Here's How Long You Should Rest Your Turkey After Smoking

For many, cooking a turkey can be seen as quite the hassle — this may be why there are so many ways to cook a turkey. From roasting to frying to smoking, there are as many turkey recipes out in the interwebs as there is sand on the beaches of the Bahamas (or almost as many). One technique in particular that has been picking up a bit of steam lately has been the smoking of meats

An All Durable report cites that there has been a 25 percent increase in the sales of both full-sized smokers as well as pellet smoker tubes. So, imagine that the day for your special turkey dinner has arrived and your turkey is moist, delicious, and ready to be pulled out of the smoker, but you haven't a clue about how long it should sit out for. Should you give it any time at all to rest before getting ready to carve it and serve it up? Well, Grill Master Randy Watson and Chef Tony Matassa from BBQGuys suggest that, depending on the size of your bird, the turkey should sit for about 20 to 30 minutes after cooking.

Why it's important to rest your turkey after cooking it

The general misconception is that when you pull something off of heat, it's done cooking. In an Insider article, turkey farmer Paul Kelly (who happens to sell chef Jaime Oliver turkeys) reveals that after being taken off the heat, whether you smoked it or roasted it, the temperature of the bird will continue to rise for about 45 minutes. Famed chef Gordan Ramsey shares that he likes to let his Christmas turkey rest for several hours before serving it to his family, Good To Know explains. But, why is resting the turkey so important? 

Mental Floss asserts that it allows for the turkey's juices to redistribute properly. Ramsey tells Good To Know that as the turkey rests, the juices get reabsorbed, thus making the turkey more succulent, tender, and easier to carve. He cites that the longer you allow it to rest post-cook, the better it will taste. But, Watson and Matassa cite one exception to the resting rule. If you're looking to have deliciously crackly and crispy skin, you should carve into your turkey within ten to 15 minutes of completion.