required. Keep an eye on the bird, though, to make sure that the skin doesn't brown too much.

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