How long to smoke a turkey at 300 Degrees?

How long to smoke a turkey at 300 Degrees?

As a pitmaster, cooking a turkey on the smoker requires careful attention to detail.

When selecting the right temperature for your smoker, it’s important to remember that cooking time depends on several factors, such as the weight of the meat, the smoker’s reliability, and even the outside temperature.

However, knowing how long to smoke a turkey at 300 degrees Fahrenheit can help you predict the cooking time and ensure a succulent and flavorful meal for your guests. Our ultimate guide provides all the information you need to achieve perfection, from preparing the turkey to choosing suitable wood and seasonings.

Following these tips, you can create a juicy, tender, and mouthwatering smoked turkey that will impress your guests and leave them asking for more.

Table of Contents

What are the benefits of smoking a turkey?

Smoked turkey is a delicious dish that can be enjoyed year-round and is an excellent centerpiece for holiday dinners. Smoking your turkey gives it a unique and flavorful taste you cannot get from roasting or frying it. Furthermore, smoking speeds up cooking and requires less time and effort than traditional methods.

Smoking makes your turkey taste delicious and helps preserve the meat and keep it moist. This is because when the smoke from the wood chips comes in contact with the skin and fat of the turkey, it forms a protective layer that helps retain moisture. As a result, you end up with a juicy and succulent turkey that will have everyone asking for seconds.

In addition to its delicious flavor and tender texture, smoked turkey is a healthier option than most types of poultry. The smoky flavor helps mask the fat content, making it an ideal choice for those watching their waistline. Furthermore, smoking reduces the risk of bacterial contamination as high temperatures help kill germs that can cause foodborne illnesses.

Selecting The Right Smoker Temperature

It would help to tailor your meat’s smoking technique to the specific cut to achieve the perfect tenderness and juiciness. At 225 degrees Fahrenheit, beef brisket, pork shoulder, and spare ribs are king. With their high-fat content and connective tissue, slow cooking and low heat are vital to prevent stringy, chewy meat.

Lighter and leaner than beef or pork, poultry needs a different approach, with higher smoker temperatures producing tender and juicy meat. But at the core of both techniques is understanding the impact of fat and collagen content on meat texture; master this, and perfect smoking is within reach.

Smoking a large cut of meat, like a whole turkey, is a delicate process that requires the right temperature for safety and flavor. The safe temperature for turkey is 165 degrees, though dark meat should cook to 180.

Don’t turn the smoker below 200 degrees. Unlike beef jerky, whole poultry requires higher temperatures to avoid rubbery meat. Conversely, more than 300 degrees might rush the cooking process, leaving the turkey without the smoky flavor that makes it unique.

For a perfectly tender and juicy, well-smoked turkey, we recommend setting the cooking temperature to around 275 degrees. 300 degrees will only shave off some cooking time, but it won’t compromise taste. Trust us; these simple steps will help you create the perfect smoked turkey everyone will love.

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Best Size Turkey For The Smoker

Selecting a smaller Turkey when smoking turkey is a wise choice to ensure timely preparation. Although turkeys can weigh up to 30 pounds, cooking a turkey of this size can take forever to reach optimal serving temperature. To keep things uncomplicated, opt for an average weight of 10 to 12 pounds.

What if you’re feeding a crowd, and a 12-pound turkey needs to be more adequate? Consider smoking two 12-pound turkeys together to obtain double the meat yield while maintaining similar cooking times. Trust us; your guests will thank you.

How Long To Smoke Turkey at 300 Degrees

When it comes to smoking a turkey, it’s easy to get lost in the details. While it’s true that a turkey usually takes 15 to 20 minutes per pound to smoke at 300°F, this can vary based on so many factors. And let’s be honest, who can resist opening the smoker to check on the turkey every few minutes?

How long does cooking a 13 lb turkey at 300 degrees take?

Cooking a 13-pound turkey at 300 degrees will take approximately 4-4.5 hours. However, you should constantly monitor your progress and use a food thermometer to avoid overcooking the turkey. Once the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s safe to remove from the smoker and let rest before serving.

How long to smoke a 17 lb turkey at 300?

At 300°F, a 17 lb turkey will take approximately 4.5 to 5 hours to cook. After that, you can let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Always use a food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast to check if it’s reached 165°F before serving.

How long to smoke a 16 lb turkey at 300?

Generally, it will take approximately 4 to 5 hours to smoke a 16-pound turkey at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. If necessary, you can increase the temperature slightly to speed up the cooking process; however, ensure your smoker doesn’t exceed 350 degrees.

How long does it take to smoke a spatchcocked turkey at 300 degrees?

Spatchcock turkeys are usually smaller, so they require less cooking time. Depending on the weight of your turkey and the temperature settings within your smoker, it will take roughly 40 minutes per pound to smoke at 300°F. A 12-pound spatchcock should be ready within 4 and a half hours.

How long does it take to smoke a 20 lb turkey at 300 degrees?

Smoking a 20-pound turkey at 300 degrees usually takes between 5 and 6 hours. This includes resting time, which ensures the juices settle in the meat before eating.

Once your turkey is cooked, it’s essential to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving and serving.

How long does it take to smoke an 18-pound turkey at 300?

Using the 15 to 20 minutes per pound rule, smoking an 18-pound turkey at 300°F should take between 4.5 and 6 hours. However, this is just a general estimation; keep in mind that several other factors can affect your turkey’s cooking time.

How long does it take to smoke a spatchcocked turkey at 300?

When smoking a spatchcocked turkey, the cooking time is significantly decreased compared to a traditional whole turkey. This is because of its flattened shape, which allows for more even heat distribution and faster cook times.

At 300 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect your spatchcock turkey to be done in about 45 minutes to 1 hour. However, it’s always best to use a thermometer and measure the turkey’s internal temperature for accuracy.

How long does it take to smoke a 12-pound turkey at 300 degrees?

It will take around 5 to 6 hours to smoke a 12-pound turkey at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, this can vary depending on the smoker’s reliability and the outside temperature. To ensure perfection, we recommend investing in a thermometer probe that will give accurate readings to know when your turkey is done.

How long does it take to smoke a 15-pound turkey at 300 degrees?

Smoking a 15-pound turkey at 300°F should take approximately 4 to 5 hours, depending on factors like the efficiency of your smoker and outside temperature.

How long does it take to smoke a whole turkey at 300 degrees?

Smoking a whole turkey at 300 degrees can take 3.5 to 4 hours, depending on size. It’s important to keep an eye on the temperature and use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F.

How Long To Smoke Turkey Legs at 300 Degrees?

Turkey legs are a delicious and convenient way of serving the holiday classic. Smaller than a whole turkey, they require less cooking time and are great for feeding larger crowds.

Smoking turkey legs at 300°F requires about 1 to 1.5 hours of total cooking time, depending on their size. Always use a meat thermometer to verify that the internal temperature of the thickest part of the leg is 165°F.

Baste the legs with butter or oil every 30 minutes to ensure a juicy and succulent result. Additionally, adding aromatics like herbs, spices, and wood chips will give your turkey legs an extra flavor boost.

About Spatchcocking

Did you know that spatchcocking a turkey can reduce cooking time by up to 30%? Whether you’re a professional chef or an amateur cook, it’s a technique worth trying to achieve perfectly cooked poultry.

Spatchcocking, or butterflying, involves removing the backbone and pressing down on the breastbone so the turkey lies flat. While it’s a widespread technique in restaurants, you don’t need a butcher to do it for you. Follow these simple equipment-needed steps to spatchcock your turkey at home:

  1. Place the turkey breast side down on a clean, large work surface.
  2. Cut along both sides of the backbone using poultry shears or a sharp knife.
  3. Remove and save the spine for later- it’s great for making soups or stocks!
  4. Turn the turkey over so that the breast side faces up.
  5. Tuck the wing tips and pull out the thighs, laying the turkey flat on the work surface.
  6. Lay a hand on either breast and press down until the breastbone cracks. Repeat the process on both sides.

With the proper preparation, you are assured of delicious evenly-cooked turkey, and the best part is that it cooks faster!

A Warning About Smoking Turkey at 300 Degrees

Smoking a turkey at 300 degrees is not recommended, as it can result in an unevenly cooked and dry turkey. To achieve the best results, your smoker temperature should be set to 250-275°F.

Your turkey will cook more slowly at this lower temperature, allowing for even cooking and ultimate juiciness. Additionally, the additional time spent in the heat helps break down the collagen and fat, resulting in a much more flavorful turkey.

When your turkey is cooked, let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving and serving. This helps the juices settle back into the meat, resulting in a much juicier turkey cut.

Smoking a turkey is one of the best ways to make delicious, tender, and juicy poultry. With a bit of preparation and some patience, you’ll be sure to have a perfectly cooked turkey every time!

How To Choose a Turkey for Smoking

Smoking a turkey is a great way to elevate your culinary game, but it all starts with choosing the right turkey. Here’s what to consider before you fire up your smoker.

First, think about the size based on your guest count. A good rule of thumb is to plan for 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person, but if your crowd is bigger, up the portion size to 2 pounds. Remember, you want to avoid grabbing the most giant turkey you can find. Aim for an 8-16 pound turkey to ensure even cooking.

If you need more meat, you can smoke multiple smaller turkeys simultaneously or opt for turkey legs or breasts alongside a whole turkey. Just know that cuts will cook at different rates, so you must adjust accordingly.

But it’s not just about size. Quality matters too. Avoid turkeys labeled “basted” or “enhanced,” as these already have seasoned, and you risk overdoing it with your spices. And don’t even think about frozen turkeys. Always buy fresh!

Finally, when selecting your turkey, remember that males weighing over 16 pounds will be less tender. If you’re serving picky eaters, avoid surprises by sticking to female turkeys.

How To Choose Turkey Wood For Smoking

Wood choice can be just as crucial as your turkey selection, if not more so. While you want to pick one that complements the subtle flavors of the turkey, there are other factors to consider too.

There are a few main categories of wood suitable for smoking turkeys: fruit woods, nut woods, and hardwoods. Fruit woods like apple, cherry, and peach are very mild in flavor and won’t overpower your turkey taste. Nut woods like pecan and hickory have a stronger smoky flavor which can be robust, so it’s best to use them in moderation. Hardwoods like oak and mesquite add a bold smokey finish with an extra layer of flavor.

When it comes to safety, always opt for wood chips free from chemicals and preservatives. This means avoiding any wood you find in your yard, as these could be treated with pesticides or other hazardous products. Stick to purchasing natural and untreated wood from a reputable source instead.

Ultimately, the best wood for smoking your turkey will depend on personal preference and the size of your turkey. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you!

How To Prepare Turkey For Smoking

Proper preparation of a whole turkey is crucial for achieving a delectable, perfectly smoked turkey. Here’s what you must do to ensure your turkey is ready to enter the smoker and emerge cooked to perfection.


The initial and paramount step in preparation is properly thawing the whole turkey. Place it inside the refrigerator until completely thawed, allowing several days for the process, contingent upon size and quality. Rest assured, the wait is well worth it for a succulent and satisfying meal.


Brining is a crucial technique for achieving juicy, flavorful food. To get it right, create a saltwater solution and submerge your turkey for 8-18 hours, depending on weight. Your taste buds will thank you for the extra time and effort.


When it comes to seasoning a turkey, it’s one of the most crucial steps in the entire cooking process. To get that crispy skin everyone loves, start the seasoning process when the turkey is dry. Pro tip: use paper towels to pat the turkey dry before you begin.

Now onto the good stuff – seasoning. While the classic combo of salt and pepper is a tried-and-true method, there’s no harm in spicing things up with garlic, herbs, and spices to suit your taste buds. Don’t forget to season the turkey thoroughly from top to Bottom, including the hard-to-reach spots between the legs and wings.

Once the turkey is correctly seasoned, rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. This step is essential to ensure even cooking and delicious results. Trust us; your guests will be raving about your perfectly seasoned turkey.

How to Smoke Turkey in Cold Weather

If you’re looking forward to having a snowy Thanksgiving or a white Christmas, you don’t have to give up the delicious taste of smoked turkey just because the outside world is frosty and frozen. While the chilly air can make it a little more difficult to control the temperature of your smoker, there are still ways to do it!

You can build an insulated structure around your smoker or wrap it in a wielding blanket to keep the cold air out. If you’re serious about smoking, consider lining the structure with insulation to ensure no frozen drafts slip in.

Remember that in colder weather, you’ll need more fuel to keep your smoker running, so make sure you’ve got plenty of coal or pellets on hand. Alternatively, you could use an electric or propane gas smoker instead, which won’t be affected by the cold similarly.

There’s one thing you should never do, though: never, ever smoke a turkey indoors. It’s a good idea, but the lingering smell will be almost impossible to eliminate!

The Top Tips for the Perfect Smoked Turkey

Below are the guidelines to follow for smoking a turkey. These rules will ensure your turkey is juicy and flavorful, satisfying your guests.

-Defrost the turkey Completely

To ensure even cooking, it’s crucial to thaw your turkey completely before roasting. So don’t even attempt smoking a frozen turkey! Instead, allow enough time to defrost in the fridge thoroughly. This simple step will give you the best and safest results.

-Consider Butterflying Turkey

Spatchcocking, also known as butterflying, involves removing the turkey’s spinal bones and flattening them. While not a traditional Thanksgiving shape, the extra effort pays off – the turkey cooks evenly and smokes quickly.

-Brine Turkey

Brining a turkey is essential for achieving maximum succulence and flavor that melts in your mouth. The process is straightforward: sprinkle kosher salt over the entire turkey, under the skin, and refrigerate it for 24 hours. When the skin is dry to the touch, your turkey is ready to be roasted and savored. Trust us on this – brining can make all the difference in your Thanksgiving feast.

-Choose the Right Wood

Selecting the perfect wood for smoking turkey is vital to ensure the ideal smoke flavor; apple, cherry, or maple wood chips work wonderfully for a milder taste. While hickory and mesquite can be overpowering due to the mildness of turkey flavor, a blend of sweeter fruitwoods and hickory or mesquite provides a smokier and more compelling taste to your turkey.

-Place the Turkey Breast Side Down

As discussed earlier, the turkey’s breast cooks faster than the rest.

Therefore, it is important to arrange the turkey specifically – with the breast facing away from the heat source.

In most smokers, the heat source comes from above, so placing the breast side down will prevent it from getting direct heat.

Placing a drip or water pan below the entire turkey is vital to catch any drippings and keep your smoker clean.

-Monitor the Temperature Carefully

When it comes to smoking a turkey, more is needed to rely on temperature and time alone to determine how long to smoke it. To get the perfect smoked turkey, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to track the temperature. Especially when smoking a whole turkey at 300 degrees, the turkey will cook much faster.

I recommend using a meat thermometer in the turkey throughout the smoking process to ensure you get it right. Please place it in the thickest part of the breast meat, but keep it at least an inch away from the bone.

-Be Careful Towards the End of the Process

One reason to determine the smoking time for your turkey is to help guide you during cooking. By calculating the cooking rate, you can accurately track when the turkey is nearing completion.

Be vigilant as the turkey gets within a half-hour of finishing. Watch the thermometer closely once the breast reaches 145°F. Once it reads a safe 150°F, it’s time to remove the turkey.

-Let the turkey Rest

Resting the turkey after removing it early from the smoker is crucial. During this downtime, the turkey continues to cook by another 10 degrees, which is pivotal to achieving that perfect doneness at your table.

Gifting your turkey with this rest also means the meat gets to reabsorb every inch of the juices it lost during the cooking process. The result is super moist and tender meat – how it should always be!

Although some people love to tend their turkeys in aluminum foil, you can rest them on a wooden cutting board.

How to Store Turkey Leftovers?

Once you’ve enjoyed your smoked turkey, store the leftovers correctly. To keep it safe for eating and prevent spoilage, wrap the meat in plastic or aluminum foil and refrigerate it within two hours of cooking.

Make sure to cut off any pieces of skin and cooked fat, as bacteria can thrive and cause food poisoning in these areas. Once your leftovers have been refrigerated, they will be kept for 3-4 days.

You can freeze the cooked turkey in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag for a longer shelf life. Frozen meat should last up to 6 months in the freezer when properly stored.

When ready to eat the turkey, let it thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. This will ensure that all of the flavors and juices are retained and that it cooks evenly. To make sure your leftovers are cooked through, use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached 165°F.

How to Reheat Turkey?

If you’ve frozen your smoked turkey, thaw it in the refrigerator for the best results. You can also microwave it for a few minutes until it reaches room temperature.

Once your turkey has thawed, there are several ways to reheat it. Oven heating is one of the most popular methods, as it’s a great way to bring out the flavors. Cover with foil and place in an oven preheated to 325°F—heat for 25 minutes per pound or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Try reheating your turkey in the microwave if you need a quicker solution. This is best for small pieces of meat, such as drumsticks or slices of breast. Place the turkey in a microwave-safe dish and heat it on high for 3-4 minutes per pound until it is warmed.

What to Serve with Turkey at 300?

No Thanksgiving feast is complete without delicious sides and accompaniments to enjoy alongside your turkey.

Try roasted vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, carrots, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and gravy. Desserts like pumpkin tarts or apple pies also make a great way to top off your meal.

For a truly authentic Thanksgiving experience, offer an array of homemade bread. From traditional dinner rolls to cornbread muffins and focaccia buns, you can guarantee there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When to Smoke a Turkey at 300 Degrees

-Not Brining 

Brining your turkey before smoking it at 300 degrees is a must. Brining helps to keep the meat juicy and flavorful while adding additional moisture. Without brining, the turkey will dry out faster and have less flavor.

-Using Too Much Wood

Smoking requires a careful balance of smoke and heat. Too much wood can cause the turkey to become bitter and overpowering. Stick to milder fruitwoods such as apple or cherry combined with a small amount of hickory or mesquite for a better tasting result.

-Not Monitoring Temperature 

Monitoring temperature is an essential part of smoking a turkey. If your smoker is set at 300 degrees, the meat may cook too fast or not reach a safe temperature. Be sure to use a thermometer to check the turkey’s internal temperature throughout cooking and remove it once it comes to 150°F.

-Resting Too Long 

After smoking, rest your turkey for about 15 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a much juicier turkey. Letting it rest too long can cause the turkey to become dry and tough.


Smoked turkeys should be cooked appropriately, which will dry the meat and make it less flavorful. Err on the side of caution and remove the turkey when it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F.

A Comprehensive Guide to Smoking a Turkey at 300°F

Hello there! As your resident chef, I will teach you how to smoke a mouthwatering turkey at the perfect temperature of 300°F. The process consists of preparing the turkey, selecting the ideal wood chips, calculating the cooking time, and maintaining the smoker’s temperature. Lastly, we’ll explore how to rest and carve the turkey for a delectable feast.

Step 1: Preparing the Turkey


  1. You’ll need a turkey that weighs approximately 12-15 pounds. Defrost the turkey if it’s frozen, removing the giblets from the cavity.
  2. Prepare a wet brine, water, salt, and sugar mixture. You can also add herbs and spices to the mixture to enrich the flavor. Use 1 cup of kosher salt and 1/2 cup of sugar for every gallon of water.
  3. Once the brine is prepared, place the turkey in a large container and submerge it completely. Cover it and refrigerate for 12-24 hours to let it absorb the flavors.


  1. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Make sure it’s entirely dry to ensure even smoking and crispy skin.
  2. You can now rub the turkey with your preferred seasoning mixture, either a dry or a wet paste. A blend of paprika, garlic, onion, black pepper, and thyme works wonders for your turkey’s flavor.


  1. To truss the turkey, start by tucking the wings underneath the turkey to avoid overcooking and burning.
  2. Next, tie the legs together securely with the butcher’s twine to help it retain its shape during cooking.

Step 2: Selecting Wood Chips

Choose a mix of mild and sweet woods like apple, cherry, or pecan for a beautiful, smoky flavor. Avoid heavier wood flavors like mesquite, as they overpower the turkey’s taste profile.

Step 3: Calculating Cooking Time

Cooking time primarily depends on your turkey’s weight. At 300°F, the turkey should cook for 15-20 minutes per pound. Ultimately, the internal temperature is your deciding factor and should be measured with a meat thermometer. The ideal internal temperature is 165°F for the breast and 175°F for the thigh meat.

Step 4: Monitor & Maintain Smoker Temperature

Maintaining a steady smoker temperature is essential for even cooking. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge and make adjustments as necessary. Use dampers and vents to control the airflow inside the smoker. Consistent airflow allows the wood chips to ignite and smolder, creating the desired smoke flavor.

Step 5: Resting and Carving Turkey

  1. After the turkey reaches the perfect internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and tent it with aluminum foil, letting it rest for 20-30 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring moist and tender turkey meat.
  2. Sharpen your carving knife and start by removing the legs and thighs. Next, slice off the turkey breast, following the curve of the breastbone. Remember also to remove the wings!
  3. Cut into smaller portions, if needed, and arrange on a serving platter.

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FAQs About How long to smoke a turkey at 300?

How long will it take to smoke a turkey at 300 degrees Fahrenheit?

Typical cook time for a 12-15 pound turkey at 300 degrees Fahrenheit is 15-20 minutes per pound. However, it’s important to monitor the turkey’s internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure that it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (for the breast) and 175°F (for the thigh meat).

Should I remove the skin before smoking a turkey at 300 degrees?

It is not necessary to remove the skin before smoking a turkey. However, removing the skin will result in a crispier exterior.

Can you safely cook a turkey overnight?

It is not recommended to cook a turkey overnight at 300 degrees. The turkey’s internal temperature should be closely monitored and adjusted as necessary. If you cook your turkey overnight, check the temperature regularly and adjust accordingly.

How long does it take to smoke a 22lb turkey at 300 degrees?

For a 22-pound turkey, it will take approximately 4.5-6 hours to cook at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to check the turkey’s internal temperature and remove it from the smoker once it reaches 165°F (for the breast) and 175°F (for the thigh meat).

The Bottom Line: How long to smoke a turkey at 300?

When smoking a turkey at 300°F, it will usually take between 15 and 20 minutes per pound, depending on its size. Smaller turkeys tend to cook more quickly than giant turkeys, and spatchcock turkeys require less cooking time than whole turkeys.

It’s essential to use a meat thermometer to verify that the breast’s thickest part has reached 165°F before serving. If you’re cooking a large turkey that weighs more than 12 pounds, consider smoking two turkeys together to increase yield and reduce cooking time.

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