We will show you the best way to cook or reheat your smoked turkey in the oven. Know how to keep your smoked turkey juicy and tender.
How Do You Reheat a Fully Cooked Smoked Turkey? Cook the turkey in the oven at 300 degrees until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees on a thermometer.
I think there are two kinds of people that like a smoked turkey. Those that want an already cooked turkey and those that genuinely like the smoky flavor. Ok It may be possible to be both of those kinds of people at the same time.
If a smoked turkey is on your menu this Thanksgiving (or whenever you are reading this), the biggest turkey question has nothing to do with whether to brine or not, but how to reheat it.
And reheating is what we are concerned with, not cooking. A smoked turkey comes fully cooked.
Let's take some time and look at what it takes to reheat a smoked turkey. In this post we will be addressing whole turkey.
- 🦃 Fresh or Frozen?
- 🏆 What is the Best Oven Temperature
- 🌡️ What Internal Temperature?
- ⏲️ How Long Does It Take?
- ❓ What If the Meat is Pink?
- 🥶 Can You Eat it Cold?
- 🧊 What If Still Frozen on Thanksgiving?
- 🤏 Can You Stuff It?
- 💡 More Tips
- 👨🍳 Does Smoking Your Own Turkey Take Longer?
- 🍠 Favorite Sides
- 🥣 Leftovers
- Reheated Fully Cooked Smoked Turkey
🦃 Fresh or Frozen?
But if frozen, your going to have to thaw that bad boy. If you find yourself close to Thanksgiving with a frozen turkey still, check out my methods for a quick turkey thaw. They apply to any frozen turkey, smoked or not.
🏆 What is the Best Oven Temperature
Your best option is to go low and slow. The goal is to still have a juicy turkey. You want the turkey to reheat as evenly as possible, lower temps are perfect for that. A higher temperature will dry out the external part of the turkey before the inside is warm enough. I think the process is not different than reheating a cooked ham.
🌡️ I suggest doing it at 300 degrees. If you are really in a rush, maybe up to 325, but really no higher than that or you could dry out the turkey.
This is a case of your patience rewarding you.
🌡️ What Internal Temperature?
When cooking a turkey I always cook it until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in the deepest part of the breast without touching any bones. However, already cooked smoked turkey doesn't need to get to 165. It just needs to get to the point of being out of the so-called danger zone. This is the temperature range that dangerous bacteria like to grow.
Your chances of getting sick increase if your food is in this danger zone too long. The range is from 40-140 degrees. This is why you need your fridge to be 40 and under at all times. In this case we are concerned about the other end. Cooking your smoked turkey to 140 degrees will get it out of the danger zone.
🌡️ Some people may say to reheat it all the way back to 165. There is debate about this with camps saying 140 and some saying 165. I personally feel comfortable just going out of the danger zone at 140. Or a few degrees higher if you want to be super extra safe, but I was fine at pulling mine at 140.
⏲️ How Long Does It Take?
This depends on so many things, I really can't give you a perfect answer.
Depends on the size of your bird and the temperature of your oven you chose. I would plan on at least 4 hours to fully reheat the smoked turkey.
Again there are too many variables to nail down an exact time as much as I would like for you. I would start it early enough to make your meal time and you could always keep it in the oven on warm for a spell.
You will want to give it a 20-25 minute rest time before you carve just to like a regular turkey. This allows the juices in the turkey to be re-distributed.
To give yourself a leg up, remove the turkey from the fridge for an hour before hand to bring up the temperature. Don't worry that's not too long for it to be out of refrigeration.
I recommend having a probe thermometer on hand that you can place in the turkey and have a read out that sits outside the oven, so you can monitor what's going on inside. The thermometer I use is the DOT® Simple Alarm Thermometer from ThermoWorks. It's really use to use and provides an accurate reading. I find it more durable the other ones I have bought in the store that didn't last more than a year.
Learn more about thermometers for checking the temperature of a turkey.
❓ What If the Meat is Pink?
If you slice up your smoked turkey and see that the meat has a pink hue to it, do not worry! This can be a big concern for first timers but rest assure smoked meats tend to take on a pink color. If the package says that it's fully cooked, then you have nothing to worry about. It's not raw. Once it hits the correct temperature it's ready to enjoy.
🥶 Can You Eat it Cold?
A smoked turkey is an already cooked turkey. Yes, you can eat it cold. Same is true for a ham.
🧊 What If Still Frozen on Thanksgiving?
If your smoked turkey is still frozen on the day of, I would still cook it, It's easer than a raw turkey that has to get to a higher temperature. It's still going to take longer and it's a higher chance you are going to dry it out before its hot enough. Cook it until it hits 140 degrees.
What you could do is defrost it enough to cut it into pieces that what it would reheat a lot faster. Be careful, I don't want you to cut yourself try to cut up a bird that is too hard.
🤏 Can You Stuff It?
Could you? Sure. Should you? I am not so sure.
I did some poking around to see what others were saying on the topic. Butterball whos sells a smoked whole turkey said do not stuff.
I think by adding more mass to the turkey it's going to take longer to get up to 140 degrees. And you have to be sure the stuffing itself is cooked to the proper temperature. I would skip it just as I do with a standard turkey and make dressing outside of the turkey (when it's out of the bird it's called dressing!)
Just because you choose not to stuff it that doesn't mean you have to leave the turkey cavity empty. This is a great time to add some aromatics, like garlic, onions, or herbs.
RELATED - How to Make Smoked Turkey Stock Using the Instant Pot
💡 More Tips
Here some other things to keep in mind
- To keep the turkey from drying out in the oven cover it completely in aluminum foil and place it into a shallow roasting pan or sheet pan. For a crispier skin you can remove the foil near the end of cooking, or put it under the broiler for a few mintues.
- I haven't done this, but you could try re-heating it in a slow cooker. Although I think that would take too long to get to temperature, so I am not recommending it.
- In order to speed up the cook time, you can remove the turkey 30-45 minutes before cooking and let it get up to room temperature It won't be there long enough to cause harm.
- Don't throw out the bones when you are done. You can use them to make turkey stock that will have a smoky flavor!
- Here is a reminder for you again, the color of the meat may look pinkish or reddish. That's natural with a smoked turkey, it is not under cooked.
👨🍳 Does Smoking Your Own Turkey Take Longer?
If you are going to take the time to reheat a smoked turkey, you could just smoke the turkey yourself. Smoking your own turkey may not take as long as it seems. If you buy a frozen smoked turkey, the time you spend thawing it and then reheating it, won't be much different then if you smoked a fresh turkey yourself.
Just something to ponder 🙂
Are you planning on a smoked turkey this year? Leave a comment below telling us how you plan to cook/reheat it.
🍠 Favorite Sides
Here are some of my favorite sides that would go great with a smoked turkey.
- Swirled Mashed Potatoes
- Buttered Roasted Carrots
- Green Chile Creamed Corn
- Sous Vide Sweet Potatoes
- Herb & Sausage Dressing
- Oven Roasted Vegetables
- Mac & Cheese
Smoked turkey leftovers would be amazing in any of these recipes:
Reheated Fully Cooked Smoked Turkey
- any size Smoked Whole Turkey
- vegetables or onions
- 1 stick butter optional
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs optional
- Start by removing the turkey from the fridge 30-45 minutes before you will cook it.
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
- Remove the turkey from the packaging. The legs will be tied, leave that on.
- Place the turkey on a sheet or roasting pan with the breast side up.
- If you have any carrots, celery, or onions, rough cut them up and insert them into the cavity of the turkey. You can put some underneath the turkey as well.
- Insert the probe of your thermometer into the deepest part of the breast. Set your thermometer to go off at 140 degrees.
- Wrap entire top of the turkey in heavy duty aluminum foil, making sure not to mess up your probe. You don't need to cover the bottom of the turkey.
- Cook until the alarm on your thermometer goes off. This could take between 3-4 hours or less depending on your elevation and the size of your turkey.
- When you hit 140 degrees, remove the turkey from the oven.
- Allow the turkey to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving .
- Put leftovers in the fridge as soon you are done eating and they have cooled down.