Smoking turkey on electric smokers can be good but having the best wood chips for smoking turkey is just as important.
This is what will give the turkey that amazing smoke flavor.
Smoking a turkey with wood chips is amazing as it gives it that authentic smoke flavor that you taste from smoked meats like brisket from restaurants that smoke meat.
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We have post on the best wood for smoking brisket as well just in case you plan on smoking a brisket soon.
Different pellet brands also have the best wood pellets that give off the same flavors that you might want to try. I recommend Traeger pellets to get the best quality pellets.
You also need to know how much wood you need to smoke a turkey to see how much smoke you want on the bird.
This will adjust the flavor that you need on the turkey.
There are a lot of wood chips or wood chunks that you can use on your turkeys such as cherry and apple woodchips, and these are two of the most common wood chips for smoking turkey.
Smoking meat can be challenging since you need to maintain the right temperature which is pretty low. That is why you need the right wood chips for smoking turkey in a pellet grill like these.
Pecan is one of the most used wood chips for smoking meat.
Even pellet smokers have this wood flavor for grilling or searing steaks or roasted turkey regularly.
It combines different flavors that I am sure you will like.
Pecan is also one of the wood chips that emit a sharpness in the flavor it produces so your turkey recipe will surely become amazing.
There is also a slight sweetness and smokiness that you get from pecan wood chips.
Most wood chips brands sell pecan for smoking milder types of meat like chicken and turkey.
Compared to other fruity wood chips like apple wood chips, you will notice that pecan is a little more robust, and it also releases a slightly nutty flavor that goes well with turkey.
This is perfect if you want to smoke boneless turkey breast since the smoke flavour is not that strong but robust enough to pierce through the thick and relatively bland part of the turkey.
Even on smoked beef brisket recipes, pecan goes well. I recommend adding a small amount of hickory if you smoke tougher types of meat so the cooking process will give off a deeper flavor.
Cherry is another common type of wood for smoking a turkey with wood chips, and it has a slightly less obvious flavor than pecan but it still gives off that sweetness to the smoked turkey.
Traeger pellets also use cherry for Traeger smoked turkeys and other types of meat.
You can notice the subtle flavor of sweetness from the best wood pellets when smoking with cherry.
Most of us want to enhance the flavor of cherry since it does not emit that smoke flavour.
You can do this by marinating or rubbing the turkey or adding some stronger wood chips.
I recommend adding a little bit of hickory in the firebox to enhance the smoky flavors.
This makes the smoky flavors go into the turkey and give the flavor more depth for better results.
Another benefit you can get when you use cherry wood chips is the color.
This depends on how much wood you use to smoke the turkey, but the red color is pleasing.
You can easily find cherry wood chips from any brand that you choose or even go with Traeger pellets and other best wood pellet brands that you can find if you just want that subtle sweet flavor.
Apple wood chips are another subtle type of wood chip that can give a sweet flavor to the smoked turkey for the next Thanksgiving dinner or for your next barbecue that you are hosting.
However, you need to smoke the turkey for quite a long time for the subtle sweet flavor to enter the turkey. This is especially true when it comes to boneless turkey breasts.
The turkey legs and other dark meat areas can absorb the sweet flavor easily but it is a different story for the turkey breast.
You will need something strong to let the smoke into it.
You will need a pellet smoker to get the right flavor and heat to the turkey.
I also love adding some hickory into the firebox so that the apple wood chips can cook the turkey faster.
Since apple chips can only release a subtle flavor from the smoke, you need to use another wood chip that can release a more robust smoke flavor.
Some pellets for smoking brisket can help but having another type of wood chips can also make the flavor more balanced.
Meat pellet grills can help instead of using slow cookers or smokers.
Maple wood chips are used for turkey, brisket, BBQ, and more recipes.
This type of wood chip can give the turkey a slightly stronger smoke flavour than the fruity wood chips or wood chunks.
Smoking a turkey with wood chips can make your recipe better.
Maple wood chips give the turkey an additional earthy flavor aside from the smoky flavor that it already has.
This earthy flavor makes other cooks worry that it might overpower the flavor of the turkey but maple is not that strong of wood when it comes to adding smoky flavors onto the turkey.
That is why maple is just the flavor for smoking a turkey with wood chips.
It can also underline other flavors from your seasoning or rubs that are slightly stronger than usual.
You can also use maple if you want a slightly sweeter flavor.
The honey-like flavor it emits is perfect for turkey breasts as it is robust enough to penetrate the thickest part of the turkey.
It can also give your turkey a unique golden color when it comes out of the smoker or grills like the Traeger grill.
The golden brown color is great for presenting your recipe at the table.
Alder is like the middle ground of the best wood pellet brands, and it is not as strong as hickory or oak but is also more robust than fruitwood chips like apple and cherry wood chips.
The flavor alder gives off is somewhere in the middle, and it does not release a sweet flavor but does not give the turkey a bitter taste as the flavor is somewhat earthy.
I love using alder as an addition to fruitwood chips.
If you know how much wood chips to smoke the turkey properly, you can add alder to get a stronger flavor while maintaining the sweetness of the other wood chips.
There are not a lot of brands that sell alder when you say it is for turkey but it is also not that hard to find.
Most pellet brands also have alder so you can use wood pellets to get that earthy flavor.
Hickory is one of the most commonly used wood chips for meat pellet grills and large smokers.
It is more on the stronger side when it comes to its flavor, so it is perfect for BBQ brisket and more.
It often comes handy for barbecue and searing or cooking processes that require high temperatures rather than smoking.
That is especially true when it comes to poultry and soft meat.
Turkey is a sensitive type of meat so you need to make sure that the wood you use does not overpower the flavor of the meat.
That is why hickory-smoked meats are usually beef and pork.
The good thing about this is that you can use hickory as an additional wood chip to the cooking process, and it can help fruitwood chips and wood chunks to give off a more smoky flavor.
Traeger pellets are usually hickory or other strong types of wood since they are used to grill at higher temperatures.
You need to know how much wood to smoke a turkey to ensure that the type of wood chip does not overpower the turkey.
Oak is similar to hickory since it is really strong. It is more commonly used in smoking harder types of meat than poultry because it can easily overpower the flavor of turkey.
The strong smoke flavor can even sometimes cover the rub’s flavor that you use on your turkey.
That is why you shouldn’t use oak only when smoking poultry.
If you have other options, I suggest you look into them first before you decide to use oak for smoking turkey.
Make sure to use oak only sparingly when smoking chicken or turkey.
Like hickory, it will be best to use oak as a mixer.
If you have apple or cherry, you can use just a few oak wood chips on the firebox to give that depth to the smoky flavors.
One benefit that I have liked when using oak wood chips is that they can give off a slightly red color on the turkey.
That is why I love mixing oak with cherry to get that deep and pleasing red color.
What To Look For In The Best Wood Chips For Smoking Turkey?
When you are smoking turkey, you need to consider the type of meat.
Since turkey is not that hard and can absorb flavors easily, the wood chips you use should be on the milder side.
It is easy to ruin the cooking process by overpowering the flavor of the turkey, and that means that you need to make sure that the wood chips you use give off just the right amount of smoke flavour.
Turkey and chicken are really good when paired with sweet flavors.
That is why fruitwood chips like cherry and applewood chips are perfect for smoking turkey.
When buying wood chips for the first time, you need to consider what flavor you want on the turkey. If you are okay with just the right smoke flavours, then wood chips like apple will do.
If you think the smoke flavors that apple and cherry release are not enough, you can get harder types of wood chips like hickory or oak but only to be mixed with cherry or apple.
There are also wood chips that give off just the right amount of smoke. Alder is a good choice if you do not want too many smoky flavors and do not lack earthy and nutty flavors.
Either way, make sure that the wood chips you choose do not overpower the flavor of the turkey so you can enjoy the flavors of the seasonings and the meat itself!
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