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smoked turkey 1

Smoked Turkey

Guys, over the years we’ve made a lot of turkeys. We’ve roasted turkeys, grilled turkeys, fried turkeys, soaked turkeys in bourbon, and even wrapped them in bacon. We’ve made and eaten a turkey at Fauxgiving, our annual cook-and-serve-for-the-blog fest every year since we started this site (so… 7 years?). That doesn’t even mention the turkeys we’ve made on our own time. That’s all to say, that I think I have a new favorite way to prepare my Thanksgiving turkey, and it’s compliments of our smoker.


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smoked turkey 4


If I had to choose a best investment of the 20teens it would definitely be our smoker. We’ve smoked everything from pork shoulders to oysters, and have loved every single thing that’s come out of it. The turkey was no exception. It was the most beautiful dark brown color on the outside and, thanks to the brine, was juicy and delicious on the inside. The smoke flavor shone through really nicely, and it was a fantastic compliment to everything else on the table (which is turkey’s main job, right? To support the cheesy potatoes?). A testament to its overall quality? By the end of the night it was picked clean. There was not a shred of meat left on that bird. That’s the kind of feedback I’m looking for!


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smoked turkey 2


Smoked Turkey

12-14lb fresh or thawed turkey

2 lemons

Head of garlic


for the brine:

3/4 cup kosher salt

1 lemon

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp peppercorn

4 cloves garlic



for the baste:

1 cup olive oil

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp sea salt


Thoroughly rinse your turkey and place in a large pot or container. Cover with water. Mix in salt, halved lemon, bay leaf, peppercorns, and garlic. Cover and let sit overnight, or up to 2 days in a chilled environment.


Smoking turkey takes approximately 20 minutes per pound, so for a 14lb bird make sure you schedule yourself about 5 hours of smoking time, plus an hour for the meat to rest. Load your smoker up with the wood of your choice (we went with Jack Daniels barrels chips because the hardware store had them and that seemed fun), and hit your bird with a nice coat of baste. Quarter the lemon and stuff the cavity with the lemon and garlic heads (whole and peeled).


Heat your smoker to 200 degrees and get rolling! Baste your turkey once or twice every hour, and after 3.5 hours start checking the temperature when you baste. Your optimal temperature for poultry is 165F in the breast, so once you hit that you want to pull the bird out of the smoker and allow it to rest. Once its rested for an hour and the juices have had the opportunity to redistribute, slice and enjoy!


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  • Marye

    18.11.2015 at 04:10 Reply

    This looks so delicious! I would love a smoker. It is definitely on my wishlist!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    18.11.2015 at 04:15 Reply

    I would go crazy with a smoker! So great! The flavors are just outstanding!

  • Christie

    18.11.2015 at 04:53 Reply

    We love to smoke anything from seafood to cheese. We’ve done a turkey breast but not a whole one. Yours looks magnificent.

  • Ali @ Home & Plate

    18.11.2015 at 06:12 Reply

    There is something uniquely delicious about a smoked turkey…had it once for Thanksgiving and it was the most moist bird I have ever had with perfect smoky flavor. Your recipe looks fantastic and lucky you that you have a smoker.

  • Kaitie Lawlor

    19.11.2015 at 05:21 Reply

    wow this looks amazing! The flavours are making my mouth water!

  • Andy

    20.11.2015 at 15:05 Reply

    If I were to use a conventional gas BBQ with wood chips…..would that reproduce what you are doing here?

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