Step by step tutorial for the best ever smoked turkey recipe: loaded with flavor, crispy golden skin and moist, perfectly seasoned light and dark meat.
Smoked Turkey Recipe
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Originally published in 2018, but has been republished for easy finding.
Well it’s been a few weeks since Thanksgiving and I’m still not sick of turkey. In fact, I just bought my third bird so I can smoke another because hot dang it is sooooo good!
You guys, I perfected the oven roasted turkey about four years ago, you can find that recipe here.
This year I decided to step out of my comfort “I can make a perfect turkey in the oven” box and wanted to try smoking one instead.
I am so glad I jumped from my comfort zone because my smoked turkey turned out INCREDIBLE.
Think moist, flavorful and subtly smokey turkey meat! Both the white meat and the dark meat.
Best Smoker Grill
Y’all I am biased and haven’t tried enough smokers to know for sure, since I’ve only had two. However I believe that the Traeger is hands down the best smoker ever of all time!
Why do I believe this?
- Because it is so user friendly! I got my Traeger right after my divorce was finalize. Before that point in my life I had never built anything. But my Traeger I built and used and,
- It has consistently put out amazing creation after amazing creation.
- The Design is incredible, the chamber holds it’s heat and smoke like a boss, it’s a cinch to clean…
Yeah, I love it.
I named my Traeger “Maximus” and I would marry it if it were a real life man. He’d be so smokin’ hot and great quality to boot! Haha!
Okay, enough talk, let’s make turkey!
Recipe for smoked turkey:
- 1 Turkey (12-18lbs, although you can go bigger, you may have to adjust ingredients accordingly)
- 1.5 heaping cup salt
- 1.5 gallons water
- 8 bay leaves
- 3/4 c brown sugar
- 1 TBS Cinnamon
- 4 lemons washed and quartered
- 2 Oranges washed and quartered
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 Tbs minced garlic
- Combine all ingredients in large pot and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes, or until salt and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
- 1/2 cube softened butter (4 TBS Butter)
- 1 c chopped parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- Combine all ingredients and mix well
- 1 red apple sliced
- 1 onion quartered
- 1tsp or 1 stick of cinnamon
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 6 sage leaves
- 1.5 c Gingerale
- Soak turkey in brine 1.5 hours per pound. Once bird has soaked for required time, remove bird from the brine and rinse well with cold water. Discard your brine. At this point you can either put bird in the refrigerator overnight, or cook immediately.
- Place your bird on the rack in your roasting pan. Pat dry with paper towels. At the rear end of the bird, slide your fingers into the space between the skin and the meat. Slowly pry the two apart starting at the rear and working your way up to the neck on the breast side of the bird. Stuff your herb butter into this pocket you have just created.
- With your smoker on "smoke" setting, place your bird in the smoker for 2 hours.
- Then remove turkey from the smoker and turn grill heat up to 350F degrees.
- Preheat your home oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pour one cup of water into the bottom of your roasting pan (this is to prevent the drippings from burning during the 500 degrees in the oven).
- Combine all aromatic ingredients into a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. This will steep your ingredients. Add the steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity.
- Once your bird has smoked, place it in the roasting pan then pour the aromatics into the cavity of the bird.
- Coat the skin liberally with canola oil. Salt the skin generously.
- Roast the turkey on one of the lowest racks of your oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
- Then cover the breast portion of your turkey with a foil shield and transfer the roasting pan to the 350F degree grill.
- Cook until the thickest part of the turkey breast reads at 164 degrees Fahrenheit. (a 14-16 pound turkey usually takes approx. 2-2.5 hours AFTER the oven- high roast)
- When you remove your turkey from grill, let rest in a warm area 20 minutes before carving.