whole maple smoked turkey on a platter with oranges and cranberries

Epic Maple Smoked Turkey Recipe

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 3 hours
  • total_time Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • yield Yield: 30 1x
  • category Category: Turkey
  • method Method: Smoker
  • cuisine Cuisine: American


This Epic Maple Smoked Turkey Recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving and easy enough for a novice to do. Rubbed with a Sweet ‘n Spicy Maple Spice Rub then stuffed with citrus and smoked for the perfect juicy turkey every time.



  • 1215 lb. turkey, thawed & innards cleaned out

Smoky Maple Spice Rub

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Other Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 orange, cut into quarters
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 2 onions, cut into quarter
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into 3” logs
  • 4 carrots, cut into 3” logs
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • fresh rosemary, thyme and sage


Prep Turkey: 

  1. Completely Thaw Turkey your turkey. A general rule is 1 day of thawing in the refrigerator for every 4-5 lbs. So a 15 lb. turkey will take about 4 days to thaw.
  2. Once thawed, remove turkey from it’s packagin and drain water out of the cavity. Remove the giblets and neck. (usually in a bag)
  3. Pat the turkey dry using a paper towel and place on an aluminum roasting pan breast side up. 
  4. Make your Smoked Turkey Maple Spice Rub. To a medium bowl add smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried thyme, cumin, coriander, dried rosemary, ancho chili powder, salt, pepper and maple syrup. Using a spoon, mix together until combined.
  5. Season the cavity of the turkey (the hole) with salt and pepper!
  6. Using your hands evenly coat the entire turkey with the homemade turkey spice rub.
  7. Next, using your fingers, separate the skin from the meat of the turkey. Stuff butter equally under the skin on the both turkey breasts.
  8. Stuff the cavity with oranges and lemons. 
  9. Add chicken stock, vegetables and fresh herbs to the bottom of the pan. This will catch all the drippings which is LOTS of flavor and great to use on the turkey as you baste it through the roasting process.

How to Smoke Turkey:

  1. Prep Smoker: Clean smoker before smoking your turkey. Remove any ash and clean grates. Fill your smoker halfway full with half apple wood and half cherry wood. Heat smoker to 275°-300°F.
  2. Place Turkey over Indirect Heat: This is important, place your prepared turkey in aluminum roasting pan over indirect heat so it doesn’t burn the bottom of the bird. We used ceramic plates on a Kamado Joe Smoker to ensure indirect heat. Place the turkey in the smoker uncovered. Close smoker and cook for 45 minutes. 
  3. Baste Turkey with the drippings and broth from the bottom of the pan. Make sure you cover every part of the bird, this will help with browning and add flavor! 
  4. Continue to baste the Turkey every 30 minutes for another 1.5 hours during this roasting process. If you run out of basting liquid, add more stock. Here is an easy-to-follow chart when it comes to cook time for turkey.
  5. Temperature Check. Start checking the temperature of your turkey in the thickest part of the thigh. Remove turkey from the oven when the thermometer reads 165°F.
  6. Let Turkey Rest. Cover your turkey with a tin foil tent and let sit for 15 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute and also continue ‘cooking’ the turkey. Safe temperature to serve is 165 degrees F for the thigh and 180 degrees F for the turkey breast.


  • Serving Size: .5 lb
  • Calories: 352
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 774 mg
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 42 g
  • Cholesterol: 140 mg

Keywords: smoked turkey, how to smoke a turkey, turkey spice rub