Apple Wood Smoked Turkey Recipe

Thanksgiving turkey
Iain Bagwell / Getty Images
  • 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 1 Turkey (12-15 servings)
Ratings (10)

This smoked turkey is brined for hours in a fantastic maple syrup-apple cider mixture and slow smoked to perfection. Absolutely delicious and perfect for the holidays or pretty much any time of the year. If you love smoked turkey, you're going to love this recipe!

What You'll Need

  • 1 12 to 15 pound turkey
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 quarts apple juice (or cider)
  • 1 or 2 quarts water (depends how many breasts we're smoking, Use enough to allow the breast/s to be fully submerged in the

How to Make It

1. Mix the brine well. Soak the turkey in the brine for at least 16 hours (I do around 24 sometimes a little more) in a non-metal container covered in the fridge. I use a large plastic Tupperware bowl. I put the bird in the brine frozen and allow it to thaw in the brine.

2. I smoke on a Weber Kettle grill. So I start the grill, use a good amount of charcoal. (can't tell you exactly how much cause I don't count my coals) once the coals are ready, spread them to the outside of the grill.

Throw on a pie pan with water in it and set in middle of the charcoal rack between the coals

3. Pull the bird out of the brine. Rinse off with water. Pat dry with paper towel and place on the top cooking rack. Toss on a handful of apple wood chunks on the coals (they seem to give a better tasting smoke flavor if I don't soak them first IMO). Then put the top on the grill. I add charcoal as needed. Sometimes I may have to take the top food rack off with the turkey on to adjust the coals and knock the ash off to keep the temp up. I will adjust the bottom air intake vents from time to time to raise or lower the temps. But I always leave the exhaust vent all the way open to avoid too much smoke building up in the grill. I'll add more wood as needed to try and keep a nice light flow of smoke coming out. I'll turn the bird 180 degrees about an hour and a half into the cook to assure even cooking.

4. An 8-pound breast usually gets done between 2.5 to 3 hours with temps between 230F & 280F. On average it takes me just about 21 minutes a pound. This has been pretty well with every turkey breast I've ever smoked. A whole turkey could vary a bit. Pull off of the grill when done, which is around 175F. Wait at least 10 minutes before carving.

5. After it's carved, if we don't plan on eating right away we'll throw it in a crockpot on low with a small amount of water in the bottom. It helps keep it warm, moist and actually enhances the sweet smoky flavor of the bird.

6. Well, that's my recipe for smoked turkey. It's the one I use every time pretty much exactly because the results are so good. I've tried different brines, and different techniques but this one seems to be the best.