How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Turkey (And Why)?

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Turkey (And Why)?

Exact Answer: At Least 6 Hours

For an average-sized turkey, it will take at least 6 hours to cook. Smoked turkey is one of the most consumed dishes during thanksgiving in many parts of the world. It is also cooked on many special occasions.

As this dish takes too much time, it is not cooked regularly. If one wants to have smoked turkey for lunch, then he has to start cooking on the night prior. If the smoked turkey has to be served for dinner, it requires the whole day of cooking.

Everyone has their unique touch to make the smoked turkey. Smoked turkey takes longer to cook as compared to roasted turkey because smoked turkey cooks up at a consistent temperature in its smoke.

Even though this dish takes more than 6 hours to cook, it is one of the most popular dishes. It is because the results after the long hours of cooking are worth it.

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Turkey

How Long Does It Take To Smoke A Turkey?

The time for making a smoked turkey is dependent on many things. On average, it takes at least 6 hours to smoke a turkey. The time can be more or less considering the cooking techniques and the size of the turkey. Patience is the key when smoking a turkey, one must not hastily cook a turkey.

There are many methods to making a smoked turkey. One can smoke a turkey using gas, charcoal, electric smoker, and lastly wood. The time and taste will vary depending on the method used for smoking the turkey.

The taste is the best when the turkey is smoked using wood as it gives the turkey a natural taste. The taste will also be influenced by wood. Cherry wood, applewood, pecan wood, and maple wood are some of the popular woods used for smoking a turkey.

Another great option for smoking a turkey is using charcoal. Using charcoal for smoking a turkey results in an extra smokey taste. To enhance the taste, it is also very crucial to select the right turkey.

The turkey used for smoking must be as fresh as possible. The more old the turkey is drier it will be. It is of utmost importance that the turkey bought is extremely fresh. It will not only enhance the taste but also give the turkey a nice texture.

Also, while buying the turkey it is important to consider the size of the turkey and whether or not it will fit in the smoker. Getting the perfect sized turkey is favorable, too big or too small is not recommended.

Smoke A Turkey


Part Of TurkeyTime Taken To Smoke
Turkey Legs4 Hours
Turkey Breast3 to 4 Hours
Turkey Wings1-2 Hours
Whole Turkey4-6 Hours

Why Does It Take That Long To Smoke A Turkey?

A smoked turkey is a dish that is cooked on extremely low heat and is allowed to cook in its smoke thereby giving it a unique flavor. This process cannot be rushed as it is the most important part of making a smoked turkey, and any compromise in the time will reduce the quality of results.

The time is also directly proportional to the size of the turkey. The larger the turkey more time it will take to cook. Also, the method of cooking influences the cooking time. Try to keep a pan under the turkey while smoking it so that the juices are not wasted.

The turkey should be brought in the day it is to be cooked to maintain the freshness of the smoked turkey. If the turkey is fresh it will taste better and juicy. One must not buy a turkey that looks stale and old.

Smoke A Turkey

A good turkey smoker is also important when smoking a turkey. Proper seasoning should be applied to the turkey to make its taste even better. It is recommended that a turkey should be smoked using wood or charcoal to give it a natural flavor.


The smoked turkey is a dish worth the hard work of many hours. It gives you the taste that no other dish can. After all, that patience one can finally enjoy a delicious smoked turkey.

If mastered, the smoked turkey can be made without much struggle. It only needs practice and the skills to learn how to perfectly smoke a turkey.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. It seems like a lot of work to cook a smoked turkey, I’m not sure if I would want to go through all that!

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