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You CAN cook a whole turkey on a Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill if you follow one simple step. And it cooks in less than 2 hours.

Smoked turkey on a platter with fresh sage and cranberries.

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Can you smoke a whole turkey on a Ninja Woodfire Grill

Yes! The Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL Grill is large enough to smoke a turkey that’s 12-pounds or less, and it only takes about 90 minutes.

When smoking a turkey on a Ninja Grill, you have to consider two things, the overall size of the grill grate and the height in the grill when the lid is closed.

In its natural state, a 12-pound turkey is about 7 inches tall when laying flat. The inside of the Ninja XL however is only about 5 1/2 inches tall.

The best way to resolve this is to remove the turkey’s backbone. Then, press down on the breast to help flatten it.

Taking out the backbone is usually done when you make a spatchcock turkey. With that approach, you keep the cavity open and lay the turkey completely flat.

The challenge with that method is that the grill grate on the Ninja isn’t large enough to accomodate a fully flattened 12-pound turkey.

So instead, keep the turkey in its original shape by tying the legs together. Just smush the breast down, so it’s shorter.

If you have the original Ninja Woodfire Grill, consider cooking a smaller turkey breast or whole chicken. For non-Ninja grills, check out my other smoked turkey recipes:


Whole fresh turkey, mustard, turkey rub and butter.
  • Turkey: Because of the size of the Ninja Grill, I recommend a turkey that is 12 pounds or smaller. If you buy a frozen turkey, be sure your turkey is fully thawed.
  • Butter: You’ll need one stick of butter; salted or unsalted butter is fine. It should be softened.
  • Yellow Mustard: The mustard is used as a binder to help the rub stick.
  • Turkey Rub: I make this rub in large batches around the holiday season. You can also use a simple blend of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dried herbs.
Substitutions: Mustard creates a darker bark. If you want a more golden skin, use use olive oil as a binder. 

See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.

How to smoke turkey on the Ninja Woodfire Grill

  1. STEP ONE: Remove the turkey from the packaging. Discard the bag of organs and turkey neck. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
PRO TIP: For added moisture, brine the turkey overnight or use an injection.
  1. STEP TWO: Flip the turkey breast-side-down. Use a pair of poultry shears to cut along both sides of the backbone. Separate it from the bird and set aside.
PRO TIP: Save the turkey innards and backbone to create homemade turkey broth. Just simmer them in a pot of water with chopped onion, carrots, celery and fresh herbs. 
  1. STEP THREE: Flip the turkey breast side up. Tuck the wings under the body. Press down on the breast bone with the palm of your hand to flatten the bird.
Palm of hand pressing down on breast bone of turkey.
  1. STEP FOUR: Run your hand between the breast meat and skin to separate. Smear butter under the skin.
  1. STEP FIVE: Rub the turkey all over with mustard or oil and sprinkle with turkey rub. Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine.
Seasoned fresh turkey.
  1. STEP SIX: Add wood pellets to the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL Grill. Set the function to smoker, the temperature to 350F degrees and the cooking time to 2 hours.
  1. STEP SEVEN: Place the seasoned turkey on the grill. Slowly close the lid to make sure you flattened the breasts enough for the lid to close. Also, make sure the legs and wings are inside the grill grate.
Seasoned whole turkey on Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Grill.
  1. STEP EIGHT: Smoke the turkey until the internal temperature of the meat reaches at least 165F degrees. This will take about 90 minutes, depending on the size turkey.
Smoked turkey on Ninja Woodfire ProConnect XL Grill.
PRO TIP: Use the grill's built-in thermometer probe, or test the temperature with a digital instant-read thermometer. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the breast.

How to serve smoked turkey

Transfer the smoked turkey to a platter and let it rest for 15-30 minutes.

Then, slice tableside by removing the turkey legs and wings. Then, carve the breasts from the bones and cut into slices.

Sliced turkey breast laid back on smoked turkey.


Leftover turkey should be stored in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for 3-5 days or frozen for up to six months.

GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips

  • Remove the backbone to make the turkey flatter
  • Use room temperature butter under the skin to add moisture
  • Apply mustard as a binder to help the rub stick

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to smoke a turkey on a Ninja Grill?

When you Ninja Woodfire Grill is set to 350F degrees on the smoker setting, it will take about 90 minutes for a 12-pound turkey to reach an internal temperature of 165F degrees. Smaller turkeys will take less time. Use a meat thermometer for accuracy.

Can I use the Ninja Woodfire Grill without smoke flavor?

Yes. You can make this turkey recipe without adding woodfire flavor. Just leave the pellets out. You can still use the smoker function or set the function to roast. It’s important that you choose a setting that uses indirect heat.

Don’t select the grill function, because that will create direct high heat on the grill grate.

How long should a turkey rest after smoking it?

When cooking a 12-pound turkey, let it rest for 15-30 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to settle back into the meat.

What to Serve with Smoked Turkey

Here is a collection of recipes to help you round out your complete Thanksgiving dinner.

Newest Recipes

What to do with leftover turkey meat

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5 from 4 votes

Smoked Turkey on a Ninja Grill

You CAN cook a whole turkey on a Ninja Woodfire Outdoor Grill if you follow one simple step. And it cooks in less than 2 hours.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 12 lb whole turkey, thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 3 tbsp turkey rub


  • Dry: Remove the turkey from the packaging. Remove the organs and neck. Pat the turkey dry.
  • Remove Backbone: Flip the turkey so the breast side is down. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone and discard. Flip the turkey back over and press it down with the palm of your hand. 
  • Butter: Run your hand under the skin along the breast meat to loosen the skin. Spread softened butter under the skin. 
  • Season: Rub yellow mustard on the turkey. This will act as a binder. Sprinkle turkey rub all over on top of the mustard. Tie the legs together.
  • Program Grill: Set the Ninja Woodfire Pro Connect XL Grill to the smoker function. Set the temperature to 350F degrees and the time to 2 hours. Add pellets if you want woodfire flavor. (No need to preheat the grill)
  • Smoke: Add the turkey breast side up. Smoke to an internal temperature of 165F degrees. A 12-pound bird takes about 90 minutes.
  • Rest: Remove the turkey from the grill. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Then, slice and serve. 


For added moisture, consider brining the turkey overnight. 
The Ninja XL clearance space is about 5 1/2 inches, so your turkey needs to be flat enough on the grill, so it doesn’t touch or block the convection fan. That’s why removing the backbone is an important step. 


Calories: 790kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 105gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 378mgSodium: 674mgPotassium: 1101mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.4gVitamin A: 667IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to rate it, leave a comment and save it so you can make it again. Show off your awesome results on social by tagging @girlscangrill

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christie vanover standing against wood wall.

Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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