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Apple Brined And Hickory Smoked Turkey

recipe at a glance
Rating: 5/5
11 reviews

ready in: over 5 hrs
serves/makes:   8

recipe id: 43655
cook method: outdoor grill
Apple Brined And Hickory Smoked Turkey Recipe
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2 quarts apple juice
1 pound brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
3 oranges, quartered
4 ounces fresh ginger, thinly sliced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, crushed
14 pounds turkey
vegetable oil, for brushing turkey


In a large saucepan over high heat, bring apple juice, brown sugar, and salt to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat, and skim off the foam. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

In a 5 gallon plastic bucket or other container large enough to easily hold the turkey, combine 3 quarts of water, the oranges, ginger, cloves, bay leaves, and garlic. Add the apple juice mixture and stir.

Remove and discard the fat from the turkey cavity. Reserve the neck and giblets for another use. Rinse the turkey inside and out, drain, and submerge the turkey in the brine. If necessary, top with a heavy weight to be sure it is completely immersed. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Follow the grill's instructions for using wood chips (soak chips in water for at least 30 minutes prior). Set up the grill for indirect cooking over medium heat.

Remove the turkey from the brine and pat with paper towels until very dry. Tie the legs together with cotton string. Lightly brush the turkey with vegetable oil, and place on a roasting rack set inside a heavy-gauge foil pan. Cook indirectly over medium heat. When the wings are golden brown, about 40 minutes, wrap them in aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Brush the rest of the turkey with vegetable oil. When the turkey breasts are golden brown, about one hour, cover the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent the skin from getting too brown. The turkey is done when its juices run clear, the internal temperature is bout 180 degrees F, and the internal temperature of the breast is about 165 degrees F. Figure 12 to 14 minutes per pound.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board or platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 20 minutes before carving. The pan drippings may be used to make gravy.

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1392 calories, 52 grams fat, 101 grams carbohydrates, 130 grams protein per serving.
Show full nutritional data (including Weight Watcher's Points ®, cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, and diabetic exchanges)

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comments & reviews

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Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Made this last weekend for the Super Bowl party we had. This is my third time making the turkey this way. I've also just used the brine on a turkey breast that was oven roasted. good stuff!

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Ran across this recipe 2 years ago while trying to figure out how to smoke a turkey, and I have made it several times since. This is by far the best turkey I have had. Even my wife liked it and she hates turkey.

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Made this for Thanksgiving. Used a 3-lb turkey breast and cooked it in a smoker. Cooked for three hours. Used the brine in the smoker's water dish and used hickory wood chunks. It came out great, best turkey I've ever had.

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Absolutely the best turkey I have ever eaten! Followed the recipe closely other than using apple chips on a "Big Chief" smoker and basting w/ honey towards the end of baking. TIP: Do not prepare at the in-law's family function unless you are prepared to set a precedent that will have them expecting you to return every year with this amazing turkey. Normally not a selfish person, but this year I'd like to enjoy more than a few pickings...

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
I tried this recipe last year in my Bradely smoker for the first time. It turned out great. My wife and neighbors aren't fans of turkey, but they thought this bird was great. I will be using it again this year!!!

Registered Member at
Member since:
Nov 22, 2008

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
I am just looking up this recipe to make again. Used it for the first time last year for Thanskgiving and again at Christmas. I followed the recipe but used a Bradley Smoker. Turned out great and will become a family tradition.

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
10++ This is the best and easiest recipe that I have seen and/or attempted. My method is slow roasting and usually required a temp below 212 and a time period of 79 hrs.

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Recipe is great. I'm not a big fan of turkey for Thanksgiving (much prefer the traditional Lobster) but my wife insists. This, however, is fantastic. Even those guests that don't like turkey will be raving. The only change I made was to use apple chips rather than hickory.

Now, I'm required to make this every Thanksgiving.

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
I made this for Thanksgiving last year. I cooked the turkey on my Charbroil offset smoker. I got rave reviews from everyone that was here.

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Fantastic recipe! I used the brine in my svertical smoker water pan. I also used a diluted mix of it with a stout beer added to soak my hickory wood chips in. Marinated my 13 lb. bturkey 17 hours. Smoked 7 hours on "Ideal" to "warm" heat.
I got RAVE reviews from all eaters!!! Will use this recipe many times I'm SURE!Thanks!

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
I made this and it turned out great. Some guests said it was the best Thanksgiving turkey they ever ate. It was my first time smoking a turkey or brining anythig so I followed the recipe pretty closely. I did brine it for 2 days instead of one.
A remote meat themometer came in very handy. The 12 lb. bird took around 4 hours in a vertical charcoal smoker. I used half dozen chunks of cherry wood and 2 chimneys of hardwood charcaol to start and another one after 2 hour. Great recipe. Thanks

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