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Smoked Turkey with BBQ Gravy

Smoked Turkey with BBQ Gravy

The Perfect Smoked Turkey for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what better way to impress your guests than with a delicious smoked turkey? The smoky flavor and juicy meat will have everyone coming back for seconds. In this article, we will guide you through the process of smoking a turkey to perfection and even provide you with a mouthwatering BBQ gravy recipe to complement the main dish.

Why Choose Smoked Turkey?

Smoking a turkey is a game-changer when it comes to Thanksgiving. The slow cooking process infuses the meat with a wonderful smoky flavor and keeps it incredibly moist. The crispy skin adds a satisfying crunch, creating the ultimate sensory experience. Plus, smoking a turkey frees up your oven for all those delicious sides!

Preparing the Perfect Smoked Turkey

Before you start smoking your turkey, there are a few key steps to ensure a mouthwatering result. First, brining the turkey overnight in a flavorful mixture of water, salt, and spices will enhance its juiciness and tenderness. Rinse off the brine and pat the turkey dry before moving on to the next step.

Next, you’ll want to season the turkey with a delicious dry rub. Think of it as a flavorful jacket that will enhance the natural flavors of the meat. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your rub, adding spices like smoked paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper for an extra kick.

Smoking the Turkey to Perfection

Now comes the fun part – smoking the turkey! Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat it to a temperature of around 225°F. Place the turkey on the grate, close the lid, and let the magic happen. The low and slow cooking process will ensure that the meat stays tender and moist.

For added flavor, you can use wood chips or chunks, such as hickory or applewood, to generate delicious smoke. These woods will impart a unique aroma that will elevate your turkey to new heights. Remember to periodically check the temperature of the turkey using a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

Creating the Perfect BBQ Gravy

No smoked turkey is complete without a delicious BBQ gravy to accompany it. The smoky flavors from the turkey will infuse into the gravy, creating a mouthwatering flavor explosion. Start by collecting the drippings from the smoked turkey and straining them to remove any solids.

In a saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour to create a roux. Slowly pour in chicken or turkey stock while whisking continuously to avoid any lumps. Add in the smoked turkey drippings, BBQ sauce, and other seasonings like salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Simmer the gravy until it thickens to your desired consistency.


1. How long does it take to smoke a turkey?

Smoking a turkey can take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the bird and the temperature of your smoker.

2. Can I use a gas grill instead of a smoker?

While a smoker is ideal for smoking a turkey, you can use a gas grill with a smoker box or foil packet filled with wood chips to achieve a similar result.

3. Can I brine the turkey for too long?

It is possible to over-brine a turkey, which can result in overly salty meat. Follow a recipe or brining guide to ensure the perfect balance of flavors.

4. Can I use a wet rub instead of a dry rub?

A wet rub can also be used to season the turkey. It consists of a paste-like mixture that is applied directly to the meat. Experiment with different flavors and ingredients to find your favorite combination.

5. Can I smoke a turkey without a meat thermometer?

While a meat thermometer is highly recommended to ensure the turkey is cooked to a safe internal temperature, you can also rely on visual cues. The turkey should have a golden brown color, and the juices should run clear when pierced.

6. Can I use the BBQ gravy on other dishes?

Absolutely! The BBQ gravy pairs well with not only the smoked turkey but also with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and even sandwiches. It’s a versatile and delicious addition to any meal.

7. How long should I let the turkey rest before carving?

Allow the turkey to rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moister and more flavorful bird.

8. Can I freeze the leftover smoked turkey?

Yes, you can freeze the leftover smoked turkey for future meals. Ensure it is properly wrapped and stored in an airtight container or freezer bag to maintain its flavor and texture.

In Conclusion

Smoking a turkey is a fantastic way to elevate your Thanksgiving feast. The smoky flavor and juicy meat will leave your guests in awe. With the right preparation and a delicious BBQ gravy, you’ll have a mouthwatering centerpiece that will be the highlight of the meal. So, fire up your smoker, gather your ingredients, and get ready to create a Thanksgiving masterpiece!

Smoked Turkey with BBQ Gravy compressed image1

Smoked Turkey with BBQ Gravy

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Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 15 hours 55 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground sage
  • 1 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp homemade Neelys Seasoning
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 cups salt
  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • One 22-pound turkey
  • Olive oil
  • Homemade BBQ Gravy
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups paprika
  • 3 3/4 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Drumstick (from turkey)
  • Neck (from turkey)
  • 1 large onion , sliced
  • 8 cups turkey stock or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (recommended: Neelys BBQ Sauce)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  • Step 1: Prepare the rub by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Step 2: Make the brine by mixing water, salt, apple juice, bourbon, peppercorn, and sugar in a 5-gallon bucket lined with a resealable bag. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the turkey to the brine and place the bucket in an ice chest filled with ice. Let the turkey brine for 6 hours or overnight, turning it after 3 hours. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Step 3: Rub the turkey with olive oil and apply the prepared rub, massaging it onto the turkey.
  • Step 4: Soak wood chips for 1 hour before cooking the turkey, then drain well. Fill a chimney starter with charcoal and light it until the coals ash over. Place the burned coals on one side of the grill and add the wood chips on top. Line a loaf pan with aluminum foil and fill it two-thirds with water. Place the pan on the grill opposite the coals.
  • Step 5: Put the turkey on the grill over the pan of water and insert a probe thermometer into the thigh to monitor the temperature. Cover the grill with the vent open and maintain a constant temperature of 225 degrees F. Add more coals and chips as needed every few hours.
  • Step 6: After 1 hour, check the turkey. If the skin
Keyword American, Gravy, Holiday, main-dish, Poultry, Smoked Turkey, Southern Recipes, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Turkey, Turkey Recipes
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Hi, I am April & Welcome to my food blog!

Thank you for visiting my blog. We share delicious recipes to make your meals nourishing and fun. Experimenting in the kitchen and cooking is my joy!


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