Tender and Juicy Brined and Smoked Turkey

Rating: 5.00
(1)
By Dave
November 25, 2021
Yum

It’s easy to make a tender and juicy brined and smoked turkey. It all begins with a brine that really helps the turkey stay moist. Add a little pecan smoke and watch the temperature closely and you will be rewarded with a wonderful roasted turkey that everyone will love.

This recipe incorporates two special techniques for making a very tender and juicy smoked turkey that is full of flavor. The first technique is brining. Why is brining important? Because it creates a very juicy turkey. I always brine my turkeys even when cooking in a conventional oven. It’s not hard and it makes a huge difference. No special tools are required. All you need is a big clean bucket and a lot of ice.

The second technique is cooking the turkey in a smoker. In this case, it was a Kamado Joe setup for indirect heat over lump charcoal. I used a little bit of pecan wood for color. More on that later.

Smoked Turkey
Smoked Turkey

How to Brine a Turkey

If the turkey is frozen, place it in the refrigerator three days prior to cooking to allow it to thaw. You cannot brine a frozen turkey. Mix all of brine ingredients, except for the ice water, in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Cook for two minutes then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. When cool, transfer the solution to a large stock pot or brand new and clean five gallon bucket. Add the ice water and stir.

Making the Brine
Making the Brine

Remove the turkey from its packaging and pat it dry. Also remove the neck, gizzard and whatever else they stuff in that little bag. We won’t be using any of that for this turkey. Place the turkey in the stock pot with the brine, neck down. Make sure that the brine covers the turkey. Add more water if needed.

Turkey Going into the Brine
Turkey Going into the Brine

Cover the turkey with additional ice and store it in a cool place for 6 – 8 hours, preferably the refrigerator if you have room.

Turkey in Iced Brine Bath
Turkey in Iced Brine Bath

Choosing the Smoke

For this smoked turkey, I choose to use my Kamado Joe rather than my offset smoker. Why? Well the offset smoker burns kiln dried post oak and produces a lot of smoke. That is ok for a brisket or pork shoulder, but not a turkey. It’s too much smoke. Instead, I cooked this turkey on a Kamado Joe setup for indirect heat. I used lump charcoal with about a cup of pecan chips that I soaked for 20 minutes. The chips were spread evenly of the coals, even the parts that were not hot, to maximize the smoke. Pecan is great for turkeys, chicken, game hens and even duck. It provides a rich bronze color that is much more pronounced that any other wood. It is also a mild smoke so it does not overpower the turkey.

Setup the smoker for 325 degrees F, indirect heat. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it off and pat it dry. Discard the brine. Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Rub oil over the skin and place the onion, apple and spices in the cavity and around the turkey. Add water to the pan.

Turkey is Ready to Smoke
Turkey is Ready to Smoke

Insert a temperature probe (for the Fireboard or other device) into the thickest part of the breast. Cook for 12 minutes per pound until the turkey reaches 160°F. Loosely tent with foil if the turkey browns too quickly.

Smoked Turkey is Ready to Carve
Smoked Turkey is Ready to Carve

Resting the Bird

The final step is to rest the turkey after removing it from the smoker for 15 minutes. If the turkey has not rested, the first cut will release all of the juice and you will be left with a beautiful but dry turkey. Let is sit for 15 minutes and all of those juices will be reabsorbed. Then each slice will be nice and juicy.

Smoked Turkey
Smoked Turkey

Side Dishes That Go Great with Turkey

Watch How to Brine a Smoke a Turkey on YouTube

Smoked Turkey

Tender and Juicy Brined and Smoked Turkey

5 from 1 vote
It's easy to make a tender and juicy brined and smoked turkey. It all begins with a brine that really helps the turkey stay moist. Add a little pecan smoke and watch the temperature closely and you will be rewarded with a wonderful roasted turkey that everyone will love.
Servings 8 servings
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 11 hrs

Equipment

  • Smoker
  • Large stock pot

Ingredients
  

Brine

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 tbs peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 qts vegetable stock
  • 6 qts water iced

Turkey

  • 1 16 lb turkey discard neck and organs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 apple sliced
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 cups water

Instructions
 

  • If the turkey is frozen, place it in the refrigerator three days prior to cooking to thaw. Mix all brine ingredients, except for the ice water, in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat and allow to cool. When cool, transfer the solution to a large stock pot or brand new and clean five gallon bucket. Add the ice water and stir.
    Making the Brine
  • Remove the turkey from its packaging and pat dry. Place the turkey in the stock pot with the brine neck down. Make sure that the brine covers the turkey. Add more water if needed. Cover the turkey with additional ice and store in a cool place for 6 – 8 hours (preferably the refrigerator).
    Turkey Going into the Brine
  • Setup the smoker for 325 degrees F, indirect heat. Remove the turkey from the brine. Rinse and pat dry. Discard the brine. Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Rub oil over the skin and place the onion, apple and spices in the cavity and around the turkey. Add water to the pan.
    Turkey is Ready to Smoke
  • Insert a temperature probe (for the Fireboard or other device) into the thickest part of the breast. Cook for 12 minutes per pound until the turkey reaches 160°F. Loosely tent with foil if the turkey browns too quickly.
    Smoked Turkey is Ready to Carve
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker and let it rest for 15 minutes. Carve and serve.
    Smoked Turkey

Video

Notes

PAID AFFILIATE LINKS
 
BBQ Tools & Supplies
 
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 8ozCalories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 390mgPotassium: 91mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 78IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg
Calories: 92kcal
Cost: $24
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brined turkey, smoked turkey, turkey

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