How to Smoke A Turkey On A Pellet Grill Without Brine

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How to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill without brine is how some people smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. There are some who feel using a brine is just an extra step in the process of smoking a turkey.

There are advantages to using a brine when preparing a turkey for smoking on a pellet grill, as well as disadvantages. We will be looking at how not using a brine can bring about the desired results with great smoke flavor. Low and Slow can often be just what is needed!

Frequently Asked Question

Can I smoke a turkey without brining?

Smoke A Turkey For Flavor

Absolutely! You will be smoking your turkey at a lower temperature. When you smoke at a lower temperature, there will be less moisture lost during the cooking process. This leaves you with a well-smoked turkey full of flavor that everyone will enjoy.

How Do I Choose My Turkey

As with any other meat, you have to choose the right size turkey for your grill. If you choose a turkey that is too large for your grill you may have to spatchcock your turkey into sections for smoking. On the other hand, if you choose a turkey that is too small, there may not be enough.

Finding the right size turkey should be dependent on the number of people you will be feeding. Try to find a turkey that will be enough for everyone but not so large that you will have pounds of meat left over. The USDA recommends that any leftover smoked turkey be thrown away after 3-4 days. This prevents any accidental food poisoning from spoilage. Even though you have kept the turkey in the refrigerator, bacteria will still grow causing spoilage.

Another reason for choosing the right-sized turkey is variety. What do I mean by variety? Who likes to eat the same thing for days on end? Still, if you do have turkey leftover, don’t panic! There are a number of recipes you can use for having your turkey prepared differently. You can always put it in the freezer for later use.

When putting some of the leftovers in the freezer, try taking a look at some different ideas on how to add seasonings to the leftovers for flavorful meals later. By freezing the leftovers, you have the option of adding other seasonings for a completely different meal without spending very much on seasonings.

Special Note

After you thaw your turkey, remember to take all the giblets out. You may find that your turkey is not completely thawed due to the giblets that were in the cavity. Allow more time for the center of the turkey to continue to thaw. This will enable your turkey to cook evenly throughout.

What Temperature Do I Use To Smoke My Turkey?

Smoke A Turkey

There are a number of settings to use when smoking a turkey. Part of the way in which you season your turkey will determine which setting to use. If you are using the setting 225-250F, you will be smoking your turkey for longer than 6 hours. When using a higher setting, be careful not to overcook your bird.

The higher temperatures will not only speed up the cooking of your turkey but also increase the risk of your turkey being dry after reaching the fully cooked temperature. Remember, when you take the turkey out of the smoker to let it rest, it is still cooking.

To avoid overcooking your turkey, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Some experts claim your bird will cook at 30 minutes per pound, while others make the claim of 40-45 minutes per pound. Who do you listen to? The best advice I can give you is if you are not brining and cooking at 225F, go with the 40-45 minutes per pound.

I say this because at the lower temperature your turkey is not going to dry out very quickly. You will be retaining the natural juices from your bird. One tip, place a shallow pan underneath your bird with apple juice or a mixture of apple juice and water.

Smoke A Turkey For Flavor

Before you start smoking your turkey, pat it down to remove any excess moisture. Apply olive oil to your turkey being sure to rub it on all of the bird. This allows your rub to stick to your turkey for great flavor. You will also need to do this to the inside of your bird as well. You will have the added benefit of the seasonings to penetrate more fully into your bird for great flavor.

Many people smoke their turkey for speed, this is unfortunate since they lose the opportunity to add great flavor to this magnificent meat. For added flavor when smoking your turkey take the opportunity every hour to baste it with a butter mixture with your choice of herbs.

Some Added Techniques For Flavor

Smoked Turkey With Great Taste

Some Final Thoughts

I have always enjoyed smoked turkey, until recently, I have allowed others to do the smoking. I have learned how to smoke a turkey without brine, with brine and injected. For a more natural flavor I will not brine but still have great flavor from the smoke. I tend to use pellets from a fruit such as apple, cherry, peach or pecan. These pellets don’t have as strong a flavor as with hickory, mesquite, or post oak. I want the flavor of the turkey to be the star of the dish.

The most important part of smoking a turkey may very well be, remove it from your grill at the right time and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes. Removing your turkey when the internal temperature reaches 165F means you have a turkey that is not overcooked. Allowing it to rest helps keep the juices inside and not on the cutting board, meaning you will have a moist, succulent, tasty turkey for all to enjoy.

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