On Line Cookbook

Smoked Turkey

Recipe Information
John Driscoll


  • 1 15 lb (6.8 kg) (or so) thawed whole turkey
  • 2 cups (475 ml) non-iodized salt
  • 6 cups (1425 ml) brown sugar
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) whole pepper corns
  • 4 cups (950 ml) hardwood or fruitwood chips for smoking
  • Make Brine:
  • Mix salt, brown sugar and spices with 6 quarts (5675 ml) water. (Double, if necessary, to cover)
  • Rinse whole turkey after removing giblets and cutting away excess fat.
  • Place turkey in clean plastic or glass continer with sufficient size to fill with brine that covers entire turkey.
  • Pour brine over turkey to cover.
  • Turkey should remain in brine for 12 to 20 hours (keep refigerated).
  • In preparation for cooking, remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly to remove surface saltiness.
  • Pat dry with paper towels then air dry for about 30 minutes to form shiny surface that's dry to the touch.
  • Place on heavy duty aluminum foil or cooking pan suitable for outdoor grill.
  • Create loose tent of aluminum foil to cover.
  • Soak 4 cups (950 ml) wood chips (hickory, mesquite or fruit wood) in water.
  • Place about a cup of chips in small pan or on aluminum foil on top of charcoal or gas grill grate over low flame.
  • Cook for approximately 30 minutes per pound at 180 degrees (80 C.) to 200 degrees (90 C.).
  • Use meat thermometer placed in thigh until 170 degrees (80 C.) is reached, test to ensure doneness.
  • Add additional wood chips as needed to smoke thoroughly.
  • Note:
  • I use my two burner gas grill to do this recipe. Usually one burner on low will maintain temperature. Place chips over that burner. Charcoal grills can also be used successfully. The aluminum foil tent helps retain mositure. It's a family tradition to prepare Thanksgiving turkey with this technique and they've always been teriffic. I have begun using a meat thermometer to avoid undercooking. Enjoy!