Smoked Turkey

What's the best way to ensure a Thanksgiving turkey will turn out the way you expect it to? Practice cooking turkey more often than once each year. Smoked turkey happens to be just as delicious in August as in November.


  • 1 Turkey (thaw in refridgerator for one week if it starts out frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp ground sage
  • 1 Tbsp crushed parsley
  • 1 Tbsp crushed rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp crushed thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • Grapeseed oil (or another mild-tasting oil)
  • salt
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 stalks celery, with leaves
  • 9 cups water

How to

  1. Ensure your turkey is entirely thawed.
  2. Mix sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and pepper. Take a couple spoonfuls of this mixture and add just enough oil to create a paste. Reserve the rest of the herb mixture for use on other poultry.
  3. Set up a deep pan to make broth and simultaneously be the smoker's water pan. Roughly chop the onion, carrots, and celery and place them in the pan.
  4. Remove things from the turkey that shouldn't be cooked, like plastic pieces that are holding the legs in place or pop-up thermometers (which are fairly useless).
  5. Remove the parts of the turkey that are good for making broth, but aren't parts you'd like to eat: the neck, flap of skin at the tail, wing tips, and the heart & liver. Add all of these to the water pan with the vegetables. Also remove the spine by cutting along each side of the spine with good kitchen shears. Add this to the water pan, too.
  6. Break the breastbone of the turkey so that it will lie flat. This helps ensure that it will cook evenly. (For even more control and even cooking, cut up the turkey. That way you can take the white meat off the heat when it's done and let the legs and wings keep cooking a little longer.)
  7. Season all sides of the turkey with salt. (If your turkey was brined, skip this step because the turkey already got salt when it was brined.)
  8. Spread the herb-oil paste liberally on all sides of the turkey. Mix up a little more herb-oil paste if you find you'd like to use more.
  9. Add water to your water pan until the vegetables and turkey parts are topped with water.
  10. Set up your smoker and get it as hot as you can, about 250F/120C. (If you want to cook your turkey without smoking it, simply turn on your oven and set it to 325F/165C.)
  11. Place the water pan in the smoker, and place the turkey on the grate above the water pan. Insert thermometer probes to monitor the meat temperature and the smoker temperature.
  12. When the turkey breast reaches 165F/74C, it is done. Most people prefer the texture of dark meat when it has cooked a little longer - up to 170F/77C.
  13. Save the smokey broth for making soup.
  14. Serve the turkey with cranberry sauce and share!
Copyright 2017 Amanda Hansen, all rights reserved.