Spicy Smoked Turkey

13-14 lb turkey
olive oil

for the dry rub:
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons hot paprika
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

mesquite grilling wood chips

In a small bowl, whisk together the dry rub ingredients. Pour some olive oil over the turkey. Rub in the dry rub. Arrange the coals around a rectangular foil pan filled with water. Place the turkey over the pan on the grill. Place a foil packet of wood chips on the coals.

Vent/leave the lid askew until it really starts smoking. Then cover. Cook, adding loose coals and wood chips every 30 minutes, until fully cooked. Rotate the turkey every other coal add or so.

To keep the smoke/low heat going, occasionally vent until it gets smoky then fully cover again. Refill the pan with water as needed. All in all, it should take about 3 1/2-4 hours to be fully cooked. Allow to sit on a platter under a foil tent for 5 minutes before carving.

My thoughts:

This is by far the biggest thing we’ve ever grilled. I had the idea at about 4 pm on a Saturday, Matt ran to the store and by a little after 4:30 it was on the grill. It was dark by the time it was finished cooking (so excuse the slightly funky looking photographs) but that was okay, it required little in the way of attention so we just hung out inside and dashed out periodically to add more coals and wood chips.

Onto more important stuff…it tastes amazing! The skin was crisp, the dry rub added heat and it was perfectly smoked. Perfectly! The meat was juicy and tender in a way that


  1. turkey on the grill? i didn't know that! how long would you take to cook the turkey compared to roasting it? is there any difference with the taste? i'd love to try that. a nice way of bonding with the family on a sunday.

  2. Pinky
    The cooking time is included in the recipe. It is roughly the same as it would have been had you roasted it.

    Yes, it does taste differently than a roasted turkey, this turkey is smoked.

  3. Wow, I have never seen anything like it. It itches me to stick a knife into it as it looks so good! I might try this out soon, even though it's freezing cold here in the UK but nothing beats a winter BBQ on a sunny day!

  4. Looks wonderful! I have been doing them on the grill for years but i do brine them first, come out succulent!
    Can't wait for turkey day!!!