Butter & Herb Smoked Turkey on a Pellet Grill
Smoked Turkey Recipe – brined and basted with butter and herbs for the best Smoked Thanksgiving TurkeyWHAT MALCOM USED IN THIS RECIPE:
- Malcom’s Bird Brine
- Meat Bags
- Clear Seasoning Shaker
- Hand Saver Gloves
- Black Nitrile Gloves
- Thermoworks DOT
- Red Handle 5″ Boning Knife
- Red Handle 10″ Chef’s Knife
Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey – brined for 48 hours, stuffed with aromatics and basted every hour with butter and herbs. This pellet grill smoked turkey recipe is perfect for the holidays.
- 1 bottle Malcom’s Bird Brine
- 2 gallons water
- 1 whole turkey
- 2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated garlic
- 1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
- 1 stalk celery cut into 2–3” pieces
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 lemon halved
- 8–10 garlic cloves
- Herb bundle (fresh rosemary, thyme, sage)
Butter Herb Baste
- 2 sticks melted butter
- 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
- Place turkey in a large meat bag inside a brine bucket or large container (stockpot will work). Pour the bird brine into one gallon of water and whisk. Pour the mixture over the turkey and add the additional water to cover the bird. Close the bag to keep the bird submerged and refrigerate for 48 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the brine and allow it to drain. Use paper towel to absorb moisture from the cavity and skin. Place the turkey on a wire rack over a sheet pan and air dry in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Prepare Traeger pellet grill for smoking at 300 degrees using the Turkey Blend pellets for flavor.
- Stuff the cavity with celery, onion, lemon, garlic, fresh herbs and 1 stick of butter. Tie the legs together using butcher twine.
- Melt one stick of butter and brush over the skin. Combing the Kosher salt, granulated garlic, and poultry seasoning in a shaker. Season the outside of the bird generously with the seasoning mix.
- Place the bird on the smoker *tip: keep it on the wire cooling rack to make rotating and moving the bird on/off the grill
- Smoke the turkey for one hour and then start basting it with the butter herb mixture every hour.
- Insert a probe thermometer at the 2 hour mark to monitor internal temp. Shield with aluminum foil once the skin gets a golden brown color. 9. When the turkey reaches 165 degrees in the breast remove it from the pit and rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
It’s time to nail down that Thanksgiving bird and I my Traeger Butter & Herb Turkey recipe will make you the star of Turkey Day!
For this recipe I start with a 17lb bird. Like most turkeys you find in supermarkets it came frozen. I simply put it I the fridge for 4-5 days to allow it to slowly defrost.
Forty eight hours before cook day the seasoning process starts. I use a long soak in a brine to get flavor and moisture all the way down into the meat.
For the 2 day soak I used a bottle of my Malcom’s Bird Brine along with cold water…that’s all there is to it. The Turkey goes into a meat bag inside a large brine bucket. Dump the bottle of bird brine in a gallon pitcher filled with water and give it a stir. Pour the mixture over the bird and add a little more water just until the bird is covered. I close the meat bag squeezing air out to keep it submerged. Place the bucket in your refrigerator and forget about it for 48 hours.
After the brine carefully take the turkey out of the brine solution and allow it to drain. Use paper towel to absorb as much of the moisture off the skin and out of the cavity. To help the skin dry I place it on a wire rack over a sheet pan and let it hang out in the refrigerator for a couple hours.
Now it’s ready to smoke. For this cook I fired up my Traeger Timberline 1300 pit set at 300 degrees. I smoke turkeys at a little higher temp to help render the fat underneath the skin which helps it almost crisp on the smoker.
While the Traeger is coming up to temperature, I stuff the cavity with celery, onion, lemon, garlic cloves, an herb bundle (fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage) and a whole stick of butter. To hold everything inside the cavity, tie the legs together with butcher twine. This will also help the bird cook more even.
Next it’s time for the seasoning. I start by brushing the skin with melted butter and season it generously with a mixture of Kosher salt, granulated garlic and dry poultry seasoning. This is a blend Mike Mills taught me years ago.
Before placing the turkey on the pit I sit it on a wire cooling rack to make rotating and removing from the pit easy. Place the bird on the Traeger and close the lid. For smoke flavor I ran Traeger’s new Turkey Blend pellets. These pellets were designed especially for cooking a delicious bird. They have a mix of hard wood and maple along with a hint of Rosemary.
After an hour I start basting the turkey. Melt butter and mix in some finely chopped rosemary, thyme, and parsley. It’s basically a butter herb baste that creates a beautiful and tasty skin. Be sure to drizzle the bird on all sides including the wings and legs.
After two hours baste again and insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part on the breast. Set the target temp for 165 degrees. I also cover the wings loosely with aluminum foil to protect them from getting too dark.
Continue to smoke until the alarm goes off basting with the butter herb mix every hour. Once the skin gets golden brown you can tent the whole turkey with foil.
I reached 165 at about the 4 1/2 hour mark but trust your thermometer don’t go by time alone.
Remove it from the smoker and let it rest a few minutes before carving. Once you platter this bird and bring it out to the Thanksgiving table jaws will drop and mouths will water!!! Serve it with your favorite holiday sides and enjoy.