Apple Wood-Smoked Turkey

Thanksgiving turkey
Iain Bagwell / Getty Images
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12 to 15 servings
Yield: 1 turkey
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
992 Calories
34g Fat
34g Carbs
130g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 15
Amount per serving
Calories 992
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 43%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 494mg 165%
Sodium 4513mg 196%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 13%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 130g
Vitamin C 51mg 255%
Calcium 101mg 8%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 1258mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This smoked turkey recipe calls for brining the bird for hours in a fantastic maple syrup-apple cider mixture and then slow smoking it to juicy perfection. Using a brine before smoking helps add flavor and keeps the meat moist and tender.

It's absolutely delicious and perfect for the holidays or pretty much any time of the year. If you love smoked turkey, you're going to love this recipe.


  • 1 (12- to 15-pound) turkey, dressed, rinsed, and patted dry

  • 1 cup kosher salt

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 2 quarts apple juice, or apple cider

  • 1 to 2 quarts water, use enough so the turkey will be fully submerged

Steps to Make It

Brine the Turkey

  1. In a large container, mix together salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, and apple juice or apple cider until the sugar is dissolved.

  2. Add the turkey and soak in the brine for at least 16 to 24 hours in a nonmetal container covered in the fridge.

Smoke the Turkey

  1. Start a grill using a good amount of charcoal. Once the coals are ready, spread them to the outside of the grill.

  2. Set a pie pan filled with water in the center of the coals.

  3. Remove the bird from the brine and rinse it off with water. Pat dry with paper towels and place on the top cooking rack.

  4. Toss a handful of soaked or unsoaked apple wood chunks on the coals (unsoaked wood seems to give a better-tasting smoke flavor).

  5. Cover the grill and add charcoal as needed. You might need to adjust the air intake vents from time to time to raise or lower the temperature but, generally, they should be wide open to avoid too much smoke building up in the grill.

  6. Turn the bird 180 degrees about 1 1/2 hours into the smoking to ensure even cooking.

  7. An 8-pound turkey breast usually takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours with cooking temperatures between 230 F and 280 F. A whole turkey will take longer. On average, it takes about 21 minutes per pound of bird or until an instant-read thermometer registers 175 F. Remove from the grill and wait at least 10 minutes before carving.

  8. After it's carved, if not eating immediately, you can put it in a slow cooker on low with a small amount of water in the bottom. It helps keep it warm, moist, and actually enhances the sweet smoky flavor of the bird.

  9. Serve and enjoy!