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Are Smoked Turkeys Precooked?

Are you tired of the mundane, traditional turkey for your Thanksgiving feast? Do you crave a mouth-watering main dish that will impress your loved ones and leave them begging for more? Look no further, because we have the perfect solution for you: smoked turkeys.

So, are smoked turkeys precooked?

Yes, smoked turkeys are fully cooked and can be served hot or cold. Smoking is a long, slow cooking process that uses low, smoky heat, so well-smoked meat is already cooked and doesn’t need to be cooked further.

To reheat a smoked turkey, you can preheat your oven to 300°F and avoid reheating it at too high a temperature or for too long so the meat doesn’t dry out. You can also remove any netting before heating or slicing.

You can thaw a frozen smoked turkey in the refrigerator for 36–48 hours. Butterball recommends thawing smoked turkeys in the refrigerator, as it’s the least labor-intensive method but takes longer.

Keep reading to discover more about smoked turkeys and how to masterfully create them yourself. Trust us, once you experience this method, there’s no turning back to plain old roasted turkey.

How long do you cook an already-smoked turkey?

When cooking an already-smoked turkey, the recommended time is 3-4 hours at 275°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F. To ensure that the turkey is thoroughly heated without being overcooked, it’s important to follow these helpful tips:

  • Use a meat thermometer: This is the most accurate way to determine if the turkey has reached the desired internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast without touching the bone.
  • Thaw frozen turkey in the refrigerator: If you are reheating a frozen pre-smoked turkey, make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating. This will ensure that it cooks evenly and thoroughly.
  • Use a lower temperature and longer cooking time: When smoking a raw turkey, it is best to use a lower temperature (250°F) and longer cooking time (30 minutes per pound). This will help prevent overcooking and ensure that the turkey stays moist.
  • Brining, basting, and using a drip pan: Adding flavor and moisture to the turkey while smoking can be achieved through brining or basting. Using a drip pan can also help keep the turkey moist by catching any drippings.
  • Cover the turkey: Trapping moisture and preventing the turkey from drying out can be accomplished by covering the turkey with aluminum foil while smoking.
  • Let the smoked turkey rest: After cooking, let the smoked turkey rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, making the turkey more juicy and flavorful.

How long does it take to smoke a raw turkey?

Smoking a raw turkey is a delicate process that requires patience and careful attention. The cooking time for a turkey of average weight, cooked at 275°F, is estimated to be around 10 hours.

However, the actual time may differ depending on various factors such as the turkey’s weight, accuracy of the smoker’s temperature, type of wood used for smoking, and whether or not the turkey has been brined.

To ensure that your smoked turkey is perfectly cooked and safe to eat, it is crucial to monitor the internal temperature of both the dark and white meat using a reliable meat thermometer.

The table below outlines the estimated cooking times for different weights of turkey at 275°F.

Weight of Turkey Estimated Cooking Time
12-14 lbs 8-9 hours
16-18 lbs 9-10 hours
20-24 lbs 10-11 hours
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However, it is important to keep in mind that these are only rough estimates and it is always best to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey is fully cooked. The internal temperature should reach 165°F in the thickest part of both the breast and thigh. If it has not yet reached this temperature after the estimated cooking time, continue cooking until it does.

Aside from monitoring the internal temperature, there are other tips that can help you achieve a perfectly cooked smoked turkey. These include thawing a frozen turkey beforehand, brining with kosher salt for added moisture and flavor, using a spice rub with olive oil and sugar for extra taste, wrapping the breast in foil while waiting for the dark meat to cook, and following food safety guidelines.

How do you keep a smoked turkey moist?

When it comes to keeping your smoked turkey moist during the cooking process, there are numerous methods you can employ. These include brining, using a water pan in the smoker, injecting the turkey with liquid, cooking at high temperatures, opting for two smaller turkeys instead of one large one, utilizing the beer can method, and placing butter under the skin before smoking.

Are Smoked Turkeys Precooked-2

  • Brining: One effective technique is to soak the turkey in a saltwater solution overnight. This enhances the flavor and moisture of the meat, preventing it from becoming dry during smoking. For added taste, you can also infuse the brine with herbs and spices.
  • Water pan: To increase humidity and moisture, place a water pan in your smoker. Remember to refill it as needed throughout the smoking process to prevent dryness.
  • Injecting: Another way to add moisture and flavor is by injecting the turkey with a liquid mixture. You can use a pre-made marinade or create your own blend using herbs, spices, and broth.
  • High temperatures: To maintain juiciness and achieve crispy skin, try smoking at high temperatures (325°F-400°F) for a shorter period instead of low and slow cooking which can result in dryness.
  • Cooking two smaller turkeys: Cooking two smaller turkeys instead of one large one is another way to reduce cook time and avoid dryness. This also allows for experimentation with different flavors and cooking methods.
  • Beer can method: An unconventional yet effective method is to place the turkey upright on a beer can while smoking it. As the beer heats up, it steams and adds moisture and flavor to the meat.
  • Butter under the skin: For juicy meat and added taste, place butter under the skin before smoking. Be sure to season the butter with herbs and spices for even more flavor.

Remember to always use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F, but be careful not to overcook the turkey as this can lead to dryness.

By following these methods, you can guarantee a succulent and flavorful smoked turkey for your next BBQ gathering.

Do I need to baste a smoked turkey?

No, you don’t need to baste a turkey. You can still get a juicy turkey with crispy skin without basting. In fact, basting can be counterproductive because it can cause the oven temperature to fluctuate and make the turkey cook unevenly.

However, basting can help keep the turkey moist and help crisp up the skin. You can baste with chicken broth or melted butter while smoking the turkey. If you’ve brined your turkey before hand, you can skip the basting step.

Other tips for smoking a turkey include:

  • Brine the turkey overnight to keep it from drying out during the smoking process
  • Coat the turkey with fat only initially
  • Minimize seasoning
  • Stuff the turkey’s cavity with aromatics like onions, apples, and fresh herbs
  • Dry the skin so it crisps up better and helps the meat absorb smoke flavor
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How long does it take to reheat smoked turkey?

When reheating smoked turkey, it is crucial to follow proper methods to ensure its safety for consumption. The recommended time and temperature for reheating depend on whether you are reheating the entire bird or just leftovers.

For reheating the whole bird, it is advised to use an oven set at 250°F. Slowly heating the turkey at this low temperature will help prevent the meat from drying out. To ensure it is safe to eat, use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the turkey, which should reach 140°F. Once it reaches this temperature, let it rest for 30 minutes before carving.

When reheating leftover smoked turkey, it is best to disassemble the meat and store it in food storage containers with added fat or moisture. This keeps the meat from drying out while being reheated. When using a microwave, be sure to reheat the turkey to an internal temperature of 140°F before serving.

Here is a table summarizing the recommended time and temperature for reheating smoked turkey:

Reheating Method Temperature Time
Whole Bird 250°F Internal temperature of 140°F
Leftovers Microwave on high Internal temperature of 140°F
Leftovers Oven set at 250°F Internal temperature of 140°F

It is worth noting that leftover smoked turkey can also be used in various dishes and recipes. Just make sure to reheat it to an internal temperature of 140°F to ensure its safety.


In conclusion, smoked turkeys are a delectable and impressive alternative to the traditional roasted turkey for your Thanksgiving feast. Not only do they offer succulent meat infused with a rich smoky flavor, but their perfectly crispy skin adds an extra layer of texture and depth to each mouth-watering bite. And the best part? They are a healthier option compared to conventional roasting methods and require minimal effort – simply set it and forget it while you enjoy quality time with your loved ones.

But the benefits don’t end there – smoked turkeys are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from sandwiches to soups. By choosing this unique and flavorful twist on the classic holiday meal, you are sure to impress your guests and leave them craving more.

And if you’re wondering about cooking or reheating times for a smoked turkey, we’ve got you covered. With helpful tips such as using a meat thermometer, thawing frozen turkey beforehand, and utilizing brining or basting techniques, you can achieve perfectly cooked and moist smoked turkey every time.