Nutrition Facts

Charcoal-Smoked Whole Turkey

Cooks in 5-plus hours
Serves 8-12




Backyard Boss


Mel Chmilar Jr. - Darkside of the Grill


  • 1 - 16 lb. whole turkey
  • Apple wood chunks
  • Natural lump Charcoal
  • Basting brush
  • Sauce bowl
  • Foil droop tray
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup - favorite BBQ rub


Looking for that perfectly smoked whole turkey for the holidays? This Charcoal-Smoked Whole Turkey recipe is from the Darkside of the Grill and was cooked in a kamado style smoker over apple-wood charcoal – and it is just what you need.

Prepping the turkey:
-Defrost turkey in the fridge 4 days or more prior to cooking
-Remove from bag and rinse in sink
-Remove bag of giblets and set aside
-Remove any plastic items or ties
-Set turkey on a tray pat dry with paper towel and allow to air dry 15 min


Prepping the smoker
-Load fire bowl of kamado-style grill with natural lump charcoal in an even 2-inch
(5 cm) thick layer. -Light the charcoal with a paper towel in the coals or charcoal-safe fire starter.
-Add applewood chunks around the charcoal to achieve a long smoke
-Place the diffuser plate in the fire bowl.
-Add a foil drip pan.
-Place the grill grate over the diffuser plate.
-Close lid and preheat to Low (275°F), adjusting the top and bottom vent to
achieve this constant temperature.
Basting the turkey (pre smoke)
-Melt half stick of butter in a sauce bowl
-Mix 2 tsp of your favorite BBQ rub into butter
-Gently paint the turkey with butter until its completely covered
-The butter will harden as the turkey cools it making this process super easy!
Add the turkey to the smoker once its stable at 275 degrees and let smoke 1

Basting the turkey (while smoking)
-Apply a thin layer of BBQ butter to the turkey 1 hour after smoking
-Repeat process every hour until cooked

Resting the turkey
-Once the turkey hits 180 degrees in the thigh and 170 in the breast its time to
-Place turkey on a clean tray and allow to cool 2 min
-After 2 mins tent with aluminum foil leaving gaps to steam
-Rest for 15-20 mins on the counter

Carving the turkey
-Remove foil and place turkey on cutting board
-Holding breast with a meat fork slice the breast horizontal in 1/4 inch thick slices
-Remove wings and drums hole by slicing the joints clean with a sharp knife
-Flip the turkey and slice the darker meat in the same fashion
-Serve meat on a clean platter light to darker with whole limbs on one side

Enjoy that Perfectly smoked Holiday Turkey!

This recipe was created for Turkey Smoke. By Mel Chmilar Jr @darksideofthegrill