How Long to Smoke a Turkey at 325°F (And How to Tell if it’s Done!)

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Are you planning to smoke a turkey at 325℉ but are not sure how long it may take? Don’t worry, because we have the answers to your questions covered here.

In this TheGrillingDad guide, you’ll discover:

  • How long you should smoke a turkey at 325℉
  • How to tell if your turkey is done
  • And much more!
a smoked turkey on a smoker

How Long to Smoke a Turkey at 325℉

When it comes to smoking a turkey, it can seem overwhelming to know what temperature to set it on and how long you should cook it. This is especially true if you have always baked your turkey in the oven.

Although many people choose to smoke their turkey at lower temperatures over a longer period, you can set the temperature to 325℉ if you choose. The result will be a turkey that has nice crisp skin and meat that is juicy and moderately smoky.

When you choose to smoke a turkey at 325℉ instead of a lower temperature, you will need to adjust your timeframe. This is because, at this temperature, the turkey will take about 15 minutes per pound instead of the typical 20 or so minutes. 

If you have a 15-pound turkey, for example, and you choose to smoke it at a temperature of 325℉, it will take approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes to finish. Depending on the size of your turkey, you can adjust the times from there.

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Best Temperature for Smoking a Turkey

For those who want a more authentic smoky flavor for your turkey, you should consider doing so at a lower temperature. This is because a smoker is designed to operate low and slow which will result in your meat is tender, juicy, and deliciously smoky.

Most outdoor cooking enthusiasts recommend smoking a turkey at a temperature of about 275℉ for best results. Doing this will give you a turkey that has a robustly smoky flavor while keeping the juices flowing to produce a tender bird.

While you can smoke your turkey at higher temperatures, you may not achieve the results that you are looking for. This means that if you want a turkey that has a strong smoky flavor, you may not get this if you smoke it at higher temperatures.

Related >> Best Smoker for Turkey

Does the Size of the Turkey Matter When Smoking it at 325℉?

For the most part, the size of the turkey only matters when it comes to fitting inside of your smoker. Whether you have a large smoker unit or a small one, you will need to ensure that a turkey is going to fit before planning your entire meal around it.

This means that if you have a smaller unit, you may only be able to fit a turkey that is between 10-12 pounds. However, if your smoker is on the large side, you may be able to fit a turkey that is about 20 pounds.

When you are considering smoking your turkey at 325℉, however, the size of the turkey does not matter, as long as you adjust the time it takes to complete the cooking process. You should keep in mind that a smaller turkey takes less time to smoke than a larger one does, so you will need to adjust the time accordingly.

seasoned turkey with all plastic removed sitting in an electric smoker

Should Turkey be Completely Thawed Before Smoking it at 325℉?

One factor that many people run into when working with a turkey is whether it will thaw in time for the cooking process. This can be overwhelming, especially if you forget to take it out of the freezer in time for it to thaw completely.

At a temperature of 325℉, a turkey should be completely thawed before placing it in the smoker. This is because, with the higher temperatures, the bird will cook faster on the outside than it will on the inside.

The result of smoking a turkey that is partially frozen is that it will take much longer to finish than you may have originally calculated. The extra time can make predicting when the turkey will be done a bit more difficult.

Because of this, it is recommended that you ensure that the turkey is completely thawed before placing it in the smoker. This will result in a turkey that is not only juicy and tender but also crisp on the outside.

If you do discover that your turkey is not thawed as it should be, you may want to consider lowering the temperature to between 225℉ to 275℉. This will allow the turkey to thaw and cook at a nice steady temperature and still produce a delicious bird.

Need to know how to thaw a turkey? We’ve got the answer in this blog article How to Tell if a Turkey is Thawed.

How Does Stuffing a Turkey Affect the Smoking Time?

Traditionally, many people enjoy stuffing their turkey and baking it all at once. When you are smoking the bird, however, this may not be the best idea.

If you decide to stuff your turkey before smoking it, you will need to keep in mind that you will need to adjust the cooking time. This is because the stuffing will need to reach a temperature of about 165℉ to be considered safe to eat.

Since you will have to adjust the cooking time to account for the stuffing, you may compromise the result of the turkey. If you end up cooking the turkey for a longer period, you may lose some of the juiciness that you are striving for.

Additionally, stuffing that is smoked inside of a turkey may not taste as delicious as it would if you were baking it in the oven. This is because while the smoky flavor is ideal for meat, it will most likely cause the stuffing to taste bitter.

Therefore we recommend not stuffing your turkey before you smoke it and instead cooking the stuffing in the oven. 

thanksgiving turkey resting in a pan

How to Tell When a Smoked Turkey is Done?

One of the most difficult parts of smoking a turkey is determining when it is completely done and safe to eat. Keep in mind that turkey and other poultry items are deemed safe when they reach an internal temperature of about 165℉.

In most cases, it is recommended that you remove the turkey from the smoker once it has reached a temperature of 160℉ since it will continue to cook while resting. This means that during the resting stage, it will likely come up to the temperature that is considered safe.

Another important factor to consider is that smoked meats tend to remain slightly pink after cooking. So, don’t panic if you carve into your turkey to find that it looks a little pinkish, especially if you used a meat thermometer to check the temperature.

Do You Need to Rest a Turkey Before Carving?

Resting a turkey is an important part of ensuring that you get the best results possible. This is because, during the resting stage, the juices are reabsorbed into the meat which will result in a juicier taste.

To keep the turkey safe from harmful bacteria, it is important that you only rest it for about 20-40 minutes maximum. After this amount of time, the turkey may begin cooling off which can make it more susceptible to bacteria growth.

If you do plan to let your turkey rest for longer than the 20-40 minute timeframe, be sure to cover your turkey with aluminum foil to keep it warm. This will ensure that it stays at an internal temperature that is deemed safe for consumption.

Read More >> How Long to Rest a Turkey Before Carving?

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12/06/2022 11:43 am GMT

Tips on Smoking a Turkey

While smoking a turkey is a pretty straightforward process, many people want to know what other people recommend. This can be especially helpful if you are new to the smoking process and want to try your hand at smoking a turkey.

If you are interested in learning some helpful tips for smoking your turkey, keep reading.

Choose a Smaller Turkey

Most outdoor cooking experts recommend that you start your turkey smoking experience with a smaller turkey. The reason for this is that it does not have to smoke for as long, which can be beneficial for nervous people.

Keep the Smoker Closed

During the smoking process, you may be tempted to open the lid and just check out what is happening. Just like when you are baking in the oven, opening the lid of your smoker can cause it to lose heat which can result in longer cooking times.

Experiment with Spices

As you begin to get more confident in your turkey smoking abilities, you may want to experiment with different spices and rubs. While a turkey tends to have a great flavor by itself, you may find that you like some of the rubs that other outdoor cooks recommend.

Spatchcock Your Turkey

If you want to ensure that the darker meat in your turkey gets most of the heat, you can butterfly, or spatchcock your turkey. This means cutting the breastbone out so that the turkey lays flat on the smoker, which results in the breast meat remaining juicy.

Stay Away from Aluminum Foil

Although you may cover your turkey with aluminum foil when you are baking it in the oven, you should not do so when you are smoking the bird. The entire purpose of smoking a turkey is so your bird has a succulent smoky flavor, which cannot be achieved if you cover it with aluminum foil.

Use a Meat Thermometer

Because the recommended temperature of the turkey should reach 165℉, you should always use a meat thermometer. Only relying on the estimated time can result in you and your guests becoming sick from various bacteria.

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12/06/2022 11:53 am GMT

Final Thoughts on How Long to Smoke a Turkey at 325℉

The bottom line when it comes to how long to smoke a turkey at 325℉ is that it depends on the weight of your turkey. In general, you should allow 15 minutes for every pound of meat. Just be sure to check your turkey with a meat thermometer and that it reaches a temperature of 165°F before you pull it out of the smoker. 

Hope Davis

Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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