Smoked turkey

  • Time 2 1/2 to 3 hours
  • Yield 10 to 12 servings


    The brine:
    1 ¼ cups salt
    1 ¼ cups sugar
    2 bay leaves
    1 medium onion, peeled and halved
    2 cloves
    1 10- to 12-pound turkey, washed, giblets removed

    1 10- to 12-pound turkey
    2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter


    Prepare the brine:
    Place salt, sugar and 1 quart hot water in a large deep pot and whisk until salt and sugar crystals dissolve. Whisk in 4 quarts cold water. Pin bay leaves to onion halves with cloves and add them to brine. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
    Add turkey, placing a large heavy pot or sealed zip-top bag filled with cold water on top to keep bird submerged. Place pot in refrigerator and marinate overnight.
    Proceed to smoke turkey.

    Set up an outdoor grill for indirect grilling, placing a large foil drip pan in center. (If using a smoker, light and set it up according to manufacturer's instructions and heat to 275 degrees. In a smoker, you will need to cook bird longer, 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.)
    Drain bird. Blot dry inside and out and truss if desired. Place in center of grill grate, over drip pan and between mounds of natural lump charcoal. Toss 1/2 cup of soaked wood chops on each mound of coals. Place lid on grill. Adjust vents to keep temperature between 325 and 350 degrees.
    Grill turkey until darkly browned and cooked through, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Baste turkey with melted butter after first hour and every hour thereafter. If skin starts to brown too much, loosely tent bird with foil. Use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness; turkey is ready when internal temperature of the thigh is 180 degrees. Replenish charcoal every hour, adding 8 to 10 lumps of charcoal to each mound of coals and leaving grill uncovered for a few minutes to allow charcoal to light. After 1 hour, add 1 1/2 cups of soaked wood chips.
    Transfer turkey to a platter, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Reserve any drippings in drip pan for gravy.
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