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You've never tasted turkey like this - probably the best turkey you'll ever make. The smokey, spiciness take turkey to a whole new level.

Brined and Smoked Turkey

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  • Ready in: 8-24 hours to brine + 3-4 hours of cook time
  • Serves: 8
  • Complexity: easy
  • Origin: Native American
Brined and Smoked Turkey


  • 1 1⁄4 cups sugar 1 gallon water 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper 2 heads of garlic broken into cloves and peeled
  • 1 1⁄4 cups kosher or sea salt (use only half this amount if you are on a salt-reduced diet)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 heads of garlic broken into cloves and peeled
  • 2 lemons sliced into rounds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons red chili powder
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 turkey breast, split - gizards removed, washed with cold water and patted dry
  • Wood chips for smoking, mesquite or any fruitwood


  1. Mix all ingredients, except turkey and wood chips, in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add turkey.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 8 hours) in the refrigerator, turning turkey a couple of times to ensure all areas have been submerged. Remove bird from marinade and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare smoker on the lowest temperature possible.

If you are using a gas barbecue: Turn it on low and place wet wood chips in the bottom. When the smoke starts, turn the barbecue to very low.

  1. Place turkey on grill and cover for 30 minutes. You may have to turn the barbecue up several times during the process to create more smoke.

If you are using a kettle-style barbecue that isn’t equipped with gas: Don’t get it very hot; only use 2 cups of charcoal.

  1. Once the charcoal heats and has had a chance to burn down a little, put wet wood chips in aluminum foil (or foil pie tin) on top of coals.
  2. You may need to remove some of the charcoal with a shovel, if the barbecue gets hot.
  3. What you are trying to do is create smoke, without making the barbecue hot.
  4. Cover and smoke for 30 minutes.

After using either of the above smoking methods

  1. continue to cook Turkey breast over the hot coals or gas flame (about 350 degrees) 3-4 hours or until cooked completely.
  2. Allow turkey to rest 15 minutes before carving.


To get a head start on your Thanksgiving feast, you can marinate the turkey in the refrigerator two days before Thanksgiving, then smoke it the next day and refrigerate, then roast it in the oven on Thanksgiving Day. This style of turkey is best if it is cooked unstuffed.

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