Smoked Holiday Turkey

Chef Tom fires up the Yoder Smokers YS640s Pellet Grill for his Smoked Holiday Turkey. The recipe features classic holiday flavors like apple, sage and garlic, as well as a touch of smoke from the grill and a modern seasoning technique that you may have never imagined!

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Smoked Holiday Turkey

About 8 servings


For the mayo slather:

For the bed of vegetables:

  • 1 lb Yellow onion, large dice
  • 1 lb Baby red potatoes
  • 1 lb Butternut squash, large dice
  • 8 oz carrots, large dice
  • 8 oz turnips, medium dice
  • 8 oz parsnips, large dice
  • 4 oz celery, large dice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 tbsp Saica Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Noble Saltworks Hickory Smoked Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper


Spatchcock the turkey. To take the backbone out, place the bird breast side down. Cut along both sides of the backbone with kitchen shears, from one opening of the cavity to the other. Release the skin of the turkey from the flesh, leaving it attached at the edges, but exposing the meat for seasoning.

Place the spatchcocked turkey in a large Briner Bucket. Pour the Sweetwater Spice Classic Holiday Turkey Bath over the bird along with two cups water. Dissolve the kosher salt into one quart of cold water. Pour the mixture over the turkey. Add up to one gallon of water to the bucket to cover the turkey. Lock the brining plate in place to keep the bird submerged. Refrigerate the turkey in the brine, one pound per hour.

Remove the turkey from the brine. Pat the bird dry with paper towels. Place on a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator to dry out the skin. Let rest for at least two hours.

Preheat your Yoder Smokers YS640s Pellet Grill to 275ºF, set up for indirect grilling/smoking.

Combine all ingredients for the mayo slather in a food processor and process until well distributed and broken down.

Pull back the skin from the turkey and season the flesh of the bird with Cattleman’s Grill Ranchero Seasoning. Pull the skin back in place.

Combine all vegetables in a bowl. Coat with the olive oil. Season with the smoked salt and black pepper. Toss well to coat and transfer to a half sized sheet pan. Spread out evenly and nestle the herbs into the diced vegetables.

Place the turkey on the bed of vegetables. Slather the surface of the turkey with the mayo mixture. Spread evenly.

Place the pan with the root vegetables and turkey on the main cooking grate inside the grill. Smoke at 275ºF until the internal temperature reaches 135ºF, about two and a half hours.

Increase the temperature of the grill to 425ºF. Continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 155ºF in the breasts, 175ºF in the thighs, about 45 minutes. Remove from the grill. Rest the Smoked Holiday Turkey for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Strain off the liquid from the pan. Reserve those drippings to add to your gravy, or for soaking the sliced turkey meat.

Yoder Smokers YS640 Pellet Grill


  1. Tim
    October 23, 2019

    Hey Chef Tom. Thank you for the great videos you and ATBBQ provide. With this turkey video, I wondered how long should I allow the turkey to thaw in the refrigerator prior to placing it in the brine? Thanks again! Hope to hear back from you.

  2. Dan
    October 25, 2019

    Another great video! Is it ok to run the YS640s up to 425º with the diffuser installed? Thanks for producing this content! (Editor: The diffuser should be able to handle it easily)

  3. Nathan Roper
    November 22, 2019

    What wood pellets do you use for turkey? Pecan/Cherry? (Editor: In no particular order Apple, Cherry and Pecan would be our top choices. Fruit or nut woods work well.)

  4. Kit Baker
    November 24, 2019

    This video is basically bbq porn, lol. I did order the Classic Holiday Turkey Kit for this. I do have a question though, as an added step, how would also injecting with your butter injection work with method?

  5. Michael Casper
    November 25, 2019

    I absolutely love the videos you all provide and I have learned so much from You, Chef Tom. But this one isn’t working for me. In the last week, I’ve done a spatchcock chicken (5lbs) and turkey (13lbs) and both have hit 135 in 2 hours or less, and the skin on both were blackened (I can share pix). Not sure what is going wrong because meat is perfect (is it the mayo?) but here’s my setup:

    OKJ Highlander reverse flow smoker
    Stick burning cherry (I did cherry and hickory with chicken)
    Butterball 13.7lb turkey (8% solution)
    Temp between 265 and 270 (temp was 270/275 for chicken)
    Turkey was brined for 12 hours
    Dried in refrigerator for 12 hours
    Dukes mayo, 1 clove garlic minced, tbl chopped sage

    At 2 hours the bird hit 135 and that skin was pulling and super dark. My smoke was not heavy or thick, I promise!

    I’m thinking I need to back this thing down to 250 and go slower.

    Thank you!

  6. Smokehause
    November 29, 2019

    Thank you for the great post and information. Turkey Came out great. I used the turkey bath lemon thyme. 14.5 lb turkey total cook time was 3 1/2 hrs. Yoder 480 used Pitboss brand competition blend hickory, maple, apple.

    1. Patty
      January 12, 2020

      We used this recipe for Thanksgiving 2019 and I have to say we may be retiring the turkey fryer. I have never brined a turkey before so this was a little more time consuming than just injecting a turkey and frying it, however it was so worth it! The turkey was the juiciest turkey I have ever made and the vegetables almost didn’t make it to the table. My nephew was standing near me while I was carving it and he kept trying the veg and meat and exclaiming how good everything was and he even said it was the juiciest turkey he ever had as well. The rest of my family never having had turnips, butternut squash thought they were the most delicious vegetables they had ever had. I made a couple of adjustments as I thought some Brussels sprouts would be good added to the mix and I’m glad I did or we wouldn’t have had enough veg to go round! Thanks for an awesome new recipe that is going to be my new go to Thanksgiving turkey.


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