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Applewood-Smoked Turkey

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Paige Hicks

Hands-on time 50 mins
Total time 5 hrs

Serves 12 (serving size: about 4 ounces)

From the Kitchen of…David Bonom, Longtime Cooking Light Contributor "For one of my birthdays, all of my friends chipped in and gave me the smoker of my dreams, knowing that they would benefit from it. Ever since then, my suburban New Jersey neighbors have gotten to enjoy the smells of my Thanksgiving turkey as it smokes in the backyard." Applewood chips lend a slightly sweet and fruity flavor to the meat. You can also try smoking the turkey with cherry or alder wood chips for more delicate smoked flavor.


  • 4 cups applewood chips
  • 1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

Nutrition Information

  • calories 294
  • fat 7.9 g
  • satfat 2 g
  • monofat 3.4 g
  • polyfat 1.7 g
  • protein 51 g
  • carbohydrate 2 g
  • fiber 1 g
  • cholesterol 167 mg
  • iron 4 mg
  • sodium 522 mg
  • calcium 43 mg

How to Make It

  1. Soak wood chips in water 1 hour; drain well.

  2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey; reserve for another use. Discard liver. Pat turkey dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey.

  3. Combine oil and next 7 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl. Rub oil mixture under loosened skin and over breasts and drumsticks. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place 1 cup water, onion, carrot, and celery in the bottom of a large disposable aluminum foil roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side up, on roasting rack. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

  4. To prepare turkey for indirect grilling, remove grill rack. Preheat grill to medium-high heat using both burners. After preheating, turn the left burner off (leave the right burner on). Place 2 cups wood chips on heat element on right side. Replace grill rack; place roasting pan with turkey on grill rack over left burner. Cover and grill 2 hours and 45 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, turning halfway through cooking time (maintain a grill temperature of about 300° to 350°). Add remaining 2 cups wood chips halfway through cooking time. Place turkey on a cutting board. Let stand 30 to 60 minutes. Discard turkey skin.