Apple Smoked Turkey
1 12-14 lb turkey
.2 quarts apple juice
.1 lb brown sugar
.1 cup kosher salt
.3 quarts water
.3 oranges, quartered
.4 ounces fresh ginger, sliced thin
.15 whole cloves
.6 bay leaves
.6 large garlic cloves, crushed
Preparing the Brine
To prepare the brine I combined all of the ingredients (except the turkey) in a large stock pot. Over medium high heat, heat the brine until it is very hot and stir it until all of the salt and sugar has completely dissolved. Place the brine in the refrigerator until it is cold. Once the brine has cooled down to 40 or 45 degrees in the refrigerator it is time to add the turkey.
Before you add the turkey place a garbage bag inside of the container that will hold turkey and brine. This will make for an easy cleanup. I used a cooler to hold my turkey but you could also use a 5 gallon bucket if you wish. I brined this turkey over night for 16 hours.
The next day the turkey was ready to be removed from the brine. I removed the turkey and dried it with scott towels. I then placed the turkey in the refrigerator for 2 hours to air dry. This will help to make sure the skin is dry and result in a crispy skin.
After 2 hours I fired up the cooker with charcoal and a few apple wood logs. I let the temps rise to 350 degrees and put the turkey onto the cooker. This turkey cooked for about 3.5 hours. I removed it from the cooker when the internal temperature of the thigh was 178 degrees. I tented the turkey in foil and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving. In this time the internal temp of the thigh rose to 182 degrees. 2 degrees above my target temp.
Time To Eat!
After a 30 minute rest it was time to carve the turkey. The turkey was moist, the dark meat was very flavorful with lots of subtle smoke flavor. The turkey was fantastic and we now cook turkeys about once every 2 months!
Pairs Well With
Turkey is not only for Thanksgiving and after trying this recipe you will understand why turkey should be a year round food! This 12lb turkey is brined over night then air air dried in the refrigerator for several hours. Once dry the turkey is cooked using apple wood at 325 degrees on the Backyard cooker for about 3 hours or until internal temperatures reach 180 degrees in the thigh. Turkey is a very lean bird and the brining process ensures that the turkey will not dry out while cooking and when served will be one of the most juicy turkeys you have ever tried. Below is the brine recipes I used. The original version of this brine can be found