Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey: A More Meaningful Feast

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Thanksgiving is more than just a smoked turkey on the table or a holiday—it’s a time to gather with loved ones, express gratitude, and savor the flavors of a well-prepared meal. For many, the traditional centerpiece of this feast is the turkey, and there’s something truly special about smoking your turkey for this occasion.

In recent years, my family has embarked on a journey of intentional eating, choosing to cook more from scratch and being mindful of what we consume. This decision has not only transformed the way we eat but has significantly enriched our gatherings, infusing them with more energy, closeness, and meaningfulness.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey
Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey-Using a pellet grill

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Prepping your smoked Turkey

The Art of Smoking a Turkey

Smoking a turkey is a labor of love, demanding patience and finesse, yet the rewards justify the effort. During the preparation of gathering the materials for your smoked turkey, carefully selecting a fresh, locally sourced, free-range or organic bird underscores our commitment to quality and sustainability, integral aspects of our cooking journey.

Preparing the turkey for smoking entails achieving a delicate flavor balance. Crafting a special brine with herbs, spices, and a hint of citrus or sweetness allows the bird to infuse these flavors while roasting in the smoker. This step guarantees a moist, flavorful outcome and symbolizes the care woven into our meals.

Need some Thanksgiving supplies? I got mine at Aldi curbside!

The Gathering Around the Table

As the turkey gently smolders, wafting tempting aromas, we congregate in the kitchen, eager to engage in the culinary process. This collective experience, for instance, fosters a profound sense of togetherness as we prep the turkey, craft side dishes, and indulge in spirited conversations.

Similarly, cooking from scratch has forged a deeper connection with our food. It has heightened our awareness of ingredient origins and the labor invested in meal preparation. Thus, this newfound consciousness has cultivated a heightened appreciation for the food on our plates, nurturing gratitude for the hands that cultivate and nurture these ingredients.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey

Nourishing Body and Soul

As Thanksgiving dinner finally graces our table, the fruits of our labor are unmistakable. The smoked turkey, adorned with its perfectly bronzed skin and tender meat, commands attention. As we encircle the table, plates brimming with homemade sides and meticulously crafted dishes, a sense of contentment surpasses mere satiation.

Our deliberate approach to food—sourcing consciously and cooking thoughtfully—has knitted us closer as a family. Each bite savored mindfully encapsulates not only flavors but the narratives behind these dishes. The ambiance isn’t solely derived from the culinary offerings; it emanates from shared moments, laughter, and the sheer delight of being united.

Check out more on what we do to make more meaningful changes to our lifestyle.

Thanksgiving Turkey: A Meaningful Tradition

Smoking our own turkey for Thanksgiving transcends mere culinary pursuits; it embodies a tradition emblematic of our dedication to mindful eating, unity, and appreciation. However, as we reminisce about the past year and express gratitude for our blessings, this meal serves as a poignant testament to the ties we’ve cultivated and the shared experiences we treasure.

In a world brimming with diversions, congregating around the dinner table and relishing a meal crafted with love and purpose has become a cornerstone of our familial bond. It’s during these moments of convergence, where anecdotes flow freely, and homemade delights are relished, that life’s true richness unfurls.

Should you be intrigued to embark on your own turkey-smoking venture this Thanksgiving and relish the joy it infuses into gatherings, my recipe awaits you below. I hope it infuses your gatherings in the same way, with the same warmth and opulence it has brought to ours.

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey

An easy pellet grill recipe
Print Recipe
Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:6 hours

Equipment

  • Pellet Grill
  • 1 Large Turkey sized Aluminum baking pan

Ingredients

  • 1 Prepping your smoked Turkey
  • 2 Lemons sliced
  • 1 White onion diced
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4 TBS Poultry seasoning
  • 2 Sticks of butter
  • 2 Tall Boys of Guinness or your favorite beer

Instructions

  • Warm your pellet grill up to 225-250 degrees F
  • While your grill is warming, remove your turkey from the package and place on a large cutting board
  • Unwind the turkey legs so you can get into the cavity to remove the neck (inside the cavity), the giblets, and to cut off the butt
  • Flip your turkey over so that the spine is down. and begin stuffing the inside of your turkey with 1 stick of butter, the onion, lemons, and springs of rosemary. Coat the inside of the cavity and the outside with poultry seasoning.
  • Tie the legs back together with twine or the skin flap that held them together originally, and place your turkey in your aluminum baking dish
  • Melt your second stick of butter in a glass microwave-safe dish
  • Once melted, take your turkey in the aluminum pan and place it on the grill
  • Before closing the lid, pour in 1 can of Guinness or your preferred beer around the sides of the turkey (not on top) and baste the top with your melted butter
  • Close the lid and let smoke for 3 hours before checking again. Periodically check your grill to make sure it is maintaining its temperature and that it does not need more pellets.
  • In about 3 hours open your grill to check the temp of your turkey, and pour in your second can of Guinness or preferred beer. Shut the lid and let cook another 2 hours depending on the temperature.
  • After 2 hours, check your turkey's temperature again by inserting a food thermometer at the breast of the turkey. At 165 degrees the turkey is done but we cook ours to 175 degrees F.
  • After it reaches your desired temperature at 165 degrees F or above remove it and let sit out for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes

The rule of thumb for smoking turkey is 30 mins for every 1 lb. Ours was roughly 6-6.5 hours for a 14 lb turkey, to get to our desired temperature. 
The “done” temperature for a turkey in the thickest part (the breast) is 165 degrees F. Anything below that needs more time. 
You can baste your turkey every hour with butter if you would like but the more you open your grill the more heat you let out, and the longer it takes. If you do baste your turkey or let it sit in some liquid for moisture then it does have to sit in a pan. If you choose not to, it can sit directly on the grill. 
We use a Pitboss Pellet Grill
Servings: 10

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