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10+ Reasons to Try Apple or Cherry Wood for Smoking Your Next Turkey

10+ Reasons to Try Apple or Cherry Wood for Smoking Your Next Turkey

Smoking a turkey is an excellent way to bring out the flavor of this tasty bird, and using apple or cherry wood for smoking turkey can add even more depth and complexity.

In this article, we’ll explore why apple and cherry wood are fantastic options for your next smoked turkey and answers to questions regarding how to get the best results.

Whether you’re new to smoking meats or an experienced pitmaster looking for something different, this guide will give you all the inspiration to take the leap and try using fruitwood when smoking turkeys, thus taking your cooking skills up another notch!

1. Apple and Cherry Woods Produce a Mild, Sweet Flavor

Fruitwoods like apple and cherry are some of the most popular smoking woods for poultry because they produce a mild, sweet, incredibly delicious flavor.

Apple wood gives poultry a subtle sweetness, while apple wood lends it a sweet, slightly tart, and fruity character. These woods won’t overpower the flavor of the bird but rather enhance it and make it even more enjoyable.

2. Apple Wood Adds a Fruity Flavor to Turkey

Stainless steel smoking pucks with smoking apple chips.

As touched upon above, applewood, in particular, creates a distinct yet very subtle fruity flavor that makes the turkey taste unique.

This is a lovely flavor profile, especially for the fall and winter holidays when you might wish to pair the turkey with similar flavors, such as cranberry sauce, sweet applesauce, or a plate of peach pie!

3. They Produce a Light Smoke That Won’t Be Too Overpowering

As we just mentioned, one advantage of using fruitwood for smoking turkey is that the mild smoke they produce won’t overpower the bird’s flavor.

This makes them a great option for beginners just getting used to smoking meat.

4. Cherry Wood and Apple Wood Are Easy To Find

Weber 17139 Apple Wood Chunks, Cubic Meter, 350 cu. in. (0.006 m³)

Apple and cherry wood for smoking turkey are readily available, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding them at your local grocery store, hardware store, or online.

5. You Can Mix and Match These Wood Types

Another great thing about using apple or cherry wood for smoking turkey is that you can easily mix and match different woods to create unique flavor combinations.

For example, you could pair apple wood with oak for a fruity-earthy flavor, or you could combine cherry with hickory for a delicious smoky-sweet flavor.

6. You Can Find These Woods for Other Meats, Too

Traeger Grills Apple 100% All-Natural Wood Pellets for Smokers and Pellet Grills, BBQ, Bake, Roast, and Grill, 20 lb. Bag

You can use apple and cherry wood to smoke other meat besides turkey.

These woods are excellent for giving pork and beef a mild, sweet flavor that compliments their savory flavors.

7. Turkey Develops a Nice, Deep Color from Cherry Wood

When you use cherry wood for smoking turkey, one of the lovely effects is that it imparts a deep reddish-brown hue to the bird.

This gives it a restaurant-quality look that will make any dish you create stand out at any party or holiday potluck.

8. Apple Is Mellow Compared to Cherry or Pecan

Another standout feature of applewood, in particular, is that it’s more mellow compared to pecan, maple, and other types of wood – even cherry.

The subtlety of the apple can be nice if you genuinely love the taste of turkey and don’t want to overshadow its meaty flavor but still want to make the smoked bird ultra-delicious or even a bit festive.

9. Apple Ensures You Smoke Turkey Low and Slow

Barbecue Smoked Turkey Leg

Because apple wood is so subtle, people often make the mistake of firing up the bird at a higher temperature to try and get the flavor to seep in quicker and deeper.

However, this technique might actually have a negative effect and cause the turkey to either burn or dry out.

Since Turkey is already at risk of drying out fast compared to other meats, choosing apple wood means that you have to commit to a more delicate, precise, and time-sensitive approach. 

And due to this special attention, your turkey might come out better than ever! High risk, high reward!

10. Apple or Cherry Wood for Smoking Is More Unique

Using apple or cherry for smoked turkey is far more unique than using other woods like maple or hickory.

Of course, uniqueness doesn’t always equate to better, but when smoked low and slow, with a lot of attention to the details, you can create a standout, praiseworthy bird that your family and friends won’t forget.

Is cherry good for smoking turkey?

Yes! Smoking with cherry wood adds a subtle sweetness that complements the earthy flavors of the turkey, making for a truly memorable meal.

Is apple good for smoking turkey?

Absolutely! Apple wood produces a gentle, fruity smoke that gives turkey an extra hint of sweetness.

What do you put in the cavity of a smoked turkey?

When smoking turkey, you can add herbs and seasonings such as sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic cloves, or onions to the cavity. I also like to add butter, apple, and even cola for a unique flavor profile. And of course, you can’t forget the salt and pepper!

Is cherry good for smoking meat?

Cherrywood is excellent for smoking not only turkey but also other kinds of meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb. Its mild sweetness adds a subtle flavor profile to the meat that can enhance it.

Should I soak my wood chips before smoking turkey?

No, you shouldn’t smoke your wood chips before smoking turkey. You may think that this is a good option because it looks like smoke when you pour water onto a wooden fire.

But in actuality, wet wood does not smoke; it steams. When smoking meats, the smoke should be dry.

How long should I smoke a turkey?

The range of time in which you should smoke a turkey depends on various factors, such as how big the turkey is, what type of wood you’re using, and the temperature.

Generally, it is best to smoke a large, whole turkey at 225°F for 3.5-4 hours.

Another way of looking at it is to smoke it for one hour per pound of meat. Use a food thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the bird.

However, always remember that the temperature of the smoker is more important than the time when it comes to smoked food, so also be sure to follow the guidelines outlined for your specific smoker.