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my favorite thanksgiving turkey (smoked)

(2 ratings)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
georgi johnson
springfield, IL

This is the only way I do turkey for Thanksgiving. I've been using this recipe for at least 10 years now. It is time-consuming but so worth it.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

If you've never smoked a turkey this is a great step-by-step recipe that will help make the process easier. Extremely juicy, this smoked turkey is filled with rich flavor. It has a wonderful brine that tenderizes and marinates the meat. Apples and veggies stuffed in the cavity help to enhance the flavor of the turkey meat. Then, there's a buttery herb baste that helps to create a flavorful crust. This smoked turkey will be a beautiful centerpiece for your holiday meal.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(2 ratings)
yield serving(s)
cook time 6 Hr
method Smoke

Ingredients For my favorite thanksgiving turkey (smoked)

  • turkey
  • 4 gal
  • 3 c
    Kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp
    fresh garlic (rough chopped)
  • 6 Tbsp
    black pepper (fresh ground)
  • 1/2 c
    Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 c
    brown sugar
  • 1 lg
  • 1/2 c
  • 1 Tbsp
    lemon juice
  • 1 tsp
    poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp
  • onion & garlic
  • apple & celery
  • wood for smoking

How To Make my favorite thanksgiving turkey (smoked)

Test Kitchen Tips
If your smoker uses a water pan, fill that with water after step 11. Check the water level when basting and add water when it starts to evaporate.
  • Making the turkey brine.
    For the brine, combine all ingredients stir until all is dissolved. Might have to heat, if so cool to room temperature.
  • Brine poured into a large disposable cooler.
    Pour brine into a large container.
  • Turkey placed into the brine.
    Remove insides from turkey, rinse, and place in brine. Store in a cool place. Depending on outside temps I have stored it outside, a cooler with ice also works if you can't make room in the fridge.
  • Rinsing the brined turkey.
    Brine for at least 24 hours. Remove turkey from brine, and rinse very well.
  • Drying the brined turkey.
    Pat dry inside and out, leaving no moisture.
  • Starting the smoker.
    Start grill or smoker, you want it medium to hot.
  • Soaking the wood chips.
    Soak wood chunks or chips.
  • Stuffing turkey cavity with chopped onion, garlic, celery, and apple.
    Rough chop the onion, garlic, celery, and apple. Fill the neck and cavity with the veggies.
  • Butter, lemon, and seasonings combined to baste turkey.
    Make the baste: In a small saucepan melt butter and add the remaining ingredients. Stir till well mixed.
  • Basting turkey with butter mixture.
    Brush over the outside of the turkey. You might have to make a second batch of the baste.
  • Soaked wood chips added to smoker.
    Add wood to the smoker. I use varying mixes of hickory, pecan, cherry, apple, and oak woods.
  • Turkey placed in smoker on a rack covered in non-stick spray.
    Spray the rack with cooking spray to prevent the turkey from sticking. Place turkey on grill/smoker away from the coals.
  • Basting the turkey while in the smoker.
    Baste several times with the baste about every 30-60 minutes. Keep wood on the coals. If turkey starts to get to dark place aluminum foil over it.
  • Cooked turkey in the smoker.
    Smoke time depends on the type of smoker and size of the turkey, anywhere from 4-8 hours. Check temp remove from grill at 165 degrees. Remove veggies from inside and discard. let sit for 10 minutes. Carve and enjoy.