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a whole smoked and brined turkey on a white plate with whole cranberries and surrounded by other food dishes
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4.97 from 30 votes

Applewood Smoked Turkey

This recipe for how to make a brined & smoked turkey will give you the juiciest, most succulent smoked turkey ever!  Brining helps it stay extra moist, while applewood smoke creates the most flavorful turkey ever! Make your brined & smoked turkey using an electric smoker which makes it super easy, which means more time to relax or work on the rest of Thanksgiving dinner!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 930kcal
Author: Amy Nash


Smoked Turkey Brine

  • 1 ½ cups coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 Tablespoons allspice berries
  • 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1-2 oranges rind peeled off in ribbons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 1 bag ice
  • 1 clean 5-gallon bucket

Turkey Ingredients

  • 1 12-15 lb. fresh young turkey or a frozen one, defrosted in the fridge for 3 days
  • cup oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple quartered
  • 1 medium yellow onion quartered
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Butcher's twine
  • Applewood pellets



  • In a 5-gallon food-grade bucket, combine the water, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice, fresh herbs, garlic, orange and bay leaves.
  • Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and discard or set aside for later use. Remove any plastic or wire holding the turkey legs together and discard. Gently lower the turkey into the bucket of brine, making sure it is fully immersed. Place the bag of ice on top of the turkey to keep it submerged fully in the bucket. Cover the bucket a lid or a thick, tight layer of aluminum foil and set aside to brine overnight.


  • When ready to smoke the turkey, remove the bird from the brine, drain well and pat the skin and inside cavities dry with paper towels. Fold the wingtips behind the back and tie the legs together with butcher’s twine. Rub the turkey inside and out with the oil, then stuff both the main cavity and the neck cavity with the quartered apple, onion and fresh herbs.
  • Start an electric smoker on the Smoke setting with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Place the turkey directly on the grill grate, breast side up. Close lid and let the turkey smoke on the Smoke setting (between 150 and 180 degrees) for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  • Combine the melted butter and rosemary in a small bowl. After the initial Smoke, leave the turkey on the smoker and brush all over with the rosemary butter, then turn the smoker heat up to 350 degrees. Smoke the turkey for an additional 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until the internal temperature of the turkey is 170 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-red meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Carefully remove the turkey from the smoker and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.


Calories: 930kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 107g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 374mg | Sodium: 14805mg | Potassium: 1231mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 596IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 5mg