Dozer’s Garage

Perfect juicY smoked Christmas turkey

with brown rice stuffing


You CAN smoke a turkey for the holidays that’s bang on with smoky flavour and a nice crispy skin and is also moist and delicious.  


8 – 12

Ready In:

4.5 – 6 hours


(3) Not hard but have patience

Good For:

Christmas, Thanksgiving, Summer dining, Families


Perfect Christmas Turkey in the Smoker


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We’re going for a simple turkey with approachable, summery flavours everyone can enjoy on a warm Australian Christmas.    There’s lots of room for adaptation in this one but this should get you started!   We’re after a perfectly juicy Christmas turkey with some zing to it’s crispy skin and an umami packed stuffing with some freshness to balance the dish.

Note that a bigger bird could take much longer and possibly dry out before all parts are cooked to a safe temperature.  Two smaller birds for a larger group will usually give go better.


  • 1 or 2 Australian grown turkeys, fresh, approx. 3.5kg.    
  • 60 grams of soft (but not melted) butter
  • Rubs (we used Bulldozer Bird Brain & Bulldozer Game Face rubs)
  • ¼ cup peanut, canola or sunflower oil


  • 1.5 cups of brown rice, pre-cooked
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • ½ red capsicum, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2-3 brown mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • ½ cup of frozen peas
  • About 50 gms of soft cheese, diced small.  Brie, camembert, blue cheeses all could work.
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary leaves
  • About 10 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup pomegranate juice (some other juices could be nice here)
  • 50 grams of butter, melted
  • Bulldozer Game Face rub

Instructions for the turkey

  1. Check to make sure there’s nothing in the turkey’s cavity.   Pat it dry and tuck the wing tips behind the neck.   Tie the legs if you want a more formal look. 
  2. Moosh up a couple of tablespoons of rub into the butter so it’s distributed well.
  3. Very gently work your fingers under the turkey skin over the breast area, starting from the bottom until the skin has lifted away from the breast meat on both sides.
  4. Push the butter & rub mixture in under the skin and distribute it around until all areas over the breast are pretty even.   Then gently push the skin back down into its normal position.   The butter helps with keeping the lean turkey moist and flavourful.
  5. Roll the turkey over and coat the bottom lightly with oil and then the rub (as much as you’d like!)
  6. Roll it back and do the same oil and rub(s) on the top.
  7. Spoon in the rice stuffing until almost full.  (see rice stuffing recipe below)
  8. Stick the bird in your cooker at 225F (107C), add your preferred wood and get cooking.
  9. Spritz a bit every 30-40 minutes and wrap a little foil around the feet whenever they look done.   Rotate every now and then for even cooking.
  10. Around 80-90 minutes into the cook, bump your temperatures up to 265F (130C).   This will help get it done before it dries out and will give you a nicer, crispy skin but keep a closer eye on it at this point and tent it with foil once the skin looks the way you like (golden)
  11. Pull it out and rest it for at least 30 minutes.
  12. Suggestion:   put a pan under it to catch the drippings if you want some awesome flavour kick for your gravy.


Instructions for the STUFFING

  1. Dice up the capsicum, carrot and celery to a small size and sautee in a sauce pan with a bit of oil and butter.   
  2. Add in the diced onion, mushroom, garlic, rosemary and sage.   Continue sauteeing until soft.  
  3. Place cooked rice in a large bowl.   Zest lemon over rice and add melted butter, cheese.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together thoroughly the juice of ½ lemon; pomegranate juice, one egg. Dijon mustard and ¼ cup of Game Face rub.  
  5. Toss this liquid mixture, the sauteed vegies and frozen peas through the rice.  
  6. If you’ve finished all the turkey steps, you’re ready to stuff the bird.  Spoon or hands will work fine.  Don’t pack it too tight when you do – you want some heat and smoke to get in.
  7. Once the cook is done, remove the stuffing from the turkey cavity into a bowl.  Add the juice from the other half lemon plus a large pinch of sea salt and stir before serving.   A little hot sauce wouldn’t be out of line here either! 
turkey in smoker500x375
Smoke ring in that juicy breast meat


Smoke chamber temperature  –  225F (107C) for 90 minutes, 265F (130C) for the remainder

Final meat temperature  –  165F (74C) in the breast, 175F (80C) in the thigh

Cook time (may vary by cooker, outside temps and how many times you peek) –  4 -5 hours without stuffing,  5-6 hours stuffed

Recommended woods  –  Hickory, Cherry… or try Pecan, Apple, Ironbark, Jam Wood!

Options & Tweaks

There’s just no shortage of things you can change and add to this Perfect Juicy Smoked Christmas Turkey recipe!

  • Change up the rubs.  Jerk, cajun or lemon pepper are great options.
  • Rubs with sugar will give a darker skin.  Try a sugar free rub like Bulldozer SPOG or Big Ballsy for a lighter, golden skin.
  • Add some small croutons to the stuffing before cooking.
  • Include fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme to the butter under the skin
  • Hardwoods like oak or ironbark give a different flavour base than hickory.  Fruitwoods are always well suited.
  • Cheese can be omitted if needed.  
comica ribs

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