Applewood Smoked Turkey
I found this recipe on the Internet several years ago & have modified it to make it almost foolproof. It’s a great change from the standard oven roasted turkey. You can smoke a whole turkey or just a breast, it’ll come out perfect every time (it’s pretty hard to screw up smoking meat if you just pay attention to it)! Smoking meat on the grill gives you a good excuse to stay close to home too (someone has to keep an eye on things). During football season I try to have at least one smoked meat a month so I can spend an entire afternoon watching TV!
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 quarts apple juice/cider
1 or 2 quarts water (enough for the meat to be fully submerged in the brine)
Mix the brine well. Soak the turkey in the brine for 12-24 hours in a non metal container covered in the fridge. I recommend a large Cambro CamSquare storage container. You can put the bird in the brine frozen and allow it to thaw but this will require at least 24 hours.
I smoke on a Weber Kettle grill. Once the coals are ready pile them on one side of the grill. It only takes about 15-20 coals to get started. Place an aluminum pan (with a couple inches of water in it) in middle of the charcoal rack.
Pull the meat out of the brine and rinse with water. Pat dry with paper towel and place on the top cooking rack. I like to lightly dust with BBQ rub to ensure a good crust on the skin.
Toss a handful of apple wood chunks on the charcoal (soaked for at least 30 minutes in water) & put the top on the grill. I add charcoal as needed (about 2-3 briquettes every 2 hours). I’ll add more wood as needed to try and keep a nice light flow of smoke coming out.
An 8 pound breast usually gets done in 2.5 to 3 hours with grill temps between 230F & 280F. On average it takes about 20 minutes a pound. Plan on babysitting for 4-8 hours of you smike a whole bird. Pull the meat from grill when the internal temp reaches 175F. This is where a precision thermometer comes in handy! Wait at least 20 minutes before carving.
Give this recipe a try this holiday season. It might just become a new family favorite!