how to smoke a turkey


A delicious twist on a classic holiday main course

by the Perdue Farms Culinary Team

For the perfectly smoked holiday turkey, we recommend using either apple or peach wood, as each variety imparts a subtle flavor and does not burn as hot as other smoking woods. In this recipe, turkey is smoked whole, but you can also butterfly your turkey before seasoning and smoking.



  • 1 16-18 lb. Perdue Whole Turkey

  • Turkey Injection Marinade

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

    Topical Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
topical seasoning for turkey

Step 1: Make Marinade and Inject Turkey

Bring all ingredients for the injection marinade to a boil in a pot while stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat. Let cool until slightly warmer than room temp. Fill injector with marinade and inject throughout legs, thighs and breast. Allow turkey to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Step 2: Make Topical Seasoning and Rub Over Turkey

Blend remaining spices. Rub entire surface of turkey with canola oil, then evenly season with spice blend.

Step 3: Smoke Turkey

Preheat smoker to 325 F. Place the seasoned bird directly on the smoker rack, close the lid and cook until meat thermometer, inserted in the thickest part of turkey, measures 175 F (approximately 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours). Remove from smoker, tent with foil and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.
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Farmhouse Blend all-purpose seasoning

Best Seasoning for Turkey

Our new Farmhouse Blend enhances the flavor of turkey before or after cooking, thanks to a proprietary mix of roasted garlic and herbs. The secret’s in the savory essence of umami, which deepens flavor and boosts deliciousness.

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Premium Whole Turkey

Our whole birds are sourced from small family farmers, who raise turkeys in step with all Perdue animal welfare guidelines. You can trust that turkeys are raised without the use of antibiotics, hormones or steroids and fed an all-vegetarian diet with no animal by-products.

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Why Choose Perdue Farms

When it comes to the food you feed your family, quality matters. And while there are a lot of options out there, Perdue Farms stands apart. In business for over 100 years, we are a fourth-generation, family owned American food and agriculture business that from the beginning has worked with family farmers.