Smoked Heritage Turkey Recipe with Peppercorn Rub

Smoked Heritage Turkey Recipe With Peppercorn Rub

1 hrs
24 hrs
4 hrs

Try our smoked turkey recipe that is easy to prepare and everyone will love. The blackened peppercorn rub and savory brine adds a delicious kick to your meal.


For the Turkey

  • 1 15-20 pound fresh turkey
  • 2 cups apple wood chunks
  • 2 cups hickory wood chunks

For the Sweet & Savory Brine

  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 gallon chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 garlic clove head, smashed
  • 1 handful fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 1 handful whole peppercorns

For the Black Peppercorn Herb Rub

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup black peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Cavity Aromatics

  • 1 small red onion, quartered
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 piece ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • 1 handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 handful fresh rosemary sprigs

For the Basting Spray

  • 2 cups turkey stock
  • 1 12 ounce lager beer
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Ingredient Tips

We suggest purchasing 1.5 pounds of turkey per guest. This will include the turkey's total weight, not just its meat. At this volume, you’ll have enough to feed all parties.
Turkey Stock
Can substitute with low or no-sodium chicken stock.
Beer Basting Spray
Can substitute chicken stock for turkey stock.


Step 1 Of 12
Prepare brine two days before smoking turkey. In a large stock pot, bring all ingredients to a boil and stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and let cool until room temperature.
Submerge whole, uncooked turkey in brine, place in pot, cover with lid and refrigerate 24 to 48 hours.
3 hours before smoking, rinse turkey exterior and cavity. Pat dry with paper towel and discard brine.
Tightly wrap the turkey in plastic wrap let rest at temperature. Meanwhile, make the rub, aromatics and spray.
Hot Tip
The turkey should rest for about 3 hours.
Combine all herb rub ingredients in food processor and pulse until combined.
Prepare cavity aromatics as directed.
Combine all beer baste ingredients in spray bottle and mix.
Hot Tip
Mix before every basting spray.
Remove turkey from plastic wrap 20 minutes before smoking and liberally apply Fresh Herb Rub to exterior skin and interior cavity. Stuff cavity with aromatics, tie rear legs together with kitchen string and tuck wings under its thighs.
Fill smoke chamber with apple and hickory wood chunks and pre-heat smoker to 275°F.
Hot Tip
Pre-heating should take 15 to 20 minutes.
Put turkey in the smoker and baste periodically with the beer basting spray.
Hot Tip
For every time the smoke chamber is opened, add 15 to 20 minutes to the cook time. If basting, do so quickly, as longer cook times produce dry, flavorless turkey.
Insert thermometer into thickest part of turkey thigh and remove turkey from smoker when internal temperature reaches 160°F. Put turkey on cutting board and tent with foil.
Rest turkey for 15 to 20 minutes. Discard cavity aromatics and carve.
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