Smoked turkey

Smoked turkey

You'll need to start early, but brining and smoking your holiday turkey ensures a moist, tender, and flavorful bird at the center of your buffet. If you've never smoked a turkey before, try this! You'll never want to cook turkey any other way.

Smoked turkey

You'll need to start early, but brining and smoking your holiday turkey ensures a moist, tender, and flavorful bird at the center of your buffet. If you've never smoked a turkey before, try this! You'll never want to cook turkey any other way.
USMetric
8 servingservings

Ingredients

Turkey
  • 10 lbs 4.5 kg whole whole turkey
  • 5 5 stems fresh rosemary, about 3" long (8cm)
  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp 3 tbsp olive oil
Brine
  • 8 cups 1.9 liters water
  • ¾ cup 180 ml salt
  • ½ cup 120 ml Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup 120 ml unsweetened apple juice (optional)

Instructions

Instructions are for 8 servings. Please modify as needed.

  1. To brine the turkey, mix the water and the salt in a pot and place on low heat. Stir the mixture until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the Italian seasoning and apple juice, if using, to the mixture.
  2. Place the turkey in a large stockpot or roasting pan and completely cover the turkey with the saltwater mixture, adding additional water if necessary. Refrigerate for 16 to 24 hours. If you do not have sufficient refrigerator space, you may place the stockpot containing the turkey and saltwater mixture in a cooler, surrounding the stockpot with ice, keeping the turkey below 40°F (5°C) for the duration of the brining process.
  3. Remove the turkey from the brine water and pat dry or allow to air dry uncovered in the refrigerator.
  4. Create a rub for the turkey by mixing the Italian seasoning, salt, cumin, pepper, and onion powder into a bowl. Set aside.
  5. Gently separate the skin of the turkey from the meat by sliding your fingers between the skin and the breast, being careful not to tear the skin. Evenly distribute the rosemary stems between the skin and the breast meat.
  6. Coat the outside of the turkey with olive oil. Then sprinkle the seasoning rub evenly over the turkey.
  7. Prepare the smoker by bringing the temperature to 325°F (175°C). Add wood chips to the smoker, preferably applewood, but other fruit woods or hickory can be used. Place the turkey on the grate breast side down and position a pan under the grate to catch drippings. Smoke at 325°F (175°C) for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F (74°C).
  8. Once the turkey is thoroughly cooked, wrap it in foil, tenting it slightly at the top. Allow the turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Oven instructions

Oven directions: Place the turkey breast side down on a roasting rack nested in a roasting pan. Bake at 325°F (175°C) for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F (74°C)

Tips!

Placing the turkey breast side down allows the juices to run into the breast while it cooks. To brown or crisp the skin even more when using the oven, you can flip the turkey breast over and briefly use the broiler setting to brown and crisp the skin.

The skin will be crispier if you make certain the turkey does not rest in its dripping as it cooks, but be sure to save the drippings if you wish to make gravy. You can also drizzle the drippings over the turkey after it is served.

You can skip the brining process if you like, but brining ensures a moist and tender turkey breast.

The smoky flavor makes leftovers sublime! Use them to make a delicious soup or substitute leftover turkey for chicken in our delicious chicken pot pie.

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