Smoked Turkey Recipe

This Smoked Turkey Recipe features a spicy brine marinade that not only flavors the bird, but keeps it moist and tender while smoking. Maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness to the bold, deep smoke flavor.

smoked turkey cooking inside a smoker


  • 1 (12 lb) whole turkey, thawed
  • 1 qt hot water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 4 qt cold water
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 4 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cloves, whole
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted


Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey.

Rinse the turkey in cold water, then pat dry inside and out.

Whisk the salt into the hot water in a large soup pot. Stir until dissolved.

Once salt is completely dissolved, whisk in cold water and syrup.

Add onion, garlic cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon zest and cloves.

Place the pot in the refrigerator until the temperature reaches 40F degrees.

Fill a large plastic freezer bag with ice.

Place the turkey in the chilled brine solution and lay the ice bag on top to keep it submerged in the brine.

Marinate overnight.

Following the directions of your smoker, set the temperature to 275F degrees.

Remove the turkey from the marinade, pat dry and discard the marinade.

Baste the turkey with the melted butter.

Smoke the turkey 3 1/2 hours or until the thigh temperature is 180F degrees.

Allow turkey to rest for 45 minutes before carving.

Yield: 15 servings


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