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Smoked Whole Turkey

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 18 hr 50 min (includes brining time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 to 12 servings
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1 cup fine salt

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup granulated sugar 

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 

5 cloves smashed garlic 

2 dried bay leaves 

Freshly cracked black pepper 

One 12-pound turkey 

2 cups bourbon

Canola oil, for coating

Kosher salt


Special equipment:
7 cups cherry wood chips, plus more if needed
  1. Add 2 gallons water, the fine salt, molasses, sugar, Worcestershire, garlic, bay leaves and 1 tablespoon pepper to a large pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar, and then remove from the heat. Cool the brine completely.
  2. Pour the brine into a large bucket and add the turkey, making sure it is completely submerged. Brine for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Pour the bourbon and 4 cups water over the wood chips and soak overnight.
  4. The next day, remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Rub the turkey with the oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Load an electric smoker with the soaked wood chips and place the turkey inside. Set the smoker to 225 degrees F and smoke until the internal temperature is 160 to 165 degrees F, 5 to 6 hours.
  6. Rest the turkey for 20 minutes before carving.
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