Smoking turkey. We like your idea!
Not only does smoked turkey taste unbelievably delicious, it frees up your oven for sides and pie.
But, before you get started on the how to, making sure that a whole turkey will fit comfortably on your smoker is a must-do.
Whether you’re looking for a new smoker for Thanksgiving, or, just want to check that what you’re about to buy will still do the job come November, you’ve come to the right place.
In our review of the best smoker for turkey, we give you the run-down on our favorite smokers for cooking a whole bird. We’ve included different choices in terms of fuel types and budgets so you can find something that fits your flavor and price.
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Table of Contents
Weber Smokey Mountain 22" Cooker - Best Charcoal
For charcoal smoked turkey, the Weber Smokey Mountain makes it easy and oh so tender!
The 22″, or 18″ depending on your turkey size, will fit a whole or spatchcocked turkey. Simply set it up with or without a water tray, wait until it hits 300-350°F and use the iGrill 2 to cook until the deepest part of the breast reaches 165°F (see full recipe here).
After Thanksgiving, the 22″ Weber Smokey Mountain is large enough and durable enough to handle years and years worth of smoking. Made with a porcelain-enameled shell and aluminum dampers, it’s rust-resistant and easy to clean.
There’s a removable fuel door so you can add more charcoal without having to move all your meat. And, because of it’s vertical design, it doesn’t take up a lot of space even though it’s got 726 square inches of cooking space.
With a 10 year warranty and AMAZING reviews from real users, this top rated smoker is a purchase you’ll be thankful for for years to come.
Specs for the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Cooker 22"
Fuel type: Charocal
Barbecue material: Porcelain-enameled steel
Grate material: Plated steel
Cooking capacity: 726 sq. in.
Dimensions: 48.5(H) x 23(W) x 24(D)
Warranty: 10 years on bowl and lid, 5 years on plastics and cleaning system, 2 years on remaining parts
Pros of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker:
- Vertical design gives enough height to fit a whole turkey on 18″ or 22″ WSM, depending on turkey size
- Very easy to use
- High Weber quality will give you years of great food
- Removable fuel door makes adding more charcoal easy
- Accurate temperature gauge
- Compatible with the Weber iGrill 2 for real-time feedback the internal meat temperature
- Great warranty
Cons of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker:
- Not suitable for grilling
- Unlike other Weber’s, there’s no side hook to hang the lid. If you’ve got somewhere safe to set it, that’s great. If not, you can get an aftermarket hinge for the WSM that works really well
- Some smoke does leak around the fuel door and lid. IMO it doesn’t affect performance. But, you can cheaply and easily seal it with this WSM gasket. Also available in a pack with gasket and hinge
Recteq RT-700 Bull - Best Pellet
I’m going to open this one by saying that turkey’s will fit on most pellet smokers that have a single plate that’s larger than about 550 square inches. In fact, 2 small whole turkey’s on the Traeger Pro 575.
So, what makes the recteq rt-700 a winner?
Every component of this smoker and grill is premium. From the stainless steel body to the stainless steel grates, drip trays and firepot, the 300 year ceramic ignition system, precise PID temperature controller, WiFi, and, we could keep going on… This smoker has been made to be passed down to the next generation.
But, the price is surprisingly low, especially for a pellet smoker.
On it’s 700 square inches you can smoke, grill, bake, sear or even dehydrate.
And, coming back to Thanksgiving, because it’s a set and forget pellet smoker, you can literally load up the smoker, set you temperature and not touch a thing until your WiFi app tells you the turkey’s ready based on it’s internal temperature via the included meat probes.
Reliable, consistent and heavy-duty, the recteq rt-700 is the real deal that delivers at any time of the year.
Read our full review of the recteq RT-700 here.
Specs for the recteq RT-700
Barbecue type: Wood pellet grill and smoker
Barbecue material: Stainless steel
Grate material: Stainless steel
Cooking capacity: 702 sq. in., or 1,054 sq. in. with optional extra rack
Pellet hopper capacity: 40 lbs
Heat range: 200 – 500°F +
Fuel type: Wood pellet
Dimensions: 54″(W) x 36″(D) x 50″(H)
Weight: 195 lbs
Warranty: 6 years
Pros of the recteq RT-700:
- Precise temperature control prevents temperature flairs from drying out your turkey
- Complete set and forget smoker gives you time to prep sides, eat those nibbles and enjoy time with friends and family
- Premium quality for strength and durability
- VERY good value for money
- Should fit 2 decent sized turkeys
- Huge 40 pound pellet hopper lets you smoke for up to 40 hours without touching a thing
- Suitable for grilling too
- Comes with 2 meat probes
- WiFi turns your smart phone into the controller
- Washable interior light
- Self-cleaning shutdown mode
- 6 year warranty covers every component
Cons of the recteq RT-700:
- No pellet hopper purge system. But, because the hopper is more water tight without a door, you can store some unused pellets in the hopper for a few weeks
Camp Chef Vertical XXL WiFi Pellet Smoker - Runner Up Pellet Smoker
If you like the idea of a set and forget pellet smoker but don’t want to spend as much as the recteq rt-700, Camp Chef’s XXL WiFi Vertical Pellet Smoker is about half the price and has a HUGE volume for turkey’s, sides and anything else you want year-round.
Boasting an impressive 2,408 square inches of cooking space, you get 4 meat racks, 3 jerky racks and 12 hanging hooks to do what you want with. Simply load up the pellet hopper, set your temperature and you’ll get 10-12 hours of unassisted smoke time.
The PID-style temperature regulation is super reliable, even in cooler weather. You can even set the smoke level between 1 and 10, independently of how hot you want it. And, you also get 2 meat probes included to help you avoid overcooking that turkey.
Afterwards, Camp Chef’s grease management system and ash cleanout bucket make the worst part of the cook much faster and easier.
All for a great price, it’s easy to understand why the Camp Chef XXL WiFi is so popular.
Read our full review of the Camp Chef XXL WiFi Pellet Smoker here.
Specs for the Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Smoker
Fuel type: Pellets
Barbecue material: Dual layered stainless steel door
Grate material: Unspecified
Cooking capacity: 2,804 sq. in.
Pellet hopper capacity: 18lbs
Temperature range: 150-350°F
Dimensions: 55(H) x 24(W) x 15.5(D)
Warranty: 3 years
Pros of the Camp Chef XXL WiFi Vertical Pellet Smoker:
- Huge cooking capacity while not taking up much space on the ground
- Accurate PID temperature regulation
- Separate smoke setting that lets you select level between 1 and 10
- Internal fans distribute heat for an even cook
- Price includes 2 meat probes for real-time feedback on cook progress
- WiFi enabled for control with smartphone app
- Comes with jerky racks and sausage hooks for more flexibility
- Easy to clean
Cons of the Camp Chef XXL WiFi Vertical Pellet Smoker:
- Dedicated smoker only – no grilling
- Has been known to leak a bit of smoke as it’s heating up
Cuisinart COS-330 Electric - Best Electric
Easy and inexpensive, the Cuisinart COS-330 Electric is large enough to hold a turkey without taking over your yard.
It’s basic but well-built with a powerful 1,500 watt heating element that does an impressively good job of self-regulating it’s temperature. For this price, you’ll get analog temperature controls instead of digital ones. But, the advantage of this is that there’s fewer complicated components to break down.
Inside, there’s a total of 548 square inches spread over 3 racks (which you’ll need to move to make room for a turkey). The racks are rust-resistant stainless steel, as are the water and wood trays.
Overall, the Cuisinart COS-330 is simple, ideal for beginners and impressively well-built for a smoker of this price. A great option for anyone looking for a budget-friendly turkey smoker which, thanks to it’s great results, will probably be used far beyond this year’s Thanksgiving.
Stats for the Cuisinart COS-330
Barbecue material: Steel
Grate material: Chrome-plated wire
Cooking capacity: 548 square inches
Fuel type: Analog electric
Heat range: 100 – 400 F
Wattage: 1,500 watts
Price guide: $
Dimensions: 22″ W x 37.5″ H x 19″ D
Warranty: 3 years
Pros of the Cuisinart COS-330 Electric:
- Very well built smoker at this price point
- Seals well for minimal heat and smoke loss
- Removable racks give you the flexibility you need to cook larger cuts of meat including a whole turkey
- Strong 1,500 watt heating element performs well, even in cooler weather conditions
- Easy to use
- Stainless steel racks, water and wood trays give durability where you really need it
- Lightweight and easy to move
- Very affordable
Cons of the Cuisinart COS-330:
- There’s only one door, so to add more water or wood chips you need to open the main cooking chamber, disrupting the heat and smoke levels inside
Kamado Joe Big Joe II 24” - Best Kamado
Big, bold and capable of pretty much anything, it’s not surprising that the Kamado Joe Big Joe II can cook a mouthwatering turkey too.
The 24″ cooking grate is large enough for a whole or spatchcocked turkey. But, after Thanksgiving the grill expanders plus Divide and Conquer cooking system give you the flexibility to grill, bake, sear, smoke or roast anything from steaks and sausages to macaroni cheese, pizzas, breads and desserts too.
In terms of features, the Big Joe II shines through. You’ve got the Air Lift Hinge to reduce the dome weight, a weatherproof Kontrol tower, industry-leading gasket and innovative 6 piece firebox design. The Big Joe even works with the iKamand for remote control of your kamado too.
Built the Big Joe into your outdoor kitchen, or, go for the stand-alone version. Either way, this ‘cue will be a gift to yourself that’ll keep giving in the best way for years to come.
Read our full review of the Kamado Joe Big Joe II here.
Stats for the Kamado Joe Big Joe II 24"
Barbecue material: Glazed ceramic
Grate material: 304 stainless steel
Cooking capacity: 452 sq. in. in basic setup, 604 sq. in. with grill expander, 904 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates or 1,056 sq. in. with 2 sets of grates and expander
Fuel type: Charcoal
Heat Range: 225°F – 750°F
Model: Big Joe II
Dimensions: 50″ W x 54″ H x 31″ D
Warranty: Lifetime on ceramics, 5 years on metal parts, 3 years on heat deflector and pizza stone, 1 year on thermometer and gasket
Pros of the Kamado Joe Big Joe II:
- Ceramic style kamado should last a lifetime with proper care
- Fits a whole turkey
- Comes with the Divide and Conquer Cooking System of half plates for flexibility in distance from heat and cooking surface
- Suitable for grilling, smoking, baking and searing anything including pizzas
- Innovative 6 piece firebox reduces breakages which is one of the most common kamado complaints
- Kontrol Tower top vent is designed to keep the weather out
- Gasket plus stainless steel latch create a tight seal to minimize heat and smoke loss
- Available as a stand-alone kamado or built-in for outdoor kitchens
- Great warranty
Cons of the Kamado Joe Big Joe II:
- One of the more expensive styles of barbecues
Dyna-Glo Vertical DGO1176BDC-D - Best Offset
For anyone who wants to do it traditionally, the Dyna-Glo Vertical Offset turns out great wood or charcoal smoked turkey. And, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
With a huge 1,176 square inches on 6 removable shelves, there’s plenty of space for a couple of turkeys plus a few sides too.
Cooking will be more hands on than on a pellet, electric or kamado smoker as you’ll need to add fuel and check the temperature regularly. But, the adjustable flue stack makes temperature control easy and the built-in temperature gauge is pretty accurate so you can be confident that you’re not drying that turkey out.
In terms of offset smokers, the Dyna-Glo Vertical is fairly easy to use. The vertical design creates more even heat and smoke distribution as hot air rises. But, for turkey in particular which is more finicky than some meats, it is a good idea to grab yourself a wireless meat probe so you can tell exactly when it’s perfectly cooked without opening the door.
Even with the added meat thermometer, it’s a bargain price for a best selling smoker.
Specs for the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Charcoal Smoker
Barbecue material: Heavy gauge steel
Grate material: Chrome plated steel
Fuel type: Charcoal or wood
Primary cooking capacity: 1176 sq in
Secondary cooking capacity: None
Total cooking capacity: 1176 sq in
Assembly required: Yes
Assembled size (in): 50.2(H) x 35(W) x 21(D)
Warranty: 1 year
Pros of the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D:
- Great price
- Large cooking capacity with flexible layout
- Fairly easy to use
- Choice of wood or charcoal smoked flavor
- Built-in thermometer is reasonably accurate
- Comes with charcoal basket to hold coals for improved burn and efficiency
- Grease management system makes cleaning the cooking chamber easier
- Removable ash pan for easy cleaning
Cons of the Dyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D:
- Not suitable for grilling
- Will leak smoke. It’s a good idea to seal it with one of these LavaLock gasket kits