Apple Cider Brine for Smoked Pork Loin

Pork loin has little fat, so the meat doesn’t have a source of moisture to keep it juicy while smoking.  One solution to this is using a brine.  Not only can brines tenderize and add flavor, but they also give a juiciness to meats that soak in even extra moisture.  Try this recipe for apple cider smoked pork loin brine. 


  • Use a pot large enough to hold brine and smoked pork loin comfortably.  
  • Rinse brine off before smoking to remove excess spice.
  • This brine also works great with bone-in pork chops.  
Savannah Smoker's Special Pork Brine

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2+ gallons


  • 2 gallons water
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 4 large sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
  • 2 medium-size lemons, chopped, squeezed, and smashed


  1. Fill a large pot with the water. Then add the remainder of the ingredients, and stir. Brine meat overnight or 24 hours.

Fan of flavor?  You can also use a dry rub on your smoked pork loin for even more yummy taste.  Check out our recipe for Smoked Pork Loin Rub or visit the Char-Broil community page for more great recipes.

Simple Smoked Chicken Brine Recipe

Using a rub or marinade is a great way to pack flavor into your smoked chicken, but using a smoked chicken brine can actually help keep the meat moist while cooking and add flavor at the same time.

Because cooking with smoke can be a lengthy process, be sure that your smoked meat won’t dry out by soaking it in a brine prior to smoking.  Our garlic herb brine will get you moist and mildly flavored chicken straight from the smoker.

Tips for Smoked Chicken Brine:

  • Place the brine in a container that will be large enough to hold all the brine and the chicken comfortably.
  • Be sure to rinse excess brine off before smoking.  The flavor will stay soaked in, but rinsing the meat will remove any large clumps of spices that may have gathered while resting.
  • Discard the brine after use.  It has been in contact with raw meat and is no longer safe to be used again.
Garlic Herb Smoked Chicken Brine


  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 2 cups salt
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons thyme


  1. In a large saucepan, combine water, garlic cloves, peppercorns, salt, vinegar, rosemary, and thyme. Mix over low heat until combined and sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely by using ice or placing in refrigerator. Place chicken in brine so that it is completely covered and place in the fridge from 4-6 hours. Remove chicken from brine and rinse before smoking.

Visit the Char-Broil community site for more blog posts, recipes, and tips on how to use brines.

Cooking Time Guide for Smoked Turkey

Whether it’s smoked, fried, roasted, or grilled, turkey is a delectable alternative to chicken year-round.  With so many different cuts (breasts, wings, legs-oh my!), it may be tricky trying to decide how long to cook your turkey of choice.  We’ve broken it down to give you the scoop with this guide for smoked turkey cooking times.   

Meat and Method: How Long to Cook Smoked Turkey

No matter what cut or cooking method you choose, you can be sure that your turkey is done once the internal temperature has reached at least 165 °F.  Use a digital meat thermometer or the built-in digital probe of your device to be sure your turkey has reached the right temperature. 

Smoked Turkey Cooking Time When Using a Smoker:

Whole turkey: Set smoker to 240°F.  Cook 30-40 minutes per pound.  A smaller, 8 pound turkey will take about 4 hours.  A larger, 12 pound turkey will take about 6 hours.

Whole Turkey

 Smoker Temperature:  240°F
 Smoking Time:  4-6 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
How to smoke Turkey in a Digital Electric Smoker

Turkey breast: Set smoker to 240°F.  Cook 30-40 minutes per pound.  The average turkey breast is about 6 pounds- this will about 3 hours.

Turkey Breast

 Smoker Temperature:  240°F
 Smoking Time:  3-4 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast

Turkey legs: Set smoker to 225°F.  Turkey legs will take about 4 hours.

Turkey Legs

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  4 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
How to Cook Smoked Turkey Legs

Turkey wings: Set smoker to 225°F.  Cook for about 1 1/2 -2 hours.

Turkey Wings

 Smoker Temperature:  225°F
 Smoking Time:  1-2 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
BBQ Smoked Turkey Wings

Smoked Turkey Cooking Time When Using a Grill:

Whole turkey: Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 325°F) and set up to cook with indirect heat.  Cook about 15 minutes per pound, or about 3 hours.

Whole turkey

 Grill Temperature:  325°F
 Smoking Time:  3 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Sage and Apple Smoked Turkey recipe

Turkey Breast: Preheat grill to high heat and set up for indirect cooking.  Cook for about 1-1 1/2 hours.

Turkey Breast

 Grill Temperature:  350°F
 Smoking Time:  1-2 hrs
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Grill Roasted Turkey Breast

Turkey legs: Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 325°F) and set up for indirect grilling.  Sear over direct heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.  Let roast over indirect heat for 45-60 minutes.

Turkey Legs

 Smoker Temperature:  325°F
 Smoking Time:  45-60 mins
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Honey and Spice Grilled Turkey Legs

Turkey wings: Preheat grill to medium-high heat (about 325°F).  Cook for about 30-40 minutes.

Turkey Wings

 Smoker Temperature:  325°F
 Smoking Time:  30-40 mins
 Finished Temperature:  165°F
Grilled Turkey Wings


  • Take the meat off when it is 160°F and it will continue to cook while it rests, leaving it exactly at the safe temperature of 165°F by the time you are ready to dig in.

Like these tips for how to smoke turkey?  Char-Broil has all the best advice for smoking in our digital electric smoker collection. Check out our community page for more.

Smoking Time in an Electric Smoker

When smoking meat in an electric smoker, the internal temperature is more important than how long to smoke because you want to make sure that the chicken done all the way through.

But it’s nice to be able to prepare when to start the smoker so that you know when dinner will be ready to serve. You don’t want to start the smoker too late causing dinner to finish in the wee hours of the morning.

electric smoker smoking times

These times are estimates to help you plan when to start your smoker and when to expect your meat to be done. Depending on the weather and other external factors, the exact time may vary.


Best Foods to Smoke in a Digital Smoker

The Char-Broil® digital electric smoker is not only easy but versatile. You can easily smoke ribs, chicken and other meats. But you can also smoke vegetables and nuts.

And think outside the box. Already prepared dishes like macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes and green beans take on a whole new flavor when you hit them with a little smoke.

Chef Ben Vaughn goes through a few of his favorite foods to smoke that range from smoked mashed potatoes to homemade marinara to smoked sugar Cuban almonds.

How to Grill the Perfect Turkey

Cooking your Thanksgiving bird on the grill or smoker can make the best holiday turkey ever. You also get the side benefit of freeing up your oven for cooking those favorite side dishes. If you’re cooking your turkey on the grill for the first time, here are a few turkey blunders and how to avoid them.

Undercooked or Unevenly Cooked Turkey

The guests are gathered, ready for the holiday meal, and you slice the pretty browned bird only to find that the turkey is done in some parts but woefully under cooked in places. This is NOT the way to start off your meal but it doesn’t have to happen.

  • An evenly cooked turkey starts with proper thawing. Otherwise, the still frozen parts will be raw or rare when the rest of the turkey is finished. Allow plenty of time to thaw your turkey in the fridge – the FDA recommends about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds.
  • Cook by internal temperature, not times or appearance. Looks can be deceiving and time/temp recommendations are rough guidelines. Use an instant read digital thermometer to verify that your turkey has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees in the breast meat and at least 175 degrees in the thigh meat.
  • In my opinion, the absolute best way to evenly cook a turkey is to “spatchcock” it, meaning to cut out the back bone and flatten it out. Take a sharp pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife and cut along each side of the spine. Remove it, flip the turkey over, and then press down firmly on the breast bone, flattening it out.
turkey, Thanksgiving, turkey prep
Spatchcocking a turkey isn’t hard and is absolutely worth the effort.

Dry Turkey

Ever bite into a piece of turkey that was dry and just turned to sawdust in your mouth? Cooking to internal temperatures as mentioned above will help prevent that but here are a few additional ways to keep your turkey flavorful and juicy. Be careful with these treatments if you have an “enhanced,” “pre-brined” or “always juicy” turkey as they have already been brined or injected at the processing plant.

  • Soak the already thawed turkey in a flavorful brine.
  • Injecting your turkey with a butter based injection is an instant flavor boost and doesn’t take extra soaking time like a brine does. A simple injection for turkey is ½ cup each of butter, white wine and honey. Heat that up with a few sprigs of fresh herbs and allow to cool. Remove the herbs and inject into several places across the breast, thighs, legs and wings.
Brine turkey in this mixture for about 1 hour per pound, keeping it at 40f or below.
Brine turkey in this mixture for about one hour per pound, keeping it at 40 degrees or below.

Over Smoked Turkey

A hint of wood smoke is an excellent supporting flavor for turkey but it should not be the dominating flavor. It shouldn’t taste like your turkey died in a forest fire. Poultry accepts smoke flavor very easily so you want to use a light hand in using smoke as a seasoning.

Avoid heavy white smoke, you want a light grey/blue or even invisible smoke. Wait until the fire is burning cleanly and the thick white smoke has cleared up before putting your turkey on the grill or in the smoker.

Be careful with your wood choices. Hardwoods like hickory and oak can be quite strong so use them sparingly. Fruit woods such as apple or cherry are a little more accommodating. Choose your woods to complement your flavor profile. I like a combination of hickory with orange and bourbon.

The Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker makes smoking your turkey extremely easy and does a great job imparting a light smoke flavor.


Pictured left to right: hickory chunks, alder chips, apple wood chunks
Pictured left to right: hickory chunks, alder chips and apple wood chunks.

Burned Turkey

If you cook at too hot a temperature or too close to the heat source by the time your internal temperatures hit 160 degrees your turkey will resemble a meteorite on the outside.

  • For me, the optimum cooking temperature for turkey on a grill is medium, about 325 degrees.
  • Using a raised cooking grid or using an indirect grilling set up will help gently cook your turkey all the way through.
Spatchcocked turkey on raised grate
Example of a raised grate set up for turkey. With the lid closed and the burners on low, this will slowly and evenly cook the bird without requiring flipping.

Rubbery Skin
You want your turkey’s skin to not only look golden but also to be slightly crisp so you can bite through it instead of stretching a piece of skin like a rubber band as you try to eat.

  • A dry brine is a great way to flavor your turkey and still get crisp skin.
  • After prepping your turkey, set it uncovered on a tray in your refrigerator for an hour to 90 minutes. This will air dry the skin which helps get a crispy crust when finished cooking.
Grilled Orange Bourbon Turkey
Not only does spatchcocking help evenly cook your turkey, I think it makes a nice presentation.

Grilling or smoking your turkey is a sure bet to making your Thanksgiving special. Now that you know the possible pitfalls and how to avoid them, you should definitely give it a try.

Smoking Wood Flavors

Different types of wood will produce different flavors and different types of trees have unique compositions and burning points. You can used larger wood chunks, or smaller smoking chips. Wood chunks will burn slowly and release smoke over a long period of time. Wood chips will burn hot and fast and give off smoke in a quick burst.

The type of wood you use will vary based on what you are smoking. And, while meats are the most popular food to smoke, you can also smoke nuts, cheeses, vegetables and more. Woods that have a milder flavor are recommended for non-meat items.

Popular Smoking Woods


Alder is a very delicate wood with a subtle sweet flavor. It’s commonly used when smoking salmon, but it goes well with most fish, pork, poultry and light-meat game birds.


Apple has a very mild with a subtle sweet, fruity flavor. This smoking wood is ideal for poultry, beef, pork (especially ham), game birds, lamb and some seafood.


Cherry wood has a sweet mild, fruity flavor that is a good match for all meats.

Grape Vine

Grape vine wood has a tart, fruity flavor that works well with poultry, small game birds, lamb, pork and sausage, but use it sparingly or the tart flavor may be overwhelming.


Hickory smoking wood creates a sweet, yet strong bacon-flavor; the smoke can be pungent, but it adds a nice, strong flavor to just about all meat cuts, but it’s especially popular with pork and ribs.


Maple has a mild and slightly sweet flavor. Use maple wood with poultry and small game birds. Vegetables and cheeses are often grilled with maple.


Mesquite wood has a strong and earthy flavor that is ideal for most red and dark meats. It’s one of the hottest burning woods.


Mulberry smoking wood has a flavor similar to apple that is ideal when grilling poultry, fish and pork.


Oak has a medium smoky flavor that is stronger than apple and cherry, but lighter than hickory and mesquite. It’s great by itself, but works well blended with apple, cherry or hickory woods. Oak works well just just about any meat.


Olive wood has a similar flavor to mesquite, but it’s a lighter flavor. Olive smoking wood tastes best with poultry.


Peach wood infuses a sweet, fruity flavor that’s similar to other fruit wood. Peach wood is great when grilling pork, poultry and small game birds.


Pear is similar to peach wood. It smokes a light sweet and fruity flavor that works great with pork, poultry and small game birds.


Pecan wood is stronger than most fruit wood, but milder than hickory and mesquite. Pecan is ideal when grilling poultry but infuses a nice flavor to any cut of meat.


Walnut has a strong and slightly bitter flavor. Use walnut wood when grilling red meats, and game. Walnut wood is often mixed with other woods to create a milder flavor.

Western Red Cedar

When smoking with cedar wood, only smoke with Western Red Cedar that has not been treated with any chemicals. Seafood is one of the more common foods grilled on natural Western red cedar planks, but poultry and vegetables are a option for cedar planks.

Note: Avoid smoking with Eastern cedar, cypress, elm, eucalyptus, liquid amber, pine, redwood, fir, spruce, and sycamore. These trees are high in resin and oils that cause a thick smoke when lit.

wood flavor smoking chart

Smoking 101: How to Smoke Fish in a Smoker plus Recipe

Fish takes on a deliciously moist texture when slow roasted in a smoker.  The meat of the fish easily peels away in tender, flaky chunks as it is infused with all the flavors of sweet smoky wood.  When paired with seasonings of fresh herbs and citrus aromatics, smoked fish is a tasty treat that you can feel good about indulging in.  Here are our best tips for how to smoke fish in a smoker.

Sea bass, Salmon, Sailfish – Oh my!  The Best Fish to Smoke

Fattier fish like salmon or sea bass absorb smoke better than leaner fish.  While any fish will be delicious cooked in the smoker, we suggest going with tuna, salmon, sea bass, or sailfish for tender, moist smoked fish.  This article can tell you even more about choosing the best types of fatty or lean fish to smoke.

Step 1 – How to Prepare Fish

There are many different ways to enjoy smoked fish, and these variations mostly depend on how you prepare it.  Whole fish makes a delicious smoked fish treat because the skin crisps up and separates from the meat of the fish.  Fish fillets with skin on are our favorite, though, because they are easy to eat and hold up well in the heat of the smoker.  

Step 2 – Choose the Right Wood Chips

Sweet, mild woods like apple, cherry, or alder are the best option for smoked fish because they won’t overpower the delicate, mild flavor of the meat.

Step 3 – Smoke Fish

Preheat smoker and add wood chips to get things going.  We suggest letting the wood chips preheat for about 45 mins.  Add fish and let smoke for about 3 hours at 175-200F.

Step 4 – Test the Temperature

Whether your fish is caught wild from a stream or plucked from the meat aisle, it’s vital to smoke your fish until it has reached a safe internal temperature.  Most fish fillets will be done once the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. You can use a digital meat thermometer to check the temperature throughout the cook time to be sure.

Tips for How to Smoke Fish in a Smoker:

  • If your fillets aren’t thick enough for the meat probe to get an accurate reading, calculate the smoke time for about three hours plus 30 minutes per pound of fish.
Easy Smoked Fish Recipe


  • 4-5 lbs. hearty, skin-on fillets (salmon, mackerel, or sea bass)
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • Paprika


  1. Mix brine over low heat until salt and sugar dissolved. Let cool completely.
  2. Submerge fish in brine. Let rest in the fridge for 6-10 hours, or overnight.
  3. Remove fillets and lightly rinse before smoking. Pat dry and sprinkle with paprika.
  4. Preheat smoker and add wood chips. Smoke fish for about 3 hours at 175-200F or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.

Now that you know all the secrets to making perfectly smoked fish, check out the Char-Broil community site for more great recipes, like our Spicy Smoked Catfish with Creole Cajun Dry Rub.

How to Smoke Turkey in an Electric Smoker

Not sure how to cook a tasty turkey dinner?  Try just simply popping it in the smoker!  Because smoking cooks by applying low heat over a long period of time, this is a great way to ensure that the meat of your turkey will be moist and infused with delicious smoky flavor.  As if this isn’t reason enough, smoking a turkey will also free up your oven for baking yummy side dishes and desserts, instead!

Choose it
There are plenty of options to choose from when purchasing a turkey.  We suggest buying a whole turkey with no added ingredients or flavors.  The bones in the whole turkey will help keep the meat moist as it cooks and you can add your own favorite flavors through brines, injectors, or rubs.

Select a whole turkey with no added ingredients or flavors.

Thaw it
You want to make sure that you smoke a thawed turkey. Do not try to cook a frozen turkey.

Clean it
Remove the neck, gizzard and other internal parts that are inside the turkey.

Brine It
Before you smoke turkey, you need to brine it. Submerge the turkey (breast down) in a gallon of water and 1 cup of kosher salt. The salt will break down the muscle, which will help tenderize the meat and increase moisture absorption.

Let the turkey brine for about 1 hour per 1 pound of meat.

Rinse it
Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it in cold water. Be sure to rinse all surfaces of the bird, including the body cavity.

Dry it
Dry off the turkey with a towel, and let it rest for about 12 to 24 hours so that the salt and flavors can really disperse throughout the meat.

Season it
Season the brined turkey with a mix of spices and herbs. If you’re smoking a whole turkey, use a dry rub in the cavity and a wet rub on the outside. The wet rub will stick to the meat better and it will help moisture retention.

For the wet rub, mix vegetable oil and seasonings into a thick paste. You want the rub to get under the skin of the breast, so gently separate the skin from the meat and massage the rub under the skin. Don’t completely remove the skin off the bird; when you’ve completely rubbed the meat, use toothpicks to hold the skin on the turkey. Take any remaining rub and coat the outside of the bird.

Smoke it
Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil the grate to prevent the turkey from sticking. Add your turkey, and insert a temperature probe into the breast.

If you have a Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker, you can set the desired internal temperature to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and your smoker will automatically turn on warm mode when the turkey has reached the desired temperature. Otherwise, keep a close eye on your turkey temperature so that you don’t over cook and dry out your turkey. Calculate about 30 to 40 minutes per pound.

Baste the turkey with a little vegetable oil or melted butter a few times during the cook to keep it moist.

Let the turkey smoke until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the turkey, and let it rest until it’s reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using the smoker is a no-fuss way to prepare a beautifully cooked whole turkey.

Tips for Smoking Turkey

Choose the Right Smoke

Turkey tends to absorb smoke easier than red meat, so use mild woods.  Apple and cherry woods have a sweet taste that compliments turkey well.

Hickory and mesquite are heavier woods that can quickly overpower a turkey, but if you blend about ¼ of the heavier flavored wood with ¾ milder wood, you can offset the strong hickory or mesquite flavor.

Spatchcock the Turkey

To spatchcock a turkey, you cut out the spine and loosen, or remove, the breastbone to make the turkey lay flat. (For a “how to”, check out How to Spatchcock a Chicken, the process is the same.)

Spatchcocking a turkey isn’t hard and is absolutely worth the extra time.

There are two benefits to spatchcocking the turkey.

  1. The turkey will absorb more smoke because there is more surface area.
  2. The turkey will cook faster than a whole turkey because the bird is about the same thickness throughout.

Keep the Goodness Going 

Be sure to prepare some delicious sides to serve alongside your smoked turkey.  We suggest a cheesy potatoes au gratin dish and a classic green bean casserole.

A smoked turkey dinner, complete with all the best side dishes!
Smoked Turkey Rub


  • 1/4-cup vegetable oil
  • 2-tablespoons onion powder
  • 1-tablespoon paprika
  • 2-teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2-teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2-teaspoons white pepper
  • 1-teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/2-teaspoon powdered sage


  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  2. Take one tablespoon of the dry ingredients and dust the inner cavity.
  3. Mix the remaining dry ingredients with the oil to make a paste.
  4. Smear this under the skin of the turkey breast and over the outside of the entire bird.

5 Sides You Can Smoke in an Electric Smoker

Meals are often built around the main entrée, like a smoked butt, chicken or pork shoulder, but the sides are what make the meal a success. There are many sides you can smoke in an electric smoker, but macaroni and cheese, baked beans and corn are three of these more popular choices. When preparing your next smoked meal, consider adding 1 or 2 of the following sides to smoke along with your smoked butt, ribs or chicken.

Baked Beans

  • 4 (15 ounce) cans of pork and beans
  • 1-cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1/3-cup brown sugar
  • ½-cup ketchup
  • ½-cup water
  • 1 tbs. chili powder

Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan on the oven and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Transfer the beans to an aluminum pan, and place it in your smoker for about 45 minutes, or until your beans are thick.

Try using hickory or mesquite wood chip.

Creamy Smoked Mac and Cheese

  • 2-cups elbow macaroni
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 3-cups milk
  • 2-cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1-8 ounce package of cubed Colby and Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1- 8 ounce package of shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the uncooked noodles into a 9×13 inch aluminum pan. Melt the butter and pour over the noodles. Add all the ingredients, and stir. Place the pan in the smoker at 250 degrees for about an hour and 50 minutes.


Quarter small red potatoes, and place them in an aluminum pan. Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little cayenne. Smoke for about 2 hours or until the potatoes are soft.

Smoked Corn on the Cob

Strip back the husk and remove ALL of the silk. With the corn exposed, liberally butter and season the corn with salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning). Carefully, fold the husk back over the corn and tie the end with a twist tie. Smoke for at 205 degrees for about 1.5 hours.

Mushrooms, Peppers and Onions

Coat the bottom of an aluminum pan with butter (or spray with Pam). Fill it with whole white mushrooms, green bell pepper slices and diced onions. Add about 4-5 small chunks of butter (for taste). Drizzle your favorite marinade over the veggies until the bottom of the pan is covered. You just want your vegetables sitting in a thin pool of the marinade. Smoke the veggies for about 2-3 hours.

We like about ½ to ¾ cup of soy sauce mixed with brown sugar, garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne, but you may like about ¼ to ½ cup of Dale’s Steak sauce diluted with a little water.