Smoked Turkey is best when Brined with a Spice Rub applied to the skin. Liquids are then poured into the body cavity. This moist recipe has amazing flavor!
Smoked Turkey is the perfect holiday meal! It’s a favored request at my house every couple of months. Also, it’s convenient and easy because Poultry Bone Broth Soup can be made with leftovers. The brined, spice rub combined with the body-filing recipe produces a moist, flavorful meal. Although there is little hands-on time, some preparatory planning is necessary in order to brine and smoke the turkey. If you don’t have a smoker, you can use this recipe and cook your turkey in the oven or a roasting pan with excellent results.**
I prefer to brine my bird while it defrosts. Brining is easily accomplished by placing a frozen bird in a large turkey roasting bag. Next, place it in a cooler and add the brine, closing up the top with a twist tie. Add cold water around the outside of the bag and let brine and defrost. The larger the bird, the longer the defrost time. I find that this method is similar to the refrigerator defrost times. “According to the USDA, when thawing your turkey in the refrigerator, you’ll need to allow 24 hours for every four to five pounds. Here’s who that works out: 4 to 12 pounds: 1-3 days; 12 to 16 pounds: 3-4 days; 16 to 20 pounds: 4-5 days; 20 to 24 pounds: 5-6 days. When you thaw your turkey by submerging it in cold water (changing the water every 30 minutes), allow about 30 minutes per pound (1). I used an RTIC Cooler, so I only added ice on the third day, although I checked the temperature daily to ensure it remained around 40 degrees F. This cooler “Keeps Ice for Up to 10 Days and is like a portable freezer”(3). I’ve found the manufacturer’s claims are correct. If needed, add ice to the water outside the bag maintain the proper temperature.
On smoking day, Fred starts the Big Green Egg Smoker while I prepare the bird for cooking. I drain the brine off, pat it dry with paper towel and rub olive oil on the outside. Then, I rub on the Spice mixture. When the smoker is ready, we place a large single-use roasting pan in the smoker, set the bird in the pan and then pour the body filling inside the turkey cavity. Loosely tent the bird with aluminum foil and smoke at 225 -250 degrees. It’s done when internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. in the thickest part of the thigh. Ensure doneness by checking breasts at their thickest section as well. Let the turkey rest after removing from the smoker until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and enjoy. I adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com.
How long does it take to smoke a whole, unstuffed turkey? “Calculate about 30 to 40 minutes per pound” (2). Baste the turkey with the pan liquids a few times during the smoking process to keep the meat moist. We cooked a homegrown turkey hen that weighed in at 30 lbs. dressed out. Yes, it took 18 hours to smoke! Fred added new soaked wood chips twice during smoking (No, we didn’t interrupt our sleep to baste the bird throughout the night. We’re not THAT committed!). We had a wonderful, memorable dinner with 6 freezer bags of leftover turkey for later meals. Be sure to save and freeze the bones to add to the soup pot for Poultry Bone Broth Soup.
This goes great with:
- Gluten Free Sandwich Bread
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Steamed Asparagus
- Grain Free Berry Crisp or Cheese-less Cheese Cake
Substitutions I made to increase this nutrient dense meal:
- Filtered water to remove impurities and heavy metals.
- Organic spices (purchase in bulk through Amazon for great prices)
- Zevia flavored cola because it has No sugar, Zero Calories, No Artificial Sweeteners, Clear in Color, Gluten Free, Non GMO Project Verified, No Caramel Color, Kosher & Vegan. Found
- Organic, local apples (no pesticides!)
Don’t forget to pin this Smoked Turkey Recipe to your favorite Pinterest board for later!
Smoked Turkey is the best when brined and then a Spice Rub is applied to the skin, while the liquids are poured into the body cavity. The flavor is amazing!
- 1 10 lb. turkey free range
- 1/2 gallon filtered water
- 1 cup sea salt
- 1 Tbsp dried rosemary crushed
- 1 Tbsp dried sage
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp dried marjoram or savory
- 1 1/2 gallon filtered ice water
- tap water for submerging bird
- 6 cloves garlic pressed
- 2 Tbsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil or organic butter
- 2 cans Zevia coke flavored
- 1 apple quartered
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp black pepper
In large stock pot add water, salt & spices. Bring to a boil stirring often to dissolve salt. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add the ice water and stir.
While the brine is cooling. Rinse and dry the turkey. Place into the roasting bag and then into the cooler. Pour the brine into the bag and close off with twist tie.
Add cold water into the cooler, yet outside the bag, to submerge the bird. This water temperature should be below 40 degree F. If needed, drain off tap water and add more ice.
Brine for enough time to defrost the meat. Drain off excess brine and pat meat dry. Throw out excess brine. Be sure to remove the paper off the giblets. Return neck and innards to body cavity.
Spice Rub and Body Filing
Combine garlic and seasoned salt and rub on outside of the turkey.
Place bird in disposable roasting pan, in the smoker and add the remaining Body Filling to the turkey cavity. Tent turkey with foil.
Smoke at 225 -250 degrees F. until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees when measured in thickest part of the thigh. Cook 30-40 minutes per pound of whole turkey. Baste every few hours with pan juices.
Let turkey rest until temperature in thigh reaches 165 degrees. Slice and serve.
Remember to save all the bones & extras for soup.
**Cooking in the Oven. Use an oven bag but the spiced rub bird in it. Pour in the Body filling and cook according to the directions on the box. USDA recommends a 325 degree F oven, unstuffed bird, 15 minutes per pound.
** Cooking in an electric Roasting Pan. Place the Spiced Rubbed bird in the bottom of the pan, add the Body Filling and cook. USDA recommends a 325 degree F oven, unstuffed bird, 15 minutes per pound.
Tools used (click on photo to learn more):
- RTIC Cooler
- Big Green Egg Smoker