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Best smoked whole turkey recipe with cajun butter injection and a cajun rub. Served on a cutting board.

How to Smoke a Turkey

This Cajun Butter Injected Smoked Turkey Recipe is perfect for any holiday. It gets injected with cajun butter injection, covered in a perfect cajun smoked turkey rub, stuffed with onions and apples, and then smoked to perfection with pecan wood chunks. The days of dry and flavorless turkey are over!

Does your family ever have a conversation leading up to the holidays saying things like, “Why do we have turkey every year?” “Maybe we should just do Tacos or something.” “Let’s do BBQ this year!”?

Then there’s always that one family member that says something like…

“Y’all, I just can’t do it. You know, turkey is a tradition, and it wouldn’t be the same without it. That’s why I don’t have it throughout the year, so I’m ready for thanksgiving. I’m thankful for TURKEY!”

Then everyone laughs, nods, and pretends like they agree that overcooked, dry, and bland meat is the best main course to show their thankfulness.

Guess what, guys, you’ll never have to worry about this again!

I’ll show you how to smoke a turkey that’ll blow your mind!

So, let’s get this Smoked Turkey Recipe started.

Best Turkey for Smoking

Any brand of turkey will work as this is a recipe for a whole smoked turkey. So when picking your bird, just grab one that’s a good size.

The sizes will differ a bit, but that will only change the amount of time on the smoker. We’ll get to the smoking process in a bit.

Cajun Smoked Turkey Rub

The cajun smoked turkey rub recipe is what you’ll use to rub the bird, but it’s also the same seasoning used in the cajun butter injection.

Spices and Seasonings for a Cajun Rub Mix on a wooden platter.

For the Cajun Rub, you’ll need…

  • Paprika
  • Cayenne
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • White Pepper

Add all the ingredients to a Tupperware container, seal the lid, and give a few good shakes until everything is thoroughly combined.

Smoked Turkey Injection Recipe

This recipe is a Cajun Butter Injection that I recommend for Turkey or Chicken. It’s fantastic and provides so much tenderness and flavor to your meat that it will blow your mind!

It’s also a good ‘secret‘ ingredient.

Cajun butter injection in a glass bowl prior to be being mixed.

Cajun Butter Injection Ingredients

  • Salted Butter
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Cajun Smoked Turkey Rub

To prepare the injection, melt the butter in the microwave, and add the Louisiana Hot Sauce and Cajun Smoked Turkey Rub. Stir the mixture with a whisk or fork until thoroughly combined. Now you have the best homemade turkey injection for smoking!

Directions

First off, If you have a frozen turkey, it needs to be thawed.

This is not at all like thawing out chicken breasts!

Thawing out a fully frozen whole turkey takes anywhere from 3- 5days, and once you’ve thawed the turkey, it’s ready for preparation.

Begin by rinsing the turkey under cold water and placing it on an extra large tray.

Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

Injecting Turkey for Smoking

Using a meat injector and starting with the thighs, inject the cajun butter at 2-4 points in each portion of the bird. When you begin to see your injection pouring out, you’re good to go!

There will be extra seasoning at the bottom of the bowl and the injector that didn’t fit. Pour the rest of this into the cavity of your turkey.

Seasoning the Outside

Spray the whole turkey with the cooking spray of your choice and rub the entire bird with the Cajun Rub. Try and get it entirely and evenly covered, but don’t be too concerned with missed spots. The flavor is mainly coming from the inside from the injection.

Full turkey covered in cajun rub before being smoked.

Cut two Onions and two Apples in half and stuff these in the cavity. While smoking your turkey, these will steam inside and add extra flavor and moisture to the bird.

Halved Apples and Onions on a cutting board.

Smoking the Whole Turkey

Whole turkey on the big green egg smoking with a meat probe inserted.

After the turkey has been prepped, get your smoker/grill set up for indirect cooking at 300° F.

I use 4 Pecan Wood Chunks with Cowboy Lump Charcoal on the Big Green Egg.

Pecan wood is light enough for poultry, and Cowboy provides a delicate oak flavor. The two combined will give a moderate smokey flavor. The Pecan offers a rich, sweet smoke that works perfectly with the cajun spice blend.

Smoke this bird on your smoker of choice until it has reached 165°F in the Breast and 175° in the Thighs. Be sure you’re using a reliable meat and grill thermometer to keep an eye on both simultaneously.

While the turkey is smoking, check on it after about 90 minutes, and if the skin looks crisped up and has reached a light burgundy color, tent the turkey in foil. That’ll keep it from becoming over smoked.

Once it has hit the proper temperature, place the smoked turkey in a cooler lined with peach butcher paper and let it rest for 20-30 minutes or until ready to serve.

In Conclusion

This is the best cajun smoked turkey recipe. It’s incredibly flavorful, juicy, and an overall beautiful presentation.

I’d love to hear how this turned out for you and your family. Let me know in the comments!

If you and your family also made a ham, don’t forget to save the bone and make this Thick and Rich Ham and Bean Soup! Not only is it a great way to use leftover ham, but it’s a real comfort food around the holidays and winter.

Speaking of leftovers, use the rest of your Cajun Smoked Turkey for this Smoked Turkey Pot Pie!

If you need other recipes to serve over the holidays, check these out!

Thank you for stopping in at Chicken Fried Kitchen, and as usual…

Happy Cooking!

-Jeremy

How to Smoke a Turkey

4 from 12 votes
Recipe by Chicken Fried Kitchen Course: MainCuisine: American, CajunDifficulty: Medium

Equipment

Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

3

hours 

30

minutes
Total time

4

hours 

Cajun Butter Injected Smoked Turkey gets filled with cajun butter injection, covered in cajun smoked turkey rub, and smoked to perfection!

Ingredients

Cajun Rub

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Paprika

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Cayenne Pepper

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Oregano

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Onion Powder

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Parsley

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Garlic Powder

  • 1/2 Tbsp 1/2 Thyme

  • 1/2 Tbsp 1/2 Salt

  • 1/2 Tbsp 1/2 White Pepper


  • CAJUN BUTTER INJECTION
  • 1 Cup 1 Butter

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Louisiana Hot Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Cajun Seasoning


  • TURKEY
  • Whole Turkey

  • 2 Yellow Onions Halved

  • 2 Apples Halved

Directions

  • Thaw Turkey for 3-4 days to ensure it is completely thawed.
  • Unwrap Turkey, remove the Neck and Giblet bag and discard unless you plan to use them in another recipe.
  • Rinse Turkey under cold water inside and out.
  • Place turkey on a large tray to prepare for injection and rub.
  • Preparing the Cajun Butter Injection
  • Melt one cup of butter in the dish.
  • Add Louisiana Hot Sauce and Cajun Seasoning.
  • Mix well.
  • Using a Meat Injector inject all sections of your turkey until you have used all the butter.
  • Dump the remaining seasonings and injection into the cavity of the turkey.
  • Preparing the Cajun Rub
  • Spray the entire Turkey with cooking spray of any kind.
  • Rub the entire turkey with the Cajun Rub. You should have plenty to cover the whole bird.
  • Preparing the Turkey and Smoker
  • Stuff Turkey Cavity with Apples and Onions.
  • Heat Smoker to 300° F.
  • Place Turkey on Smoker and cook until the meat has reached an internal temperature of 165°F in the Breast and 175°F in the Thigh.
  • Once you have hit temp, place your turkey in a red butcher paper-lined cooler, cover, and allow to rest for approximately 20-30 minutes or until ready to serve.

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6 Comments

  1. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it tough to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Many thanks

    • Hi there! I appreciate you reaching. Setting up a blog is extremely easy and there are many tutorials on how to do so available on line. I have yet to get into the space of blog coaching so I recommend a quick google search of how to do so. Best of luck to you and if you ever need any further help or advice please don’t hesitate to email me.

  2. Are you sure it cooks in 40 minutes at 300? Doesnt seam right. I would hate to serve dinner a few hours late because I timed it poorly. When I roast in the oven, its 3 hours.

    • Hey there! I am so sorry that time is wrong! I will get that corrected right now. Depending on the size of the turkey of course you’re actually looking at about 3-3.5 hours. Thank you so much for pointing this out.

  3. Thank you for the recipe. This will rule!! Excited to make it this year. Do you have any information on what the cook time would be for a 15 lb bird? I see it has “serving sizes” the adjust the ingredients but I am seeing a wide range of cook times for 10-16lb birds and I am not sure if it will take 3,4 or 6 hours and do not want to ruin the day by being 2 hours behind all the other cooked food.

    Thank you

    • Hey, Dan! I’m glad you like the recipe and I’m positive you’re going to love the results! In regard to the amount of time it really can be a wide range. I would plan on 3-4 hours but definitely just base it on the internal temp of the breast and thigh. If it’s going longer than you expect and the skin is getting too dark, use some heavy duty foil and tent the bird. It won’t speed up the process or anything but it will preserve the appearance and keep a nice skin on the bird.

Questions or Comments? I LOVE THEM!