Do You Baste Turkey While Smoking It? [Why & How]

Smoking a turkey is one of the best ways to cook a turkey, as nothing beats that wonderful smoky flavor. However, when you smoke a turkey, you will find that some people recommend basting it as you smoke it. So why should you baste a turkey while smoking it? 

Basting a turkey throughout the smoking process helps keep the turkey moist and adds a delicious smokey flavor to the turkey. To baste a turkey, use a basting brush or turkey baster. Baste your turkey every 30 to 40 minutes after the first hour of smoking. 

do you baste turkey while smoking it

What is a good turkey baste recipe you can use for your turkey? Are there other methods to keep your turkey moist while smoking it? 

Let’s go through all there is to know about basting turkeys to ensure your smoked turkey is perfect!

Should You Baste A Turkey While Smoking It?

Smoking a turkey is one of the preferred methods to cook a delicious and juicy turkey for any occasion. Smoked turkeys are generally enjoyed on holidays like Thanksgiving, but if you love turkey, you can smoke one for your family whenever you feel like having one. 

After all, there is nothing better than a moist and tasty piece of turkey. 

However, if you are new to smoking turkeys, you might have a few questions about how to prepare your turkey for smoking, with one question being, should you baste your turkey when smoking it? 

This can depend on the recipe you are using to prepare and smoke your turkey, but most recopies recommend basting the turkey before and during the smoking process. 

The only omission to this is if you brine your turkey before smoking. You can skip the basting step if you’ve purchased a store-bought pre-brined turkey like Butterball.

That said, many people still brine store-bought turkeys to add more flavor. However, cut down on the salt if you do brine a pre-brined turkey. 

Why Should You Baste A Turkey While Smoking It?

Now that we have established that it is usually a good idea to baste your turkey when smoking it, you might wonder why most recipes recommend doing this as part of your smoking process unless your turkey has been brined.

When you baste your turkey before you place it into the smoker, and then you baste it a few more times throughout the smoking process, this adds moisture to the turkey while it’s cooking. 

This extra moisture ensures your turkey stays moist and doesn’t dry out. 

Having a dry, crumbly turkey can make the experience of eating it extremely unpleasant, so basting the turkey helps ensure you have the best turkey possible. 

The Best Way To Baste A Turkey While Smoking It

Now that you know and understand the why of basting your turkey while smoking it, we can cover how to baste it. As you are preparing your turkey, the baste should be the last thing you put on the turkey before it goes into the smoker. 

There are two ways to baste your turkey – by brush or baster. First, cover the outside of the turkey with the baste. You can also inject some of the mixture inside the turkey to keep it moist during cooking.

Then baste your turkey every 30 to 40 minutes after the first hour of smoking. This will ensure your turkey has all the moisture it needs to stay juicy. 

A Good Recipe For Turkey Baste

 There’s more to a delicious turkey than just basting it. To help ensure you get the most flavor out of your turkey, you need an amazing baste recipe to ensure your bird is as juicy and flavorful as possible.

The recipe below is straightforward and adds some great flavors to your smoked turkey. It complements the flavor of the turkey exceptionally well. 

Let’s go through what you need and how to make this turkey baste. 

What You Will Need

For this turkey baste recipe, you will need some easy-to-find ingredients that are most likely in your kitchen pantry. 

Below is what you will need for this recipe:

  • 2 tsp of lemon juice 
  • 2 tsp of poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp of dried basil
  • 2 tsp of sage
  • 2 tsp of thyme

Method To Prepare The Turkey Baste

Once you have collected and measured all your ingredients, you can begin making the turkey baste. To begin making the turkey baste, you need to melt the cup of unsalted butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. 

After melting the butter, add the lemon juice, and stir the mixture. Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir the mixture again. Allow the baste to simmer on low heat for at least 3 minutes. 

Remove the baste from the heat, and let it stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. You can now baste your turkey before smoking it and use the excess baste throughout the smoking process. 

Other Methods To Help Keep Your Turkey Moist When Smoking

Basting your turkey is not the only method you can use to help keep the turkey moist when smoking. You can use several other methods to ensure your turkey is lovely and juicy once it’s done smoking. 

Let’s go through these other methods to keep your turkey moist. 

Wrap The Turkey During The Smoking Process

A moist turkey is a crucial element of any successfully smoked meat dish. To prevent your bird from drying out, consider wrapping it in butcher’s paper two hours into the smoking process.

This will help keep the turkey’s juices close to the meat and keep it moist. 

Inject Moisture Into The Turkey During The Smoking Process

 Another way to keep your turkey moist while smoking is to inject the baste or chicken broth into the meat several times during the smoking process.

You can use a food syringe to ensure the baste is injected deep into the turkey meat, which will help keep it moist. 

Brine The Turkey

Although we mentioned this method earlier, we’ll go over it again– you can brine your turkey before smoking it. This will help season your turkey and keep the meat moist while cooking. 

However, because turkeys are large birds, correctly brining one can be difficult.

Final Word

Whether cooking a turkey in the oven or smoking it, basting it is always a good idea. Basting your turkey will ensure it stays moist and delicious. If you don’t baste your turkey when smoking it, it can become dry, crumbly, and unpleasant to eat. 

Although basting a turkey is easy and only requires a few ingredients, there are other ways to keep your turkey moist when smoking it if you don’t have turkey baste.

Hopefully, this article has helped improve your understanding of why it’s important to baste your turkey and the best way to do it. 

Good luck with smoking your next turkey!

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