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Talkin’ Turkey

How To Properly Cook Turkey from Smoke On Wheels BBQ Pitmaster Andy Groneman

Here’s the problem with turkey: above 150°F, white meat begins to dry out. Dark meat, with its connective tissue/collagen, has to be cooked to at least 165°F.

Separating the dark meat from the white is the best way to get to the 15-20º temperature differential between properly cooked thigh/legs and breasts.

General Info:

  • Meat Cut: Spatchcocked whole bird, or Boned Turkey breast (can cook as a roulade or whole breast), Leg Quarters
  • Options: Spatchcock prep, or full separation.
  • Seasoning methods:
  • Cooking Temp: 350 degrees / Cooking time: ~60-90min.


  • Marinade up to 8hrs.
  • Brining can be done overnight (up to 16hrs).
  • Don’t overcook your white meat! Juice is clear, it is cooked! (155ºF, typically)
  • Dark meat needs to be cooked to 165-170ºF, to ensure connective tissue/collagen is broken down
  • Spatchcocking is the easiest way to cook the bird so that all of the pieces roast evenly in a 350º smoker.

Pull out the breast when it reaches 150° (tent it with foil to keep it warm) and the legs/wings when they hit 165°F.

Cooking should take ~90 minutes for a 12 to 15 pound bird, plus 30 minutes of rest time.

Carve the bird, and serve!!

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