Traeger Smoked Turkey is going to quickly become your new favorite turkey method. Put away the gallons of oil, free up your oven, and go ahead and donate that giant electric roaster that you only pull out once a year to someone else, because you’re going to want Smoked Traeger Turkey every year from here on out.
Traeger Smoked Turkey Recipe
You guys probably made Traeger Chicken for your very first recipe on your grill. Most everyone does and for very good reason.
It just works.
I wasn’t sure if I’d be as impressed with a whole roasted turkey as I am with the chicken, but I’m already excited for Thanksgiving this week because I have seen the light.
It was moist, and the skin was perfect. There was a hint of smoke, but it wasn’t overwhelming. We got great drippings for gravy by cooking it in a large pan, and I made bone broth with the carcass to make alllllll the gravy I want for actual Turkey Day next week, and not have to use any boxed stock.
More Easy Traeger Recipes here!
Why should you smoke your turkey?
I might start doing turkey dinner more than once a year now that I have a foolproof way of cooking it. Turkey dinner is up near the top of my “favorite food” list, right after spaghetti and meat sauce.
I had turkey dinner AT MY WEDDING, you guys. In August. (Many Augusts ago, but still August. In Northern Minnesota. Not your typical turkey time of year!) My poor family was cooking for days, but I (and all of our guests) had one of the best turkey dinners ever put together.
Anyway, we smoke a turkey for a lot of different reasons, the main one being the FLAVOR that wood fire gives poultry, but also to free up oven space. That’s always at a premium on Thanksgiving!
How to make turkey in the pellet grill
For this turkey, we did it very simply. Traeger pellet grill. Good quality pellets. Fresh bird, no brine, no injections, no stuffing.
Massage the bird with olive oil, cover with seasonings, and cook in your Traeger, uncovered at 250°F for 2 hours, and then covered at 325°F for another 2-4 hours (depending on the size of your bird.)
It doesn’t get much easier than that when it comes to turkey.
I do suggest doing a couple of smaller turkeys if you have a lot of guests coming over. The rule of thumb is 1 – 1/2 pounds per person, but if you want leftovers I’d push that to 2 pounds a person. I like leftovers though, a LOT.
Serve with Traeger Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Tips For A Delicious Turkey
USE A GOOD THERMOMETER
Always cook to temperature and never to time! A good instant-read thermometer is essential here. Bonus points if you have a WIFI version. We love the Thermoworks Smoke for this!
For all of your wireless grilling needs, the Smoke is the most reliable wireless thermometer I’ve ever used.
DON’T SKIMP ON SEASONING
You’re seasoning a HUGE piece of meat here. You’ll need a lot of seasonings to get the job done. Don’t forget to season UNDER the skin, too!
GET A TURBO TRUSSER
Make trussing your bird SIMPLE with a Turbo Trusser! It is pictured in almost all of these photos and is my favorite gadget for turkey day. I love these things so much that I got them for the whole extended family for Christmas last year. They make chicken versions, too, and they work so well!
Try my Traeger Spatchcock Turkey!
Make a spare bird for leftovers!
If you really want to make your family happy, just make the extra bird and send everyone home with leftovers. That’s the worst part about not hosting Thanksgiving. I might love Thanksgiving leftovers more than the 1st-day dinner!
To brine or not to brine
This one comes up a LOT in the foodie Facebook groups, and for many many years I was pretty anti-brine. It is substantially more work than not, and I wasn’t really convinced it actually made a difference.
This year we did a dry brine method for one bird and a wet brine for another, and they were both moist, juicy, and incredible, so I might have been converted over to the brine side.
Whatever you decide to do, it is ESSENTIAL when you are smoking a turkey to let the bird sit uncovered in the fridge for at least 24 hours before cooking. Otherwise, the skin will be a disaster, and that’s never ideal.
For Dry Brine, I recommend this one from The Grill Guys via Spiceology.
More Thanksgiving Dishes For You To Enjoy!
- Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup
- Roasted Broccoli Casserole
- Homemade Holiday Dressing
- Extra Creamy Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Perfect Grilled Asparagus
- Traeger Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
- Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins
- Caramelized Onion, Cheddar, and Potato Pierogies
- Homemade Snickers Cake Recipe
- Holiday Wine Spritzer
- Rumberry Punch Cranberry Cocktail
- Honey Blueberry Whipped Goat Cheese
- Homemade Kahlua
- Apple Crumble Pie
- Slow Cooker Apple Citrus Hot Cider
- Fresh Apple Crisp
- 1 10-13 pound turkey, thawed, rinsed, and patted dry
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons ground poultry seasoning
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons Traeger Chicken Rub (or your favorite chicken rub)
- Mix together the oil and seasonings, and then get to rubbing. You want it alllll over the outside of the turkey. Bonus points for getting a little between the skin and the breast too.
- Place the turkey on a rack to raise it off the bottom of the pan, breast up.
- Fire up the Traeger according to factory instructions, and preheat to 250. Place the turkey + pan on the grill, uncovered. Close the lid of the grill and set your timer for 2 hours, because you don't want to peek before then.
- After two hours have passed, increase the temp to 325 and cover the turkey.
- Roast another 2-4 hours (depending on the size of your turkey) until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Remove from grill, carve, and make gravy with the drippings!
If you stuff your turkey:
Do so at your own risk. I think we're all pretty aware of the dangers of this at this point. Make sure to temp your stuffing and ensure it is fully cooked, and DON'T PACK IT IN.
If you can swing it, scoop all the stuffing out for the last hour of cook time, and cook separately (covered) in a baking dish in the oven at 375. I've also done it in a cheesecloth bag in the turkey so I can pull it out easily near the end to cook in a casserole dish the rest of the way.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 418Saturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 193mgSodium: 591mgProtein: 58g
Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.