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 Pit Boss and their recommended methods. However, some Pit Boss 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)
- Pit Boss Temp: 225 to 300 F
- Turkey Internal Temp When Done: 165 F (we’ll discuss this)
- Best Pit Boss 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 video 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 Pit Boss
There is a huge number of Pit Boss pellet grills/smokers, from dedicated horizontal pellet grill/smokers to pellet grill/gas combo units and vertical pellet smokers.
No matter what type of Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker you own, you can cook a great smoked/roast turkey following the proper procedure, and many people believe that starts with the brine.
If you, like me, have eaten dry turkey meat before, its not the best. So when it comes to cooking a turkey for your family over Thanksgiving/Christmas, dry turkey is obviously something you want to avoid.
Well, brining the turkey (placing it in salt/seasoned water) can infuse additional moisture and flavor into the bird, which helps to avoid dry turkey meat once cooked.
The wet brine kit, as shown in the image above, will involve placing the turkey in the bucket in brine water and then placing the bucket overnight in the fridge for the brine to do its thing.
Then its a case of removing the turkey from the brine, rinsing it off, and placing it back in the fridge for the skin to dry out before it gets placed on your Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker.
It works really well to produce moist turkey meat. The problem is finding that much space in your fridge may be a real challenge. Therefore in my main turkey article, I discuss dry brine/injection alternatives.
When it comes to the actual smoking/roasting process on a Pit Boss, the best video I’ve come across is from Mike (WeekendWarrior) and him smoking a turkey on his Pit Boss vertical pellet smoker.
In terms of temperature settings on a Pit Boss for smoking/roasting a turkey, your options will partly depend on your specific Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker model and the control panel.
Older Pit Boss models with time-based temperature controllers, in some instances, can only set the temperature in 25 to 50-degree intervals (Navigator/Sportsman/Mahogany).
The same is actually true with the Pro Series Gen 2 despite its PID control panel. However, more modern models Pro Series Gen 3, Competition Series, and Onyx Edition, have 5-degree temp adjustment.
With a temperature of around 300 F for a typical 18 to 20 lb turkey, that will result in a cooking time of around 4 hours to reach the all-important (safe) 165 F internal temperature.
However, if you want more smoke and your Pit Boss model has a smoke setting with P-Setting adjustment, you could go with a lower temperature setting of 225 F or below.
You will get more smoke at the lower temperature settings, but the cooking time could increase significantly by several hours, so you’ll need to consider that.
Best Pit Boss Pellets For Roasting/Smoking A Turkey
As you can see with the Pit Boss brine kit above, Apple pellets are a popular choice, and Mike, in his video above, chose to go with the Pit Boss Competition blend, which is a good all-rounder.
Generally, with poultry and turkey, many people, including myself, prefer a milder/lighter smoke flavor. Therefore, fruitwood flavors like Apple but also Cherry pellets are popular.
However, if you are not sure which pellets to choose, the Pit Boss Classic or Competition Blend is a good starting point, as they can be used for a wide range of meats, including poultry/turkey.
In my article on how to choose pellets for specific meat, I discuss various flavor recommendations, but they are only that recommendations. There are no hard rules when it comes to choosing pellets.
Likewise, just because you own a Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker, don’t feel you only need to purchase Pit Boss pellets. There are many different brands out there worth considering.
|Pellet Flavors For Turkey||Smoke Flavor|
The links above go to my articles, where I spent many hours researching which brands offered the lowest cost per lb of pellets of that particular flavor, and Pit Boss was indeed often one of the best value.
If you would like to learn more about how and where Pit Boss pellets are made, that link goes to my article covering the various locations in the US where Pit Boss pellets are made.
Does Your Pit Boss Need A Blanket To Cook Good Turkey?
Most people are going to be reading this article on smoking a turkey in the run-up to Thanksgiving or maybe Christmas. As such, in many locations in the US, temperatures will be dropping.
While any Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker can indeed smoke food in winter, you do have to be aware of the lower outside ambient temperature and its impact on your pellet grill/smoker’s performance.
First off, if your Pit Boss pellet grill does have a P-Setting, you will want to make sure that it’s dialed in for the colder temperatures to avoid a potential flameout situation.
However, if you own a Pit Boss horizontal pellet grill/smoker, you are also going to need to consider an insulated blanket. Whereas with a Pit Boss vertical smoker, they are better insulated.
To date, no Pit Boss pellet grills/smokers, not even their vertical pellet smokers, are well-known for their twin-wall insulated construction. However, their vertical smokers are better insulated.
Therefore, if you own a Pit Boss horizontal pellet smoker and you want to cook during November/Christmas, and particularly if you live in a northern state, consider a blanket.
Now, you cannot use just any blanket due to the fire risk. You need to fit a proper fireproof insulated blanket for your pellet grill/smoker, of which Pit Boss currently sells two versions.
Final Thoughts On Roasting/Smoking A Turkey On A Pit Boss
Through the information above and Mike’s video, you should be well on your way to smoking/roasting an excellent juicy/tasty turkey for your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal.
Ideally, you’ll have the time (and space in your fridge) to wet-brine your turkey overnight before smoking it the next day. However, dry brine or marinade injections are available as alternative options.
With wet brining in particular, you need to be very careful, and please follow USDA guidance on how to wet-brine your turkey safely to avoid the risks of salmonella/e-coli poisoning.
In terms of the cooking process, with a temperature of around 300 F, a typical large turkey (20 lbs) will finish cooking to an internal temperature of 165 F in around 4 hours.
If you choose to cook at a lower temperature where more smoke will be produced due to a less efficient pellet burn, the cooking time will increase by potentially a couple of hours.
Therefore, the whole process of brining the turkey and cooking it could take well over a day. Therefore, its very important to plan ahead, to have that finished turkey at the table on time.
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. 🙂