Bring on the Brine: Easy Smoked Turkey Brine


You’ve got big plans for a perfect, smoked turkey dinner. Don’t let the flavor fall flat by skipping on a vital step of preparing your turkey: brining.

Use a brine before smoking to help keep meat moist while cooking and to soak flavor deep into turkey tissue. Brines can be as simple as just salt and water, or you can kick things up a notch by addin...

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For the brine
gallons water
cup sugar
cup salt
bay leaves
lemons, cut in slices
sprigs fresh thyme
tablespoons sage
tablespoons onion powder
tablespoons garlic powder
tablespoon cumin
tablespoon smoked paprika



In a large sauce pan, combine water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, lemon slices, thyme, sage, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and smoked paprika over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.


Add ice or place in refrigerator until completely cooled.


Select a container large enough to hold all of the brine and turkey. Add turkey, making
sure to stretch the skin of the turkey away from the legs. This will allow the brine get as close as possible to the surface of the meat. Let sit overnight.

Hot Tip: Place a bag of ice or plate over the turkey to keep it fully submerges while brining.

Remove the turkey. Rinse to wash off any excess salt or spice on and under the skin. Smoke and enjoy.

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  • GB | Nov 6, 2018

    I have smoked 3 turkeys now using this recipe, our family enjoys it a lot. When brining, I place the (usually 18-20lb) turkey in a 5 gallon food grade bucket and let it soak in the brine for 3 days, rather than what the recipe calls for of overnight. Smoke for about 4 hours between 250-300 degrees, finishing in the oven at the end if needed.

    This was Helpful (0)
  • Tish | Nov 21, 2018

    We smoked for the first time ever and used this recipe with one modification on our turkey. I used 1 gallon water + 1 gallon unsweetened Apple juice. WOW!!!! Epic results and will do the same again!

    This was Helpful (0)
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