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 Traeger and their recommended methods. However, some Traegers 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 end result. Right, let’s get into this!
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Table of Contents
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- Cooking Time: Typically 4 hours (18-20 lb turkey)
- Traeger Temp: 225 to 300 F
- Turkey Internal Temp When Done: 165 F (we’ll discuss this)
- Best Traeger Pellets For Turkey: Turkey blend or signature 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 Traeger
I think the video below from Traeger on how to roast a turkey for Thanksgiving/Christmas is one of the most thorough cooking videos they have produced to date.
Within the video below, you will learn not only how to brine the turkey but full preparation/seasoning before placing the bird on the smoker and, finally, how to carve the meat and produce great gravy.
Now, in the video below, the turkey goes through the wet brine process, which does involve placing it in a large pan/container and back into the fridge overnight.
However, unless you have a lot of spare room in your refrigerator, that’s going to be tricky. In that case, check my main article on smoking a turkey for alternative dry brine/injection methods.
While butter is placed under the skin of the turkey, the exterior of the skin is just coated with olive oil in this recipe which you may or may not want to follow. Many people choose to just use butter.
Where the video above is light on information is the actually smoking/roasting process within the Traeger. While a temperature of 300 F is stated, no mention is made of using ‘Super Smoke’.
If you use Super Smoke (if your Traeger model has it), the temperature inside the Traeger will fluctuate between 165 and 225 F. Hence, it would result in a longer cook time than the typical 3 to 4 hours.
However, if you want to get the most smoke flavor into your turkey, you may wish to consider using Super Smoke. Or if you have an older Traeger, you have the smoke setting on the dial.
Instead of taking the turkey off the Traeger at 165 F, its taken off at 160 F so that while resting, the turkey’s internal temperature will continue to rise a little to the all-important (safe) 165 F.
Best Traeger Pellets For Roasting/Smoking A Turkey
Choosing the right pellets can be tricky, especially if you have not cooked much on your Traeger previously and experimented with various different pellet flavors.
I have a separate article on how to pick the best pellets for specific meats, but really, its each to their own, and that article is mainly based on my own personal preferences.
As referenced in the video above, if you want to keep things simple, Traeger does actually sell a ‘Turkey Blend’ of pellets made from Mapple, Hickory, with some additional rosemary added in.
Generally speaking, when it comes to poultry and turkey, many people believe (including myself) that milder/sweeter pellet flavors work best, such as Oak, Apple, Cherry etc.
|Pellet Flavors For Turkey||Smoke Flavor|
While you only want to put high-density/durable pellets into your Traeger, don’t feel compelled to only purchase Traeger pellets. There are many worthy brands out there.
The links on the pellet flavors above go to my articles on the best value pellets, where through many hours of research, I was able to find out which brands are offering the best value pellets per lb.
Does Your Traeger Need A Blanket To Cook Good Turkey?
Smoked/roast turkey can make a delicious meal at any time of year. But the reality is most people will be reading this article in preparation for cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving/Christmas.
Therefore, that means you are going to be using your Traeger in a colder/winter climate. The fact is, some Traeger models are better suited to smoking/roasting a turkey in this type of climate than others.
The reason being, some Traeger models, the more premium/modern models, feature twin-wall insulated construction, which provides a couple of specific benefits.
First of all, twin-wall construction reduces pellet usage as the cooking chamber is able to hold onto its heat better in a colder climate, but there is another benefit, and that’s more consistently cooked food.
A whole turkey and particularly large birds are going to take up a larger area inside the cooking chamber. Well, without twin-wall construction, there can be wide temperature differences in the cooking chamber.
Therefore, without twin-wall construction, some areas of the turkey may be cooked more than others, making it much harder to get a consistent end result that you’ll be happy with.
Which Traeger Models Feature Twin-Wall Construction?
So first off, let’s discuss which Traeger models feature twin-wall construction. Hence, if you own one of these models, you don’t need to worry about getting an insulated blanket.
- Traeger Ironwood Gen 1 – Side Twin-Wall Construction
- Traeger Timberline Gen 1 – Full Twin-Wall Construction
- Traeger Ironwood Gen 2 – Full Twin-Wall Construction
- Traeger Timberline Gen 2 – Full Twin-Wall Construction
If you own a Traeger Pro Series Gen 1/Gen 2 or other another older Traeger model, your pellet grill/smoker will not feature twin-wall insulated construction.
Therefore, I would strongly encourage you to look into ordering an insulated blanket to cook the most consistent turkey possible over Thanksgiving/Christmas.
Final Thoughts On Roasting/Smoking A Turkey On A Traeger
Ideally, you’ll have the time to brine your turkey to get the best flavor/texture possible. However, as discussed above, a wet brine can be a challenge, but dry brine/injecting is another option.
In terms of the temperature for your Traeger, you could conduct the whole cook at 300 F or start at a lower temp on the smoke setting/Super Smoke if you so choose.
Remember, you are looking for an internal temperature of at least 165 F in the turkey for it to be safe to eat. Your Traeger does have a meat probe, so you might as well use it.
However, I would strongly encourage you to have a second meat probe, such as an instant-read thermometer on hand as a means to double-check the Traeger meat probe result.
When it comes to pellet choice, generally milder/sweeter pellet flavors are recommended, such as Oak, Apple, Cherry, or Maple. But really, the choice is up to you.
Finally, please take note of my comments above on twin-wall insulation and insulated blankets. It really can make the difference between a poorly cooked turkey and something you’re proud of.
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. 🙂
Research/compare over 240 pellet grills/smokers on sale today