Bring on the Brine: Easy Smoked Turkey Brine
recipe

Bring on the Brine: Easy Smoked Turkey Brine

5.0

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 add flavor. Brines can be simple with salt and water, or you kick things up a notch with spices, fresh herbs, or powerful aroma...

Show More
Facebook Pinterest Instagram Mail

Ingredients

For the brine
2
gallons water
1
cup sugar
1
cup salt
4
bay leaves
2
lemons, cut in slices
4
sprigs fresh thyme
2
tablespoons sage
2
tablespoons onion powder
2
tablespoons garlic powder
3/4
tablespoon cumin
3/4
tablespoon smoked paprika

Directions

1

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.

2

Add ice or place in refrigerator until completely cooled.

3

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 in refrigerator.

Hot Tip: Place a bag of ice or plate over the turkey to keep it fully submerged while brining.
4

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

Made this recipe? What did you think?
Cooking Notes
Share your tips, tricks, and cooking notes with others.
Thanks for sharing your note!
Once it's been approved, it will display here.

500
Need help? Our Customer Support can help you with any prroduct-specific questions.
  • 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)
  • jason | Jun 14, 2019

    I came up with my own brine recipe that I been using for years for my rotisserie thanksgiving turkey. Same brine I use for summer smoked turkeys or chickens. The nice thing about doing it during the summer is I have all my herbs fresh and on hand right out side the door. I dont use bay leaves but I do use rosemary. And lemons it depends, Usually not. Also use some brown sugar and some peppercorns, Also real garlic cloves not powder Other than that very similar brine

    This was Helpful (0)
  • jason | Jun 14, 2019

    I wouldnt add ice to cool it down either. this turns to water and dilutes the brine. A better idea is to heat all this stuff up in maybe a half gallon of water to get the salt and sugar dissolved and bring out the aromatics of the herbs then add it to the other gallon and a half of ice cold water. It also greatly reduces the prep time of trying to get 2 gallons of water boiling

    This was Helpful (0)
  • ITS GOING DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2019!!! | Nov 26, 2019

    I too added almost a full gallon of unsweetened Applejuice and the other half water!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets see how this goes....see you in 48 hrs after i get smoked on the electric smoker.

    This was Helpful (0)
  • Adolph | Nov 27, 2019

    On the step 3 hot tip, change 'keep' to 'ensure' or change 'submerges' to 'submerged'

    This was Helpful (0)
    • Char-Broil | Dec 3, 2019

      Thanks for the heads-up Adolf! We went with ‘keep’ and ‘submerged’.

      This was Helpful (0)
  • Woody | Jan 31, 2020

    Do you need to refrigerate the turkey while brining?

    This was Helpful (0)
    • Char-Broil | Feb 6, 2020

      Absolutely...great catch! Thanks for asking. We updated this recipe based on your feedback.

      This was Helpful (0)
  • Vern | Jun 30, 2020

    I've smoked turkeys for 40+ years. I've NEVER brined one yet....and at 71 don't expect I ever will. I use a Mr. Smoker, which is a water/charcoal unit. I always use a 10-12 pound bird and smoke it for 'about' 10 hours. The time depends on outside temperatures, wind, etc. I use 'soaked' pieces of hickory....if available. Otherwise any nut or fruit tree wood will do. Small (2" x 2") or so work well. Soak them at least 12 hours. Fill/repeat after 5 hours. Add a beer to the water for luck!

    This was Helpful (0)
    • Char-Broil | Jul 13, 2020

      And a beer for luck...Love it! Thanks Vern!

      This was Helpful (0)
View More Recipes Like This