Get The Perfect Smoked Turkey Crispy Skin With These Tips

The perfect smoked turkey crispy skin is a Thanksgiving staple. It’s also one of the most difficult parts to get right, with many people resorting to frying their bird in oil or butter for that coveted crunchy texture. But there are other ways! Here are some tips on how you can make your own crispy smoked turkey even better this year.

You want your guests to be impressed by your cooking skills and not just the fact that you had a whole day off work to cook dinner. So try these tips out and see if they don’t help create that perfect, crisp skin every time!

Read more:

How To Avoid Rubbery Skin On Smoked Turkey

One of the biggest complaints about smoked turkey is that the skin can often turn out rubbery. This is typically due to overcooking, but there are a few tips you can follow to help avoid this issue and create delicious smoked turkey pieces.

#1. Finish In A High-Temperature Oven

You want to cook the turkey until it’s done and then use a high-temperature oven, such as a toaster oven, to crisp the skin. Toaster ovens don’t get anywhere near as hot as normal ovens so we recommend turning them up as close as possible (without burning) to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

#2. Finish Over The Blazing Flames Of A Grill

To finish the turkey over an open flame, use a grill wok to shield the meat from direct heat. This will allow you to brown and crisp up your bird without drying it out or leaving any burned bits behind.

#3. Use A Non-Stick Pan Instead Of A Water Pan

When smoking meat, you always want to use a water pan to create a moist environment. However, this can also lead to rubbery skin if the pan is too close to the heat source. Try using a non-stick pan instead – it will still help keep the meat moist while preventing overcooking.

#4. Don’t Let The Turkey Remain In A Pan For Too Long

If you’re not using a water pan, be sure to remove the turkey from the cooking vessel as soon as it’s done. Leaving it in there for too long will result in rubbery skin.

#5. Wet Brine Should Not Be Used When Cooking Skin

You know the skin is done when it’s golden and crispy, but if you brined your bird ahead of time, this part would not crisp up properly. If you want to use a wet brine with skin-on poultry, make sure to remove the skin before putting the turkey in the liquid.

#6. Turkey Should Not Be Basted At All

One more tip for avoiding rubbery skin is not to baste the turkey’s skin during cooking. Moisture from a basting brush can prevent the skin from properly crisping up around its edges.

If you have to use a basting brush, just be sure it’s got one of those metal bristles so no matter what, it won’t leave any damp marks on the bird.

#7. Turkey Should Not Be Wrapped In Bacon

If you’re looking for an easy way to add flavor to your bird, wrapping it in bacon isn’t a bad idea. However, when it comes time to check the turkey’s temperature, you’ll find out why this is not advisable. Trying to remove bacon from a hot piece of poultry can be very difficult, if not impossible without.

#8. Don’t Cover Turkey With A Tent

Another reason that bacon is not advisable for this purpose is that if you try to cover the turkey with a tent, it will have no way to crisp up. If you want to use aluminum foil during the last hour of cooking, just make sure there are holes in it so air can circulate the meat.

#9. Cooking At A Low Temperature Is Not Recommended

Typically, the turkey will cook at a low temperature. If you want to avoid rubbery skin, it’s best not to use a slow cooker or covered roaster when cooking your bird. This is especially true if you opt for deep-fried turkey instead of smoking it and expect the meat to come out perfectly moist and delicious.

You’ll also want to make sure the skin is nice and crispy. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a delicious and crispy smoked turkey this Thanksgiving!

How To Get Crispy Skin On Smoked Turkey

Here’s how to smoke a turkey and get crispy skin. It’s not difficult, it just takes some preparation and attention along the way.

First, we start with a fresh or thawed bird. If you’re using a frozen bird (and we recommend brining), make sure it is completely defrosted before beginning. Don’t worry about the bird being thawed because you’re going to smoke it low and slow; it will be fully cooked when you take it off the smoker.

You can use any type of poultry or game hen for this method, but we like to use a turkey because of its size.

The brine is next. This is an important step, and if you’re using a frozen bird, you should do it the day before so that the bird can thaw in the brine. The brine will help to keep the bird moist during smoking and also add flavor.

To make the brine, mix 1/2 gallon water with 3 pounds non-iodized salt and 1 pound brown sugar. Stir the brine mixture until the salt and brown sugar are completely dissolved. You can use cold or hot water to dissolve the ingredients, just make sure you let it cool before adding the bird.

A total of two gallons of brine will be needed for this smoked turkey recipe. One gallon will be sufficient if you are cooking less than 10-12 lbs., but the additional volume is preferred so it doesn’t over-salt your bird. After the brine has cooled, place the turkey in a large non-reactive container or ziplock bag.

Make sure the bird is completely submerged in the brine and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

The next step is to make the injection. This is another important step, as it will help to add flavor and moisture to the bird. The injection can be made using the standard method by mixing 1 cup apple juice with 1/2 cup vegetable oil.

You can also use chicken broth, beer, or any other flavorful liquid – whatever you have on hand will work fine. Start by mixing 3 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue rub in with the injection liquid. Next, pour the entire mixture into a one-quart saucepan and heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil.

Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool before injecting it into the turkey. Inject the mixture into the breast, thigh, and drumstick of the bird. You can also inject it into the cavity, but be careful not to pierce the skin. Once the turkey is fully injected, it’s ready for the smoker.

Smoke the bird over low heat at 250 degrees F with hickory or another favorite wood. You don’t want to use mesquite, as it will overpower the flavor of the turkey. Try apple or cherry instead. We recommend using a remote thermometer to monitor your bird’s temperature.

You’ll want to smoke it until the breast meat reaches 160 degrees F and the thigh meat reaches 175 degrees F. The total cooking time will be approximately four hours, but it may vary depending on the size of your bird. Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

The final step is to enjoy that crispy skin! There you have it: crisp turkey skin after smoking. It’s not difficult, but it does take some preparation. Follow these steps and you’ll be sure to have a delicious, succulent bird that’s perfect for Thanksgiving or any other special occasion. Enjoy!


How do you fix a rubbery turkey breast?

Place in boiling water for 20-30 minutes to set the protein in the meat. For a whole turkey, cover it with cold water in an oven-safe dish or casserole pan that is bigger than the turkey. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer/steam uncovered for 1 hour per lb., adding ½ cup water every 15 minutes or so.

For 1 quart of boiling liquid, add 6 tablespoons kosher salt to get about 2% salt (table) percentage otherwise, use 3 tablespoons table salt to get about 2% table percentage. Add black pepper during the last 10 min of cooking time which helps extract moisture from the meat.

Of course, it’s always best if you can cook dry without added liquids but sometimes that can’t be done especially if the bird is frozen.

How do you keep a turkey moist while smoking?

Smoke your turkey for one hour per lb. and make sure the smoker is maintaining a constant temperature of 180-220 F or 82-104 C. Add smoking wood chips or chunks to provide flavor and moisten the meat.

How do I get my turkey golden brown?

Brush the turkey with butter or oil and sprinkle with a mixture of finely chopped herbs. Prick whole cloves into the skin of the breast before roasting to release their flavors.

Toss pieces of bacon around the outside edges – they’ll crisp up during baking for extra flavor, show off a pretty contrast against all that white meat and break down into a savory sauce as they cook. Add onions to your pan – they’ll caramelize in the oven too, forming another flavorful topping for crispy-skinned roast turkey.

If you want some color on your roast chicken, make sure you either use oil or rub some thyme leaves onto it first (just wash them off afterward). This will infuse the bird with a subtle flavor and add just a bit of color to your finished product.


Smoked turkey crispy skin is a delicious Thanksgiving staple that you can have any time of the year. It’s not difficult to prepare, but it does take some planning and effort on your part. Follow these instructions from expert chefs and enjoy a succulent smoked bird in just four hours!

We hope this article has helped you answer this question and given you some tips on how to make a low and slow smoked turkey, and also keep smoked turkey moist. Thanks for reading!

Further Reading:

0 ratings