Smoking a Turkey Electric Smoker Style

If you are wondering how to smoke a turkey electric smoker style, then you come to the right place.  We have smoked dozens of turkeys in an electric smoker.  The good news is that if you use our easy to follow instructions you can have a tasty turkey recipe you can make over and over.  Your friends and family will be asking, when is the next time you will be smoking a turkey again.

There other question a lot of people ask us is, if electric smoker turkey is better than in the oven or smoked in a wood burning pit?  And the answer is YES!  We have perfected our Cajun Injected Electric Smoker Turkey recipe.   Here is what we will cover:

  • What Size of Turkey do I need?
  • Applying the Electric Smoker Turkey Rub / Spices
  • Getting your Electric Smoker Ready!
  • Place Turkey in Smoker and Start the Smoking Process

Let’s get this bird started!

Step 1: What Size of Turkey do I need?

This is the recipe we used to feed our friends and family during Thanksgiving but you can use this method anytime. However, before you start getting your Turkey ready for the smoker, you will need to know how to pick out a turkey for an electric smoker. The good news about electric smokers is the stainless-steel racks can be removed, so the height of the Turkey is not an issue. And the width of the Turkey is not an issue as well. For example, we have smoked a 16-pound Turkey and not had an issue with fitting in a 30 inch Masterbuilt Electric Smoker.

The real question becomes how long you want to spend smoking the Turkey because for each pound it must smoke for 30 minutes at 225°F. We recommend using a turkey between 12 to 14 pounds, as this is the normal size you will find in the grocery story. You can pick whatever brand you like (e.g., Butterball), we picked our grocery’s brand.

Step 2: Applying the Electric Smoker Turkey Rub / Spices

Before you start to put your spices on the turkey, you must prep the turkey. First, take out the giblets and neck from the cavity of the Turkey.  Usually, these are in one or sometimes two bags in the cavity. Do your best to not damage the Turkey’s skin because it will keep the meat from drying during the smoking process.

Clean and Dry Turkey: Rinse the bird in cold running water. Rinse both the outside of the bird and the body cavity. The next step, is to dry the Turkey.  It is very important that you completely dry the turkey. The turkey should be pat dried with a towel to get it ready for seasoning.

Seasoning the Turkey: This is my favorite part or as I like to say, “this is when the magic happens.” We will be injecting a Cajun brine and applying a dry rub.  It is important to note, similar to chicken, Turkey meat takes on the brine and dry rub flavors well.

Here is what you will need:

  • Apple Juice for a 50/50 mixture of apple juice and water
  • 1 whole turkey (about 12 – 14 pounds), thawed
  • Olive Oil
  • Tony Chachere’s injectable Cajun butter turkey seasoning
  • Dry Rub Mix
    • Cumin
    • Black Pepper
    • Onion Powder
    • Garlic Powder
    • Paprika
    • Kosher Salt

Inject the Turkey: First, we inject the bird with the Tony Chachere’s injectable Cajun butter turkey seasoning. The great news is this Tony’s comes with a marinade injection syringe.  Follow the directions on the packaging and inject the Turkey thoroughly.  Use this entire container of injection.

Apply the Dry Rub: Before applying the dry rub, drizzle olive oil over the Turkey and rub all over.  The olive oil with both allow the dry rub to stick but also give the turkey a shiny finish.  Next, sprinkle the dry rub on the bird, don’t forget to add rub in the cavity.  There will be a lot of juices from the Cajun injection, so try not to move the turkey too much or the juices from the brine will wash the dry rub off.   Below is what your turkey should look like after applying the rub.

Now it is time to put your Turkey back in the refrigerator while you go get your electric smoker ready to go.

Masterbuilt Electric Smoker Recipes Tip: When learning how to smoke a turkey electric smoker style, it is very important to ensure the bird is properly dried or else there will be too much liquids after the Cajun injection is applied and the dry rub will just wash off.

Step 3: Getting your Electric Smoker Ready!

If this is your first time using your electric smoker, you need to read the manufacture’s manual and complete the curating process. The curating process takes 3 to 4 hours, so it is important to get this done a head of time. The curating process is completed only the first time you use the smoker and you will never have to do this again.

Pre-heat the electric smokehouse to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. For most smokers, this will only take 15 minutes. Now, we will need to add water and apple juice (50/50 mix) to the water pan, which will keep the smoked turkey moist and infuse a sweet apple flavor.

Wood Chip Selection: The next step in smoking a turkey electric smoker style is to select the type of wood chips. If you are familiar with wood burning grills than this step will be straight forward with you. For Turkey, we recommend sticking with Mild to Moderate wood types. For our Masterbuilt smoked turkey, we recommend Apple wood chips. Below is a complete list of wood types and paring recommendations from Weber:

Now that we have selected a wood type, place the wood chips in the e smoker. Each electric smoker has a different method to load wood chips, we recommend following your manufactures instructions to be safe. Refill wood chips at least every 1 ½ hour or every one hour for an even smokier taste.

Step 4: Place Turkey in Smoker and Start the Smoking Process

Now it is finally time to put your bird in the electric smoker. Here is a picture of what your Turkey should look like in the electric smokehouse. Notice the water pan with the 50/50 water and apple juice mix is placed directly underneath the bird. We also removed two of the stainless steel trays to ensure we had plenty of room for our bird.

The is my favorite step of smoking a turkey electric smoker style!


Set it and Forget It!

Cook Time:  At 225 degrees Fahrenheit, the Turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound to reach the desired internal temperature of 160 degrees F.  For example, a 10 lb. Turkey will take 5 hours to hit the recommended internal temp.  Below is a picture of a Masterbuilt smoked turkey with only 30 minutes of smoking time to go.  If your wondering, the white haze is the smoke from the wood chips.

If you do not own an electric smoker and would like to read an honest review – take a look at our review of the Top Rated Electric Smokers – CLICK HERE!

When is the Bird Ready: Once the internal temperature of the smoked turkey has hit 160 degrees it is time to take the turkey out of your electric smoker. Rest the Turkey for 30 to 45 minutes, during this time the Turkey will continue to cook and internal temp may rise 5 to 10 degrees – which is normal. Check out our Masterbuilt Smoked Turkey pictures below (taken during the resting period).

The Last Step is to slice-up the electric smoker turkey and ENJOY!

Now you know how to smoke a Turkey Electric Smoker Style!