Sizing up a turkey for smoking isn't rocket science, it's more like bird biology - with a pinch of meat math thrown in!

So you want to know what size turkey to smoke and how long it takes, huh? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Let me share my knowledge and experience with you.

When it comes to smoking a turkey, the size really matters. You want to aim for a turkey between 10 and 12 pounds, so it fits nicely on the cooking grate with the smoker lid closed. But don’t worry if you can’t find one in that range. You can always get two smaller turkeys or spatchcock a larger one to speed up the cooking process.

Now, the ideal smoking temperature is 275 degrees, and the turkey should cook at a rate of 20 to 25 minutes per pound at this temperature. And don’t forget to let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

So there you have it, my friends. Get ready to smoke the perfect turkey and impress your guests with your smoking skills. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • The ideal weight range for a smoked turkey is 10 to 12 pounds.
  • If a 10-12 pound turkey is not large enough, consider buying two smaller turkeys or spatchcocking a larger turkey.
  • The smoking time for a turkey is approximately 20 to 25 minutes per pound at 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Estimate at least 1-1/4 pound of turkey per person, rounding up to 1-1/2 pounds for more meat or big eaters.

What Weight for Smoking?

When it comes to smoking a turkey, the ideal weight range is between 10 and 12 pounds. This ensures that the turkey fits on the cooking grate with the smoker lid closed. If you need a larger turkey, consider buying two smaller ones instead.

To speed up the cooking process for larger turkeys, try spatchcocking. This involves removing the backbone and pressing down on the breastbone.

It’s important to note that the recommended smoking temperature is 275 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, a turkey should cook at a rate of 20 to 25 minutes per pound. For example, a 10-pound turkey would take around 3-1/2 to 4 hours to smoke.

Remember to let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Average Weight

On average, turkeys found in the supermarket range in weight from 10 to 30 pounds. This wide range of sizes allows for flexibility when choosing a turkey for smoking.

There are several factors that can affect the choice of turkey size. Firstly, consider the number of people you will be serving. If you have a large gathering, a larger turkey will be needed to ensure everyone is well-fed.

Secondly, think about cooking time. Smaller turkeys cook faster than larger ones, so if you’re short on time, a smaller turkey would be a better choice.

Additionally, the size of your smoker should also be taken into account. Make sure the turkey will fit comfortably inside the smoker with the lid closed.

By considering these factors, you can choose the perfect size turkey for smoking and create a delicious meal that will satisfy everyone’s appetite.

  • Emotion-evoking sub-list:
  • Cooking a perfectly smoked turkey is a deeply satisfying experience that will impress your family and friends.
  • The anticipation of carving into a succulent, smoky turkey is enough to make anyone’s mouth water.

Ideal Size

Choosing the perfect turkey for smoking involves considering factors like the number of people I’m serving, cooking time, and the size of my smoker. When it comes to size, I prefer smaller turkeys weighing between 10 and 12 pounds. However, if a smaller turkey is not sufficient, I can opt for two smaller birds or even try spatchcocking a larger turkey to speed up the cooking process. To achieve that delicious smoky flavor, I pay attention to the type of wood I use for smoking. Different woods impart different flavors, so I choose ones like hickory, apple, or cherry for a rich and smoky taste. When working with a smaller turkey, I have a few tips to ensure that the smoky flavor is not compromised. Firstly, I make sure to brine or season the turkey before cooking to enhance its flavor. Secondly, I maintain a consistent smoking temperature of 275 degrees and cook the turkey at a rate of 20 to 25 minutes per pound. This ensures that the turkey is cooked through while still retaining that desirable smoky flavor.

Cooking Time

To ensure the perfect cooking time for my smoked turkey, I rely on maintaining a consistent smoking temperature of 275 degrees and cooking the turkey at a rate of 20 to 25 minutes per pound. This allows the turkey to cook evenly and ensures that it is moist and flavorful.

When smoking different cuts of turkey, such as the breast or legs, it is important to adjust the cooking time accordingly. For the breast, it should be cooked at the same rate as a whole turkey, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

As for the legs, they can be smoked until they reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

To achieve a crispy skin while smoking, I recommend spatchcocking the turkey, as this reduces the cooking time by 50% and results in a deliciously crispy skin.

Happy smoking!


When spatchcocking a turkey for smoking, I remove the backbone and press down on the breastbone to reduce the cooking time and achieve a crispy skin. Spatchcocking techniques offer several benefits when smoking a turkey:

  • Faster Cooking: By removing the backbone and flattening the turkey, it cooks more quickly and evenly.
  • Crispy Skin: The flattened position allows the skin to become crispy and golden brown.
  • Enhanced Flavor: The even cooking ensures that the flavors penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavorful turkey.
  • Juicy Meat: Spatchcocking helps retain the turkey’s moisture, resulting in juicy and tender meat.

To spatchcock a turkey, I first cut along the sides of the backbone with kitchen shears. Then, I press down firmly on the breastbone until it cracks and the turkey lies flat. This technique can be done before brining or seasoning the turkey.

Spatchcocking is a game-changer when it comes to smoking turkeys, and it’s definitely worth giving a try.

To Sum Up 💭

FAQs For What Size Turkey For Smoking

Can I smoke a turkey that weighs more than 30 pounds?

Sure! You can smoke a turkey whole, even if it weighs more than 30 pounds. Just make sure your smoker can accommodate its size. As for the wood, feel free to use any type that complements the flavor you desire. Happy smoking!

Should I brine the turkey before smoking it?

Yes, you should brine the turkey before smoking it. Brining enhances flavor, moisture, and tenderness. Try a simple brine of salt, sugar, and water, or experiment with herbs, spices, and citrus for a more flavorful brine.

Can I smoke a turkey without removing the backbone?

Yes, you can smoke a turkey without removing the backbone. However, removing the backbone, also known as spatchcocking, is a great alternative preparation method. It reduces cooking time, helps achieve crispy skin, and allows for even cooking throughout the turkey.

Can I smoke a turkey at a temperature higher than 275 degrees?

Yes, you can smoke a turkey at a higher temperature than 275 degrees. While 275 degrees is the ideal smoking temperature, alternative methods like hot smoking can be used at higher temperatures for a shorter cooking time.

How often should I baste the turkey while it’s smoking?

To keep the turkey moist while smoking, I recommend basting it every 30 minutes with a mixture of melted butter and your choice of herbs or spices. This will help to lock in the moisture and enhance the flavors. For achieving a crispy skin, make sure to pat the turkey dry before smoking and consider applying a rub or seasoning to the skin.

If you liked this article then you might like to check out some of the other beef-related articles we have written!