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How to perfectly smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving
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How To Smoke A Turkey

How to Smoke a Turkey: The perfect way to create juicy, flavorful, mouthwatering turkey for Thanksgiving, or any other time of year! This is hands down the best turkey I have ever had.
Prep Time1 d 30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time1 d 3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Thanksgiving Turkey!
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to smoke a turkey, Smoked Turkey, turkey
Servings: 26
Calories: 345kcal
Author: Rachael


  • 14-20 lb Turkey
  • Turkey bag
  • Ice
  • Cooler


  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 1/2 gallons water
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1/2 c molasses -or- 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 6 lemons washed and quartered
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 Tbs minced garlic

Herb Butter

  • 1 cup butter yes, so much butter
  • 1/3 cup basil chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup chives chopped fine
  • 1 Tbs red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup parsley chopped fine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

For Roasting

  • 3 cups chicken stock OR Miso Ginger Broth Trader Joe's



  • Combine all brine ingredients in large pot and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes.
  • Turn off, and let cool completely.

Herb Butter

  • Bring butter to room temp, add in the finely chopped herbs, and mix it all together.


  • Make brine and herb butter.
  • Completely thaw turkey, remove giblets, neck, etc. and trim the excess fat around the neck.
  • Put turkey in a turkey bag, and place it inside of a cooler, fill bag with cooled brine, and tie off so it does not leak.
  • Put ice around the turkey in the cooler to keep it cold and safe while brining.
  • Brine 24 hours.
  • After 24 hours, pour brine off turkey, and rinse the turkey completely.
  • Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
  • Use your fingers to gently life the skin away from the meat (start at tail and neck area)
  • Divide butter mixture in half, lift skin, and rub half all over the turkey between the meat and the skin.
  • Take other half of butter mixture and rub all over the exterior of the turkey. If it won't stick, just keep trying, the turkey may be too cold.
  • Place turkey in a roasting pan.
  • Pour 3 cups of chicken stock or ginger miso broth into bottom of the pan. More if the turkey is really large
  • Turn smoker on to "smoke" with the lid open until fire starts, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Once that has passed, turn temperature to 325 degrees F.
  • Close the lid and let smoker preheat for 10-15 minutes.
  • Place roasting pan directly on smoker grate, and insert meat thermometer probe into the thigh, not touching bone.
  • Close lid, and roast for approximately 3 hours(11-13 minutes a pound on average, depending on the consistency of your heat), until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  • A few hours in, check liquid levels, and if needed, add a little more chicken stock or ginger miso broth to the roasting pan.
  • Once internal temp reaches 165 degrees, remove roasting pan and turkey from smoker, and remove turkey from pan.
  • Let sit on tray or cutting board for 20-30 minutes, to rest. This lets some of the juices reabsorb so your turkey stays nice and moist. Do not cover.
  • Then carve and enjoy!


Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 6934mg | Potassium: 563mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Vitamin C: 14.9mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2.2mg