I’ve previously produced my article on how to smoke a turkey on a pellet grill/smoker. This article is going to be more specific about smoking/roasting a turkey on a Camp Chef and their recommended methods. However, some Camp Chef models out of the box will smoke/roast a more consistent turkey in a colder climate around the holidays (Thanksgiving/Christmas). Therefore, we’ll discuss how to address this potential issue to get the best result. Right, let’s get into this!
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- Cooking Time: Typically 4 hours (18-20 lb turkey)
- Camp Chef Temp: 225 to 300 F
- Turkey Internal Temp When Done: 165 F (we’ll discuss this)
- Best Camp Chef Pellets For Turkey: Apple or Competition Blend
I’m no BBQ expert. My expertise is how pellet grills/smokers work and the range of makes/models on the market. When it comes to how to cook on a pellet grill/smoker, I’ll be referring to the professionals.
Therefore, first off, with all raw poultry, turkey included, food safety is very important with regards to salmonela/e-coli etc. Therefore, please follow the CDC’s advice on handling/storing turkey meat.
While the videos I’ve included below on smoking a turkey is a whole turkey, the general principles/process are the same for when you’re just cooking turkey thighs etc, with the cooking time being shorter.
How To Smoke/Roast A Turkey On A Camp Chef
I’ve included two videos below from Camp Chef on how to smoke/roast a turkey on one of their pellet grills/smokers. A quick/easy method and a more involved method where stuffing/gravy is also made.
Now, neither of the Camp Chef videos below reference brining the turkey, which is a little odd, as many regard the process of brining a turkey as essential to avoid dry/fluffy turkey meat.
However, if you do wish to brine your turkey, check out my main turkey article, where I include a video on the wet brine, dry brine, and injecting the turkey with marinade.
Smoking/Roasting A Turkey (Quick & Easy)
So maybe you don’t have much time this Thanksgiving/Christmas to prepare and cook your turkey, but you still want it to taste great, of course, hence why you’re using your pellet grill/smoker.
Well, in that case, you could consider picking up a ‘Turkey Cannon’ from Camp Chef and using it to produce a very nice/evenly cooked turkey and cook it in a shorter period of time.
The Turkey Cannon is a metal stand that not only supports/evaluates the turkey but it also serves another purpose. You can use it to infuse additional flavor/moisture into the bird.
Before placing the turkey on the cannon stand, you can pour wine/juice and other liquids into it. The video below shows white wine and lemon juice to add additional flavor.
In terms of seasoning/prepping the bird, a simple butter rub is produced with salt/pepper added. This is then applied under the skin and then over the whole outer surface of the turkey.
As the turkey is elevated in the cooking chamber while on the cannon, heat is better distributed all around the bird, and the cooking time can also be reduced by as much as 50% to around 2 hours.
The turkey cannon speeds up the cook in a similar fashion to a rotisserie, but really its more closely related to the well-loved beer can chicken approach.
Smoking/Roasting A Turkey (With Stuffing & Gravy)
The second video I’ve included below is a more traditional/classical method to approach a smoked/roast turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas with the associated trimmings (stuffing/gravy).
Instead of using the Turkey Cannon as seen above, the turkey is cooked on a ‘natural rack’. This simply means the turkey is placed in a tin on top of vegetables/fruits, and there is some sausage in there too.
As stated in the video, the sausage will help to provide additional fat, and the fruits/vegetables will create additional flavor and moisture as they steam cook below the turkey.
Stuffing is prepared and cooked on propane SideKick attached to the Camp Chef before it is placed inside the turkey, and the legs/wings are trussed up to keep them close to the body while cooking.
If you don’t truss the legs/wings over a four-hour smoking session, there is a good chance the legs/wings will overcook before the main body of the turkey has reached the all-important 165 F.
Melted butter is then poured under the skin of the turkey and massaged around. Finally, the outer skin of the turkey is dressed in avocado oil, but as stated in the video, olive oil is also a good option.
Neither of the videos above discusses temperature/smoke settings very much, so let’s discuss that now.
Camp Chef Temperature/Smoke Settings For Turkey
Besides choosing your preferable pellet flavor for smoke infusion, your Camp Chef’s temperature setting and, importantly, the smoke setting will influence the flavor of your cooked turkey.
In terms of temperature, you’ll want to keep it under 300 F for two reasons. One, lower temperatures on a pellet grill/smoker produce more smoke, but second, higher temperatures are generally unsuitable.
When cooking a whole bird, whether its turkey or any other kind of poultry, you need all of the meat to hit is safe cooking temperature (165 F). Higher temp settings will often overcook the outer parts before the center of the bird has finished cooking.
In terms of smoke settings, older Camp Chef models (SmokePro) have a ‘Lo Smoke’ or ‘Hi Smoke’ setting. In comparison, more modern Camp Chef models, such as Woodwind or Apex, feature a one-to-ten smoke setting.
Now, if you own a Woodwind Pro with its additional smoke box, you can obviously add additional smoke from burning a handful of wood chips, wood chunks, or charcoal.
However, unless you have already practiced the cook before Thanksgiving/Christmas, be careful creating too much smoke as poultry takes on smoke flavor very easily.
Best Camp Chef Pellets For Roasting/Smoking A Turkey
When it comes to choosing pellet flavors, if you already have experience using a certain pellet flavor to cook poultry/turkey, go with what you have found to prefer.
When it comes to choosing pellet flavors for specific meat, there are general recommendations, but they are only that recommendations. Feel free to experiment/play about.
However, what I would say is if you haven’t smoked a turkey before, and this is the first time you will be doing so for family and friends, here are some recommendations.
Poultry, including turkey, will highlight smoke flavor, and they don’t need a strong smoke flavor from Mesquite or Hickory to give you a smoke flavor taste. Therefore, a sweet/mild flavor is generally best.
Just because you own a Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker, don’t feel obligated to only purchase Camp Chef pellets. There are many different brands/flavors worth trying.
Below I’ve provided a table with links to the various pellet flavors best suited to smoking turkey. Those links go to my articles on the best-value pellets from different brands I’ve been able to find.
|Pellet Flavors For Turkey||Smoke Flavor|
Does Your Camp Chef Need A Blanket To Cook Good Turkey?
Smoking/grilling in the summer months is very different from trying to use your Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker in the winter months, and lower ambient temperatures need to be acknowledged.
First off, when cooking in the winter months, you are going to have to expect higher pellet usage. So make sure you have additional bags of pellets to hand to cover that.
However, the lower ambient air temperatures around the cooking chamber can also influence the cook itself more directly in the sense of wider temperature differences across the cooking chamber.
To make sure your turkey cooks as consistently as possible over Thanksgiving/Christmas, your Camp Chef may need the assistance of an insulated blanket to cook the best turkey possible.
Camp Chef sells insulated blankets for 24″ and 36″ versions of their horizontal pellet grills/smokers. They also sell blankets for the vertical XXL and vertical XXL Pro smokers.
Currently, there is only one Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker that will not benefit from an insulated blanket, and that’s the Camp Chef Apex models, for a specific reason.
The Apex is the first Camp Chef model to date that features a twin-wall insulated lid. Therefore, an Apex does not need an insulated blanket to keep the heat in.
Final Thoughts On Roasting/Smoking A Turkey On A Camp Chef
I hope at least one of the two methods for smoking/roasting a turkey on a Camp Chef is useful to you in cooking a great turkey for family/friends during the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.
Using the turkey cannon will likely cook the turkey more quickly, all other things being equal. Then again, a shorter cook time also means less time for the turkey to absorb smoke.
When it comes to smoke production, a lower temperature setting closer to 200 F will produce more smoke, and you will have other smoke setting options to choose from as well.
Unless you have a Camp Chef Apex, I would strongly encourage you to invest in an insulated blanket to provide a more consistent cooking chamber temperature when cooking in the colder months.
When it comes to pellet flavors, my personal choice is Apple, but there are lots of other options to choose from. With a sweet/mild pellet flavor generally recommended for smoking/roasting turkey.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. I hope the above information/videos have guided you on your path to smoking an excellent turkey.
As always, please check out my Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more about all the different makes/models of Pellet BBQs now on the market. 🙂