best smoked turkey recipe

The Best Smoked Whole Turkey

A smoky and 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.

Meet the Perdue Farms Corporate Culinary Team

Chef Chris Moyer, CEC, CRC, and Chef Shawn Reese, CEC, CRC, bring decades of combined culinary experience to their roles at Perdue Farms. Day to day, the chefs contribute to recipe development, culinary ideation and all culinary aspects of the company business. Along with keeping a close eye on emerging trends, new flavors and innovations in the industry, Chefs Chris and Shawn are involved in food photography for and head up planning and preparation of meals for both internal corporate functions and external consumer-focused events. The duo represents Perdue Farms and its brands at food shows across the country and remain 100% focused on a positive consumer experience with Perdue Farms products. "We truly love what we do," they say, "and it is exciting to be in an environment that allows us the freedom to be innovative." LEARN MORE

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