Confused about Smoking temperature for Turkey


Tom Callahan

New member
This is my first post, and just bought a WSM 18.5 last Friday. I had great Success on my first try with my Pork Butt Sunday, and want to do our 14 lb turkey for thanksgiving. I read on this board that the temp should be at 325-350 for approx. 2.5-3 hours until at 165 degrees. On another no brand specific meat smoking site, their smoking recipes all state they cook at 235-240 for approx. 6 hours until 165 degrees. Is one way better than another or Is either one correct, and just a preference that comes from experience? Is there any benefits / drawbacks to either? It seems most of the recipes for other types of meet is usually low and slow, but is foul different?

Imo, cooking at lower temps is for rendering of fat. You don't need to worry about that for a turkey (or chicken). I agree with the 325-350 recommendations.
Hot and fast for me, 350 to 375, pull at 160 let rest for 20min, carryover will take bird to 165. You'll have a moist beautiful bird. But that's just the way I do ours. Best wishes for a wonderful and successful Thanksgiving.

Lower temps are great for a truly Smoked turkey, but you have to sacrifice the skin because its rubbery. (save the skin and use it to flavor beans, soups ,stews)
Turns out a very moist bird excellent for carving or pulling, but for Thanksgiving I would do like the others and go HH and do the smoked one another time.

Ok, Im Cooking my Turkey and am running into a temperature issue Try to do as directed on the front page of this site. The Temperature on my weber Thermometer is saying its 250 in there at best, and the temperature on the maverick et733 says its well above 315 to 325.
My guess is that the temperature on the smoker gauge is different as after the hot air passes past the colder large bird, its getting cooled off, where as the sensor on the 733 is getting the air before it hits the bird. which one should I follow. I also tested the 733 sensors in boiling water before i used them for the first time and they were spot on.
Thanks. I have also noticed that over time, it seems as though the temperatures are converging. The 733 is hovering around 310 now, and the WSM is now approaching 300. I have all the vents wide open now. if I wanted to get the temp higher, would i just add more charcoal? I will probably leave it at this point but Im curious what could be done if temps aren't High enough.
I did a turkey today, 13LBS. I foiled the pan and opened all the vents wide and propped the door upside down with a notch on my bbq tongs. I was at 300-320 for 4 hours and it came out like a dream. The temp hit 165 and I just lift the whole grill off the coals and foil the bird. It sits there like that for about an hour until we serve it and it's still very hot inside.
Brian, That is a great Idea to wrap it in foil right on the grate. I pulled it off, and it was a bit of a challenge lifting the 14lb bird off the grate. I Will have to remember that one.

This was my first bird, and Second smoking attempt of any kind. My turkey was really done as an experiment and, and since my mother inlaw was making the primary turkey, there was no pressure if the bird didn't come out well. However, everyone was amazed at how well it came out and how flavorful and delicious it was including me. It was certainly the best turkey I've ever had. My wives grandmother is a sprightly 85 and was a cook in her younger years, and she pulled me aside and told me that though she didn't want to say it at the table because it would insult her daughter, she said it was the best tasting turkey she'd ever had too. I take very little credit other than I can follow directions. Thanks for everyones help and a special thanks to the website admin/blogger who wrote up the instructions on the main site. I followed them to a tee. The only thing I might have made a mistake on, was because my bird was a backup, I didn't spend too much money on the bird, so needless to say it was pumped up full of solution @ 9.5%. I put the bird in the normal brining solution before i started reading about how folks would cut down on the salt in the brining solution for higher solution birds. Anyhow, No one noticed or maybe it was what made it taste so good, who knows, but it was juicy and flavorful all the way throughout the breast meat, which is usually to dry for my taste. I can't wait for leftovers..
Happy Thanks Giving.