How to Make Smoked Turkey Gravy

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A smoked turkey gravy is the final ingredient in a Thanksgiving feast your guests will never forget.

What makes my smoked turkey gravy unique is the Asian-style homemade stock I use for the base. The drippings from the turkey splashing into the gravy and the subtle wood-fired smoke swirling over the gravy will redefine everything you thought you knew about gravy!

Smoked Turkey Gravy

Yields approximately 2–3 cups



  1. Warm the stock in a saucepan.
  2. Pour approximately 1 inch depth of stock into a pan (too much stock in the drip pan can slow down your cooking time). The pan should have 2–3" sides and be large enough to catch all of the drippings while the turkey is smoking. Do not use a copper pan, as it might react to the acids and salt in the stock and drippings. If you don’t have time to make stock, use a store-bought unsalted chicken stock or broth. You will sacrifice the exceptional flavor of a homemade stock, but the outcome will still be delicious.
  3. Crumble the bay leaves and add them to the pan. Set the pan into the smoker.
  4. The best setup is to use a sturdy pan, lay a wire rack across the top, and set the turkey on the wire rack. If you’re smoking the turkey on a smoker with multiple cooking grates, you can set the pan on a grate beneath the grate holding the turkey (make sure the grate holding the turkey is cleaned well before starting to prevent black grease from dripping into the pan). If neither of these is an option for you, set a V-rack in the pan and put the turkey in the V-rack. We don’t recommend this method because the turkey is much closer to the stock and the stock will be cooler than the air temperature in the smoker, which results in a slightly longer cook time. This affects the thighs more than the breasts, making it harder to cook both to perfection.
  5. In the meantime, keep the remaining chicken stock warmed in the saucepan. If the level of liquid in the drip pan drops below 50%, add more stock to maintain the original depth.
  6. When the turkey is within 10 degrees of its target internal temperature, carefully pour the drippings from the cavity of the turkey into the drip pan and remove the drip pan from the smoker.
  7. If you used a V-rack, transfer the turkey directly onto the cooking grate and keep smoking the turkey until it’s done.
  8. Strain the contents of the drip pan into a fat separator. Set the strained gravy into the freezer for 10 minutes to speed up the fat separation.
  9. Pour the gravy into a saucepan (without the separated fat) to warm it. If it’s too thin for your preference, bring it to a boil, stirring it briskly to keep it from burning. When it reaches the thickness you want, reduce the heat to low.
  10. Sample the gravy. It should have a rich and savory flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste, stirring it well. Be careful not to over-season it!
  11. Keep the gravy over low heat, stirring it occasionally, until ready to serve.

Should you thicken a turkey gravy?

I never thicken a gravy with flour or cornstarch. Thickening a smoked turkey gravy like this muddies the incredible flavor profile you’ve worked hard to create. Besides, a thin gravy will soak into the turkey meat a bit, but a thickened, starchy gravy just sits on top of the meat. If your gravy is too thin for your preference, you can boil it down as explained above.

Check out my step-by-step instructions for making a homemade Asian-style stock with a depth of flavor that will amaze you:

Still have questions? Visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA or call us at (717) 355-0779 for help with your outdoor cooking questions. We carry everything you need to cook outdoors, but more importantly, we have personal experience in smoking and grilling and are happy to help you overcome your cooking challenges free of charge.

Nicholas Breed Turkeys Available

Fossil Farms’ Nicholas Breed Turkeys are exceptionally juicy and tender, a delicious alternative to conventional turkeys raised on factory farms.

Why these turkeys are better:

  • Allowed to roam free for a happier and healthier life
  • Fed an all-vegetarian diet consisting of local corn, rye, oats, alfalfa, and soybean meal.
  • Raised by a network of 4th and 5th generation family farmers in Pennsylvania and humanely harvested in New Jersey.
  • 100% all-natural and free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids.

Notice: We stock Nicholas turkeys seasonally. For more info, email Matt at, call us at (717) 355-0779, or visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

About the author: Matt Miller is an employee at Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply and avid student of all things barbecue. He enjoys developing recipes, trying new seasonings, and helping customers with their smoking and grilling questions.

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