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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. You'll love that added smokiness that you don't get from your regular roast turkey.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword how to smoke turkey, smoked turkey, thanksgiving, 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

  • Clean the turkey - Discard any wrappings from the turkey and remove the giblets.
  • Place the turkey in a pot - place it in a desired brining pot.
  • Heat up the liquid - 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.) 
  • Dissolve the dry ingredients - Remove and pour in the salt and sugar. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve.
  • Let it cool - 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.
  • Add the ingredients - Pour over the turkey in the pot. Then add garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and bay leaves, peppercorns, orange and lemon slices
  • Cover and Brine - 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. 
  • Dry the turkey - Remove the turkey from the brine and dry all over with paper towels.
  • Stuff the bird -  Brush with oil. Stuff the turkey with onions, apple, and herbs (optional).
  • Tie it up - 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.

How to Smoke Turkey

  • Pre-heat – Pre-smoke the smoker to 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the temperature, the faster the turkey would cook.
  • Start Smoking - 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 - Rotate the turkey halfway through for even browning. This turkey was 16pounds and took about 4-5 hours to get to that temperature. 
  • Remove, Rest and, Serve - Remove the turkey from the smoker and allow it to sit, covered with foil, for 10 minutes before carving.


  1. Rule of thumb: Let the turkey sit in the brine for about an hour per pound.
  2. For a crispier turkey: Let it air dry in the fridge for up to 24 hours. 
  3. 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