Smoked Turkey

12/3/10 – Smoked Turkey

Every year we travel down to California to have Thanksgiving dinner with family.  This year I decided that after we got back, I wanted to do a turkey in the MAK.  I have never cooked a turkey before – let alone in the smoker.  I went well outside my comfort zone on this one to try a number of new things.

I brined the bird for 24 hours (recipe below).  I put all the ingredients into a pot and heated until everything was dissolved/blended.  I let it cool completely before putting the bird in the brine.  I added 1 gallon of crushed ice and the brine to a brining bag, and added the bird.  I placed these into a large ice chest with sufficient ice to keep it below 40 degrees for 24 hours.

After brining, I let the bird sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the skin dry out.  Everything I have heard is that if you skip this after brining a bird -you will end-up with chewy skin.

Put the turkey in a roasting pan with a rack, and poured the gravy into the bottom of the pan (see recipe below).  Rubbed the bird well both outside, and under the skin with the wet rub.  Covered the ends of the drumsticks and wings with foil.

Put the bird in the MAK at 325 degrees for about 3.5 hours.  After 1-hour, I removed the foil, and basted the bird with some more wet rub.

The gravy recipe (see recipe below) is more of a broth, and soaks into the meat very well.  I put a bit into a ziplock bag with the leftover breast meat, and the gravy was completely absorbed the next morning, making the leftover meat the juiciest I have ever had!  We also made some traditional gravy by adding 4 tablespoons of flour to some of the broth – and used it on the mashed potatoes.

Overall I was very pleased with the results of this cook.  There are a few things I will do differently in future attempts, mostly to make the process easier.

Word of warning – You will need a large dish with sides for the turkey.  If you try and carve this on a standard carving board, you will overflow it with the juices!!

Brine: An adaptation of a recipe I got at

  • 1 1/4 gallons water
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sugar in the raw
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 tablespoons chicken flavor “Better Than Bullion”
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped sage

Wet Rub: An adaptation of a recipe I got at

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped garlic

Gravy: An adaptation of a recipe I got at