While typically associated with the holidays, there is no denying that turkeys are great any time of year.
Of course, preparing this particular bird can be tedious, time-consuming, and rigorous. That is why most people often opt to follow the precooked route. After all, smoked turkeys offer unparalleled levels of convenience as they are already cooked for you.
That said, before you serve it anything to your guests, we need to answer a particularly relevant question…
How do you reheat smoked turkey? We recommend reheating smoked turkey in the oven at 250 degrees F until warmed through. It’s important to reheat smoke turkey slowly at a low temperature so that it is reheated without becoming dry.
This is what we’ll be getting into with this reheating guide. With that, the discussion will be divided into two parts: reheating the whole bird and reheating leftovers. Be sure to keep reading so you know how to properly reheat your smoked turkey.
The Complete Guide to Reheating Smoked Turkey
If you are reading this, you are probably looking for ways to get your turkey fix. After all, turkeys are incredibly versatile.
While traditionally smoked and roasted, you can also use the scraps and leftovers for all manner of snacks and treats:
- Turkey sandwiches make for incredibly healthy snacks because of their relatively low-calorie count.
- Turkey drippings also serve as the prime ingredient for gravy while shredded turkey meat is perfect for soups.
Like with everything else in the kitchen, you need to know what you are doing when reheating your smoked turkey.
If frozen, be sure to remember to properly defrost your smoked turkey beforehand. Otherwise, you may be left with undeniably disappointing results.
It is also worth noting that a pinkish color is normal for smoked turkeys. It does not mean that it is raw or undercooked.
Reheating a Whole Smoked Turkey
As a rule, you will want to reheat your smoked turkey as evenly as possible. Remember that if your oven is too hot then you will probably dry out the bird’s exterior while its interior will remain cold and inedible.
The reheating process for smoked turkeys is similar to reheating a cooked ham. In both cases, it takes time, precision, and focus, so be sure to pay close attention.
So, before you get started, do yourself a favor and remove the turkey from the fridge. Leave it at room temperature for an hour. This should help make things easier for you down the road.
Setting the Right Temperature
When it comes to the right temperature, slowly reheating smoked turkey in a low-temperature setting is the way to go. Remember, good things come to those who wait.
This is the best way to approach reheating your smoked turkey:
- If you are not in a hurry, we recommend that you do it at 250 degrees.
- If you want optimal results in the quickest way possible, you can crank the oven temperature to 325 degrees. That is the absolute limit. Don’t go higher than that.
Going over the temperature limit will lead to devastating results. The reheating process is slow for a reason. No one wants to eat dry turkey meat.
That said, you should also ensure that the turkey is properly covered in foil during reheating. This does two things: holds in moisture and hastens the reheating process. The foil lessens the chances of your turkey becoming dried out.
Keeping Track of a Smoked Turkey’s Internal Temperature
Now that you have set the oven’s temperature to the desired setting, you need to remember that you will need to keep close track of the turkey’s progress throughout the whole reheating process.
To be more specific, you need to take note of the bird’s internal temperature.
It is important to remember that you are using a pre-cooked bird. This is a very important distinction that needs to be made as it will affect how you want to approach the reheating process.
While cooking a turkey would require you to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, this is not the case with an already-smoked turkey.
Instead, you just need to ensure that its internal temperature goes beyond what industry experts call the danger zone of 40-100 degrees.
To be clear, the danger zone refers to the temperature range that lets dangerous bacteria grow and multiply.
You want your smoked turkey to reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees. There is a range, of course.
We find that the oven’s 145-150 degrees Fahrenheit temperature makes for a perfectly juicy smoked turkey. Just remember that going any hotter than 150 will start to dry out your meat.
For consistent and precise results, we highly recommend that you use a probe thermometer for precise measurements.
It is also incredibly convenient as these probes let you monitor the bird’s progress in real-time without having to take it out.
Reheating Time of Smoked Turkey
The actual reheating time is affected by several factors. Giving a definitive answer here would be problematic as it may vary on a case-to-case basis.
For instance, the size and weight of the turkey can mean longer or shorter reheating time. The same can also be said for the chosen oven temperature – the hotter it is, the quicker it’s going to be.
Here’s a list of various reheating times for smoked turkey:
- 325 degrees F – reheating smoked turkey at this temperature will probably take around 2 and a half hours
- 275 degrees F – If you are working with an oven temperature of 275 degrees. Fahrenheit then reheating that turkey could take as long as 3 to 4 hours, depending on how big it is.
- Once you have reached the desired internal temperature, you can then take it out of the oven.
Just be sure to let it rest for about 30 minutes. Same with other meats, turkey needs this resting time to allow its juices to flow and distribute evenly.
So, unless you want to ruin all the hard work you put into reheating the smoked turkey, try not to cut into it before that.
Reheating Leftover Smoked Turkey
While we have discussed the best method for reheating the entire turkey, chances are you are also curious as to how you can do the same for those tasty leftovers.
Heating a single serving of turkey shouldn’t be so complicated. That said, we have prepared a handy guide on how you can do just that – using a microwave, no less.
Prepping Your Leftovers
So, before we get into the actual reheating process, we need to discuss how to best prepare your leftovers. This will make the following steps that much easier, so bear with us.
As a rule, you will need to disassemble the smoked turkey before you stick it in your freezer. This means chopping up the carcass and breaking down the whole bird from into distinct sections like leg quarters, wings, and breasts.
Once broken down, focus your efforts on the remaining meat on the carcass. Don’t let anything go to waste.
It should go without saying that the boneless meat is particularly precious as it can be used for all sorts of recipes down the road. So, make sure to slice or chop the remaining meat.
Reheating With Your Microwave
Remember, there are two vital ingredients for reheating leftovers – fat and moisture. In this case, you will need to drizzle your smoked turkey leftovers with stock or broth.
Butter is also an ideal choice, so be sure to check your pantry.
Be sure to cover the container before microwaving. Like with heating the whole bird, you want to reach the ideal internal temperature for your leftover, to ensure that it is safe to eat.
Once you are done reheating, you can now use your turkey to make all sorts of dishes. Be sure to get creative and you will never run out of uses for your leftover turkey.
There you have it, a brief guide to reheating one of the most popular and most versatile meats we have.
So, the next time you are in the mood for some smoked turkey, be sure to remember the steps we presented here.