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Smoked Honey Pecan Turkey Recipe on the Pellet Grill

January 10, 2023

Smoked Honey Pecan Turkey Recipe on the Pellet Grill

Look no further for a unique, delicious holiday turkey. My Smoked Honey Pecan Turkey Recipe has super BBQ elements, including flavor, smokiness, and juicy meat. I love the holidays because it gives me an excuse to experiment in the kitchen. This is one of the best turkeys I’ve ever made! Give it a try, and I know you’ll agree. 

This turkey is a showstopper that is sure to wow friends and family. Serve it at your next holiday dinner and become the most popular guy (or gal) in the room. The only downside? You may not have any leftovers. 

Smoked Honey Pecan Turkey Recipe on the Pellet Grill

This turkey pulls out all the stops. Seasoning, injection..it’s got it all! The result is a turkey that’s juicy, rich, and bursting with flavor. If you’ve never tried honey notes mixed with pecan, you’re in for a treat. Three of my best-selling rubs take this turkey to a whole new level. 

The Ingredients

Although this turkey has a few steps; it still requires less than 10 ingredients. You won’t use all of my seasonings, so save the rest for another amazing recipe. Here’s what you need to add to your shopping list. 

  • Whole turkey. For this recipe, you’ll need a whole turkey. My bird was 12-13 pounds. If yours varies in size, you may need to adjust your cooking time. All other instructions stay the same.
  • Crisco Butter Flavored Cooking Spray. I use butter-flavored cooking spray to baste the bird. It adds a layer of moisture, keeping the turkey golden and moist. The best part? It adds more flavor instead of washing it away, as water would. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Everyday Rub. This all-purpose rub is like salt and pepper on steroids. Use it to jazz up french fries, veggies, chicken, beef, and even popcorn. You’ll want to put it on everything. I use this rub to season the turkey and the injection. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Honey Rub. I created this rub because I wanted to enjoy honey flavors without the char you get from the real deal. Apparently, this product filled a need for many pitmasters! It’s gotten rave reviews stating that people enjoy it on ribs, pork, and poultry. 
  • Heath Riles BBQ Pecan Rub. Everyone is going “nuts” for this pecan rub! It features a savory base with a hint of sweetness on the back end. Use it on fish, chicken, pork, beef, and of course, turkey.
  •  Butter. My custom-made injection features real butter, which takes the bird over the top. If you love the old trick of sliding a pat of butter under the turkey’s skin, you’ll adore this injection. 
  • Chicken stock. Chicken stock keeps the turkey tasting authentic while bringing out the natural flavors of the poultry. It adds a slight saltiness to the meat, allowing the bird to steam while it smokes. 
  • Lemon juice. A hint of citrus adds brightness to the turkey and makes people wonder what your secret ingredient is. A little goes a long way! Bonus: The lemon juice helps tenderize the turkey meat.
  • The Smoker Setup

  • Pellet grill/smoker. I used the Traeger for this turkey recipe. I love this setup because you can use it for grilling or smoking. The grill is durable, holds heat, and creates the best pies, steaks, and roasts. 
  •  This gorgeous setup has three racks so you can cook your entire holiday meal at once. You will smoke main dishes, sides, and desserts in no time. 

  • Pellets. For this cook, I used apple pellets. The fruit notes complemented the honey and added a little Fall flair. Part of your meal’s success is the pellets you choose; mixing flavors is part of the fun! 
  • The Process for Making Smoked Honey Pecan Turkey on the Pellet Grill

    There’s a detailed demonstration of this recipe in the video and recipe card near the bottom of this post. For now, enjoy this brief overview of how I pulled this amazing Smoked Honey Pecan Turkey together.

    • Fire up the grill. I stoked the grill and fired it up to about 300℉. This temperature allowed my bird to cook low and slow, keeping the moisture where it belonged. 
    • Fire up the grill. I stoked the grill and fired it up to about 300℉. This temperature allowed my bird to cook low and slow, keeping the moisture where it belonged. 
    • Mix the injection. I took the turkey out of the package, removed the insides, and dried it off.  Then, I mixed melted butter, chicken stock, lemon juice, and a little of my Everyday Rub to create a custom-made injection. 
    • Inject the turkey. Using a plastic injector, I injected the bird using a grid-like pattern. Pro tip: Plastic injectors can be finicky, so I recommend spraying the rubber insert with cooking spray. The inside of your injection tube will be greased, making for an easy injection process. 
    • Season the bird. I dried off the bird, then sprayed it with Crisco Butter Spray. This spray was a great binder that allowed the seasonings to stick. For presentation's sake, I tucked the wings under the bird. Then, I added a good layer of Everyday Rub
    • I mixed ½ cup of Honey Rub and ½ cup of Pecan Rub, then set the bird on a baking tray for easy seasoning. I seasoned the bird with my honey pecan mixture. I shook off any excess seasoning, then tied the turkey’s legs together with butcher’s twine
    • Smoke the turkey. I put the bird on the Traeger and let it go for an hour. After that first hour, I sprayed it every 30 minutes with cooking spray. At the hour-and-a-half mark, I used tongs to rotate the cooking rack so the bird cooked evenly. 
    • Rest and finish. Once the turkey breast hit 165℉ internally, I took it off the pit. I let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before slicing into it.

    The Results

    The turkey came off the grill with a gorgeous golden color. The bird had a total cook time of 3 ½ hours, giving it a beautiful crust with moist meat. Give this recipe a shot if you’re ready for a simple, easy-to-cook turkey. 

    Serving Suggestions for Smoked Honey Pecan Turkey

    If you’re making my Smoked Honey Pecan Turkey for the holidays, you’ll want a few sides to go with it. Here are some of my favorite suggestions. 

  • Apple Dump Cake. This delicious cake is the perfect finish to a fantastic holiday dinner. It’s easy, rich, and tastes great with some ice cream! Plus, it’s gorgeous and stays true to a Fall theme. 
  •  Bacon Wrapped Green Beans. You'll adore these green beans if you love veggies with a fun twist. They look pretty enough to serve next to the turkey and add a healthy element to your meal. 
  •  Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes are always a family favorite. You can’t have a holiday dinner without mashed potatoes! This side dish has a fabulous flavor that you’ll be obsessed with. The recipe is in my Thanksgiving roundup. 
  • Storing Leftover Turkey

    If you do have leftovers, my first recommendation is to make a turkey sandwich. If you still have turkey after that, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it for up to 4 months. 

    Equipment and Tools

    Pellet grill, wood pellets, butcher’s twine, Butter-flavored Crisco Cooking Spray, cooling racks, Thermapen Mk4, Yeti Cooler, and insulated gloves for handling meat.

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