turkey tastes better on a pellet grill

Best Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe for Pellet Grills

Joe Lizer

Thanksgiving turkey recipes are a dime a dozen and it’s hard to pick just one with so many scrumptious options on the web to choose from.  It seems like every photo you see in online recipes displays a perfect Thanksgiving turkey with a golden brown crust that makes your mouth water just by looking at the photo.  With so many options to choose from, how do you choose just one?

Lucky for you, Joe Lizer has perfected his smoked turkey recipe that will leave your tastebuds satisfied and your guests impressed with just how juicy and flavorful a turkey can be.   Whether this is your first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner or you just harvested your first wild turkey during Spring Gobbler season and you’re itching to try a new recipe, this one is guaranteed not to disappoint.

turkey tastes better on a pellet grill
Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe for Pellet Grills

Backyard BBQ connoisseur Joe Lizer has shared his juiciest Thanksgiving turkey recipe that you’re not going to want to wait for Thanksgiving to try on your own.  This is NOT your Grandmother’s dry turkey recipe, this might be your new favorite family-sized meal, regardless of the season.

  • Total Time:
    • Prep Time for Brine:  10 mins
    • Brining Time:  12 hours
    • Prep Time between bringing and cooking:  25 mins
    • Cook Time:  4 hrs
    • Resting time:  20 mins
  • Servings:  10 servings


juicy turkey recipe

Look closely at how juicy this slice of turkey breast is!!!

The Juiciest Thanksgiving Turkey You’ll Ever Eat!

Prepare the Brine:

Step 1:  Add the Meatchurch Bird Bath Brine and 1 gallon of cold water to the food-safe container and use a whisk to thoroughly mix it together.

Step 2:  While the brine dissolves cut the orange, apple, and lemon into slices or quarters. Whisk the brine again and then add the 12-pound turkey. If needed, add water until the turkey is completely covered.

Step 3:  Add in the cut orange, apple, lemon, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and peppercorn.

Step 4:  Let it sit in the brine overnight or a minimum of 1 hour per pound.

best brine to remove gamey taste of wild turkey

Dry, Spatchcock, and Apply Binder:

Step 5:  Take the turkey out of the brine and pat it dry.  You can use paper towels to pat the turkey dry without issue in most cases.

Step 6:  Spatchcock (or remove the backbone) of the turkey. There are a ton of videos online showing how to do this and I have attached one below to help you.  Once you are done, lay the turkey flat with the meat side up.

Step 7:  Apply a binder to the turkey. I fully believe the only choice here should be Duke’s Mayo. Duke’s Mayo will not affect the flavor, its purpose is to lock in the moisture and help the seasoning adhere to the turkey.

the easiest thanksgiving turkey recipe

Fire up the Grill:

Step 8:  Preheat pellet grill to 260 degrees.  (Hickory pellets are my go-to.)

Step 9:  Season the outside of the turkey with your choice of seasoning.  There’s a lot of meat, so don’t be afraid to apply a heavy amount of seasoning.  Let the seasoning adhere for 15 to 20 minutes before grilling.

Step 10:  Smoke the turkey at 260 degrees for approximately 20 minutes per pound of the original weight.

Quick Tip:  12-pound turkey = approximately four hours of grilling time.

Step 11:  Prepare a baste by melting one stick of unsalted butter and your seasoning of choice.  You can utilize the same seasoning that you applied to the turkey or pair it with a unique seasoning of your choice for added flavor.  Apply one tablespoon of seasoning per cup of melted, unsalted butter.

Step 12:  Gently baste the turkey every hour.

should you baste a turkey when grilling

Finish, Rest, and Carve:

Step 13:  The turkey should be done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Check the internal temperature of the turkey in the thickest part of the breast. Normally, I pull my turkey off the smoker at 160 degrees because there will be some carryover heat that will increase the internal temperature of the meat to approximately 165 degrees.

Quick Tip:  Overcooking the turkey will yield poor results and produce a dryer piece of meat.  Invest in an inexpensive meat thermometer for the best results.

Step 14:  Remove the turkey from the smoker and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

Quick Tip: Let the turkey rest at room temperature on a clean cutting board. You don’t want to wrap it in foil or cover it because it will steam and make the skin very soggy.  This is an important step that you want to ensure you do properly for maximum taste and texture!

Step 15:  Carve, serve, and enjoy the beautifully smoked turkey you just created!

internal temperature of thanksgiving turkey
how to present a thanksgiving turkey

Notes from Chef Joe:

This recipe has become a staple for my family and friends. My wife and many of my friends hated turkey and I always had to make a ham to go along with the turkey. When I asked them why they didn’t like it they all had the same answer “It’s so dry!”. I couldn’t really argue with them, most of the turkey I had through my life was dry as well but I’m a gravy fiend so I didn’t really care.

This recipe creates anything but a dry turkey, make sure you have a deep ridged cutting board to catch all the juice that is going to come from this bird when you carve it.

This recipe uses multiple methods to make sure that you end up with the juiciest turkey possible. First, off we are going to brine the bird.  Second, we will spatchcock it to keep direct heat off the meat, third we use a binder to lock in the moisture.

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How to Spatchcock a turkey:

Ready to buy the necessary products to bring this recipe to life?  You can find Meat Church seasonings at Scheel’s and Duke’s Mayo on Amazon.  The rest of the grocery items should be common at your local grocery store.

In the market for a new pellet grill?  Check out Joe’s review of the Camp Chef Smoke Pro SG24.

Side Dishes You Might Enjoy

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Related Recipes

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Thanks to Joe for submitting this mouth-watering recipe. Hunting Gear Deals is funded by affiliate commissions. We may receive a small commission when you buy from our partners using the links provided. There is no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting us by using our links when making your purchases.

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Joe lives in Parkersburg, WV with his wife and two children. For his day job, Joe is a salesman with a background in management, however, his passion is volunteering.   Joe is a volunteer firefighter within his community and a pillar within his church.  When Joe isn’t volunteering, you’ll find him preparing delicious meals for friends, family, and even strangers.

Are you interested in submitting wild game recipes of your own?  Send an email to:  camron.[email protected]