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Smoked Turkey

Smoked Turkey

This SMOKED TURKEY makes the best holiday main course without taking up any oven space. It's wet brined in a flavorful mixture of spices and seasonings and then slow-smoked to juicy perfection. Get ready to impress everyone at the table!
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword how to smoke turkey, smoked turkey
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Brining Time 16 hours
Total Time 20 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 - 12 people
Calories 825kcal
Author Imma


  • 12-17 pounds whole turkey
  • 1 gallon water  
  • 1 gallon apple cider (replace with water) 
  • ¾ cup brown sugar  
  • 1 cup kosher salt  
  • 7-8 smashed garlic
  • 4 sprigs thyme  
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sage leaves 
  • 4 bay leaves 
  • 2 tablespoons cracked peppercorns 
  • 2 large oranges , sliced  
  • 2 lemons , sliced 
  • 1 onion , sliced (optional) 
  • 1 apple , chopped (optional)
  • seasoning for turkey (or Creole Seasoning)   
  • 1-2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (optional) 


How to Brine Turkey

  • Discard any wrappings from the turkey and remove the giblets, place it in a desired brining pot.
  • Heat up about 4 cups of water in the microwave or stovetop until warmed. (The idea is to heat it up so it can dissolve the sugar and salt.) Remove and pour in the salt and sugar. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. 
  • Let the salt and sugar brine cool, then add the remaining water and apple cider (or replace it with water). Water should not be warm - you want it to be completely cold.
  • Pour over the turkey in the pot. Then add garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and bay leaves, peppercorns, orange and lemon slices. 
  • Cover the pot or container with a lid. Place in a prepared place in the fridge for the turkey to brine for 12 or up to 24 hours. 
  • Rule of thumb: Let the turkey sit for an hour per pound.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and dry all over with paper towels. Brush with oil and proceed with the desired seasoning.
  • Stuff the turkey with onions, apple, and herbs (optional). Tie the legs of the turkey together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape. Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place. This will help to stabilize the turkey when carving.
  • For a crispier turkey: Let it air dry in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  
  • Remove the turkey.Then brush with oil or melted butter . Mix desired seasonings and rub the entire outside and inside of the turkey to fully coat them with seasoning. (I used creole seasoning )

How to Smoke Turkey

  • Heat the smoker to 250- 275 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the temperature, the faster the turkey would cook. Place the turkey in the smoker and brush every 1-2 hours.
  • Smoke until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees F. Rotate turkey halfway through for even browning. 
  • This turkey was 16 pounds and took about 4-5 hours to get to that temperature. 
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker and allow it to sit, covered with foil, for 10 minutes before carving.


  1. Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.


Serving: 1.5lb per person | Calories: 825kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 85g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 278mg | Sodium: 11804mg | Potassium: 1433mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 58g | Vitamin A: 552IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 5mg