How Long to Smoke a Turkey: Whole Turkey, Breast, Legs and Wings

How Long To Smoke A Turkey


There are many special occasions that are absolutely incomplete without serving turkey. One of the prime occasions is that of Thanksgiving in which, turkey is a showstopper meal.

There are two ways of preparing turkey. You can either smoke it or grill it. Well, if you want to go all traditional then smoking a turkey is the best choice to make. It adds to the taste without steaking away the tenderness.

How Long To Smoke A Turkey?

Now, the next question is about how to smoke and how much time to give the smoking process. Let’s start with the simple steps.

Turkey TypeSmoke TemperatureSmoking TimeFinished Internal Temperature
Whole Turkey240° F4 – 6 hours165° F
Turkey Breast240° F3 – 4 hours165° F
Turkey Legs225° F4 hours165° F
Turkey Wings225° F1.5 – 2 hours165° F

1. In A Smoker

There are different times and temperatures used for smoking different parts of turkey. Let’s take a look:

Whole Turkey

For an entire turkey, you can start by setting the smoker at 240° F. For 8 – 12-pounds of turkey, you should cook for 4 – 6-hours. For each pound, you should smoke turkey for 30-minutes. You can estimate the temperature according to the quantity of the turkey.

Turkey Breast

For smoking the turkey breast, you again have to set the smoker at 240° F. The breast is no different and it will take just as much time for each pound as the whole turkey. An average weight of turkey breasts is 6-pounds and it will take almost 3-hours for it to get smoked.

Turkey Legs

Turkey legs don’t need as much heat as rest of the parts. You can set the smoker at 225° F and you have to use 4-hours to smoke them. In this time, it should be able to reach the internal temperature of 165° F.

Turkey Wings

Lastly, there are turkey wings that will need the smoker on 225° F and cook them for 1.5 – 2-hours.

2. In A Grill

Here are all the details on how you can cook turkey in a grill.

Turkey TypeGrill TemperatureGrilling TimeFinished Internal Temperature
Whole Turkey325° F4 hours165° F
Turkey Breast355° F1 – 2 hours165° F
Turkey Legs325° F45 – 60-minutes165° F
Turkey Wings325° F30 – 40-minutes165° F

Whole Turkey

In a grill, it takes 15-minutes to cook each pound. You have to set temperature on medium/high on about 325° F. You can estimate the time according to the weight of the turkey.

Turkey Breast

The turkey breast can use high heat or high temperature of 355° F. You can set it up for indirect cooking and it should take not more than 1 – 2-hours to achieve 165° F.

Turkey Legs

For turkey legs, you need the grill ready on 325° F and set up for indirect cooking. You can sear over the direct heat for not more than 2 – 3-minutes on each side and allow it to grill for up to 60-minutes to reach 165° F temperature.

Turkey Wings

So, lastly the turkey wings that also require temperature settings of 325° F and takes 30 – 40-minutes to cook completely.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Much Smoked Turkey Per Person?

Generally, for each person 1-1/2-pound turkey is the most suitable size. Any turkey with an overall weight of 15-pounds will be able to serve 10 – 12 people.

2. What Spices Work Best For Smoked Turkey Recipe?

Mostly people prefer seasoning the turkey with simple salt and pepper. You can also add granulated garlic, onion, and some paprika. All these spices will be able to boost the taste of turkey.

3. Should I Brine Turkey For Smoking?

Brining turkey is important when you are following other techniques of cooking a turkey. However, with smoking, there is no need of brining because a smoker helps in balancing the moisture and flavor of meat, so there is no need of brining ahead of time.

4. Do I Speed Up Cooking Time?

If you are in a hurry, you can follow the Spatchcock method of cooking. In this, you just have to remove the backbone of the turkey which can bring the cooking time on a considerable down.

5. Should I Use Leftover Smoked Turkey?

Since turkey takes a lot of cooking time, it’s only fair that you use the leftover turkey. With it, you can make amazing turkey stock, soup, ramen, mashed potatoes with the turkey gravy, etc.


The main target of smoking turkey is to achieve the right cooking temperature. The smoked turkey is authentic and ensures amazing taste, full of natural juices. Try these methods of smoking and grilling to make the best turkey this festive season.