Smoked Turkey

  • Author: A Cedar Spoon // Julia Jolliff
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 9 minutes
  • Total Time: 39 minutes
  • Category: Dinner, Smoker



  • 114 lb. Honeysuckle White Frozen Young Turkey

For the brine:

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika {or you can do smoked paprika for a smoky flavor}
  • 1 Tablespoons rosemary
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the dry rub:

  • 1 Tablespoon paprika {you can used smoked paprika for a smoky flavor}
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon oregano


Preparing the turkey:

  1. Start by thawing your turkey in the refrigerator if frozen for a few days. If the turkey is larger than 14 lbs. it may take up to 4-5 days.
  2. In a bowl that is larger than the turkey combine the brine ingredients: water, olive oil, salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, paprika, rosemary, lemon juice and lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. Next, prepare your turkey by removing the giblets and neck from the body cavity and the neck cavity of the turkey. Remove any fat from the edges of the skin of the turkey. Try to leave as much of the skin on the turkey as you can to protect the meat from drying out when you smoke it. Rinse the turkey in cold, running water {make sure to clean the body cavity and the outside surfaces of the turkey}.
  4. Separate the skin from the breast of the turkey and use your hands to make sure it comes loose, from the back to the front of the bird and then down the sides toward the legs which allows the brine to reach the breast meat.
  5. Once this is done place the turkey “head first” into the brine mixture. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator for 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
  6. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it with cold water, making sure to clean the whole bird including the outside. Let dry for 5 minutes and then pat dry.
  7. In a small bowl mix together the dry rub ingredients: paprika, garlic powder, salt, crushed pepper, rosemary and oregano. Using your hands rub it on the outside of the turkey.

Smoking the turkey:

  1. Let your smoker reach a temperature of 225 degrees F. Oil the grate of the smoker to make sure the turkey doesn’t stick. You will want to maintain a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees F throughout the entire time you are smoking the turkey. Turkeys take about 40 minutes per pound and you want the thick part of the thigh to reach 170 degrees and the breast 160 degrees F. Even after it is removed from the smoker it will continue to cook so remove the turkey when the breast is 150 degrees F and cover with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Slice the turkey and serve with lemon slices and fresh rosemary.


We use a wood smoker. For the wood chips we used hickory wood chips and soaked them before using them.

When making the dry rub you can use just salt or pepper, the dry rub I provided or you can create any type of spice mixture you like.


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