Apple Glazed Smoked Turkey

Apple Glazed Smoked Turkey is a butterflied and  spatchcocked holiday roast, glazed with an apple cider molasses reduction.
Apple Glazed Smoked Turkey

Apple Glazed  Smoked Turkey

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

Apple Glazed  Smoked Turkey is my recipe of the day. I  realized I hadn’t posted this yet, and as I get ready  to  post a recipe for smoked turkey chili  later in the week, figure it was time.

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apple glazed smoked turkey

Smoking  a turkey is pretty easy  if you have  a smoker. I use a Traeger pellet smoker. Some purists don’t like those but it does work better for me than smokers without  accurate thermostats. There is less tending  to do  as the wood pellets are fed.

I do use a remote probe that sends temps to my phone so I can watch over the food even if I am inside. As the  weather cools,  you’ll find you don’t want to hover for hours at a time. Or if it starts to drizzle that’s obviously  annoying.

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The type of Traeger Pellet Smoker I used in this recipe:

Apple Wood Pellets

Heavy Duty Kitchen Shears to prep the turkey

I do a basic smoke on the  turkey.  I  didn’t  do a brine  on this but didn’t feel it was necessary. The meat was still moist and juicy.

At the end of the smoke time I apply some apple molasses, which is a reduction of fresh apple cider to a syrup state. It is thick like molasses or other syrups but has a wonderful apple taste.  Besides glazing  turkey, it can be  used on hams, stirred into  recipes, drizzled on biscuits and more. I have linked a recipe below.

prep turkey for spatchcock

In the photo  above you can see how the backbone is cut out of the turkey. I use heavy duty kitchen shears designed for meat so the blades can expand out. A couple of the bones will take more muscle than spatchcocking a chicken. So if  you have a light  grip have someone to help. I managed but I am a determined lady.

Ditch the  plastic thingy. Save the bones and giblets for stock and gravy. I have recipes for  those below as well.

spatchcock prep flattening turkey along breast bone

Spatchcocking  will open the turkey like a book and flatten it along the breast bone. Besides cutting  back the smoke time considerably, you  will  see that a whole intact turkey likely  won’t fit in there anyway. Although my smoker is a smaller version.

seasoned turkey in the smoker

For seasoning,  I sprinkled with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Then drizzled with olive oil. Just basic stuff. You can  be  more fancy if you like.

smoked turkey in the smoker

After a few hours as it approaches doneness,  you can  use a pastry or basting  brush to coat it liberally with the apple molasses and let it finish up. As you  can see in the next photos, the color  is obviously darker.

Apple Glazed  Smoked Turkey

Apple Glazed Smoked Turkey

I cut the sections up after resting the turkey. The breast is separated out and  the other pieces removed. I will often just serve the breast and thigh meat, saving the wings and  drums as seasoning meat.

I have a recipe for instant pot collard greens coming  up for Holiday Sides week in early November. In  that  you will find me tossing a smoked turkey wing straight from the freezer into  the cooker.

Seasoning meat is also great for beans and soups or just making stock. You will find that smoked stock has an earthier flavor than stock you  make from the  backbone and non-smoked carcass pieces. Smoked stock is excellent when making beans for barbecue beans. Just sayin’. It adds that special touch.

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Apple Molasses (Boiled Cider Syrup)

This thick syrup is used to glaze the turkey so you will need to prepare  this in advance.

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Apple Glazed  Smoked Turkey

Apple Glazed Smoked Turkey

Sue Lau
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 605 kcal


  • smoker and wood fuel (pellets or chips)



  • 1 12- 14 pound fresh or thawed frozen turkey,


  • salt, black pepper, poultry seasoning
  • olive oil


  • Apple wood chips or pellets
  • Apple cider molasses (I have a recipe for this on the blog; see link on this page)


Prep Turkey for Spatchcocking

  • Rinse and pat dry, remove any extraneous feathers; remove giblets; pull out the plastic thing that clamps the legs and discard.
  • Turn the turkey over in the sink breast side down. Use heavy duty kitchen shears to cut out the backbone on each side of the spine; reserve the backbone and giblets for stock and gravy later.
  • Place the turkey breast side up on a large baking sheet and using your palms, press down firmly on the top to flatten it as much as you can.

Prep your Spatchcocked Turkey for Smoking:

  • Season the turkey all over with salt, black pepper, and poultry seasoning.
  • Drizzle liberally with olive oil.

Prep Smoker:

  • Use apple wood chips or pellets and set to smoke at 225F.
  • You will keep this temperature throughout the cooking process.

Smoking the Turkey:

  • Place the turkey skin side up in the smoker and close the lid. Do not lift the lid to baste or anything like that.
  • Maintain smoker pellets for the duration of the smoking process.
  • The required time should be approximately 30 minutes per pound; 3-4 hours total. Temp is the important thing, not the time. Probe for internal temp using a meat thermometer.
  • When the turkey approaches doneness, brush with apple cider molasses and allow it to continue smoking until it reaches 165F in the deepest part of the thigh. It will continue to rise in temp as it rests, so tent it with foil after taking it out.


From the kitchen of


Calories: 605kcalProtein: 93gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 309mgSodium: 481mgPotassium: 962mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 240IUCalcium: 47mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Thanksgiving turkey
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Apple Glazed Smoked Turkey

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