Smoked Turkey Marinade

Smoked Turkey


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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 12 servings

Use this basic poultry marinade prior to smoking and your turkey or chicken will always be moist and tender. Use half of the recipe for chicken or the full recipe for a turkey of any size.

The basic ingredients of a marinade are an acid (lemon juice), oil (olive oil), spices, and seasonings. This makes enough to coat a turkey. If you prefer to have your turkey fully immersed in the marinade, you can double or triple the recipe.

The bird will be marinating for 24 hours before you begin smoking it, so you will need to build that into your timetable. If you are going to use a frozen turkey, it will need to be completely thawed, which will add another couple of days to the timeline.

You can marinate the turkey (covered or in a brining bag) in a non-reactive pan in the refrigerator. But if you lack space, place the turkey in a brining bag and into a clean ice cooler filled with ice. Be sure to check on the level of ice throughout the marinating time so they turkey stays cold.


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives (minced)
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano chopped)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Apple (as needed)
  • Orange (as needed)
  • Sweet onions (as needed)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and mustard.

  3. Add all of the rest of the ingredients. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Reserve half of the marinade to baste the turkey while it is smoking.

  4. Place the turkey in the container that you'll marinate it in and pour on half of the mixture, ensuring it coats all parts of the turkey. Seal the bag or cover the container and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. You can marinate for as little as 8 to 12 hours. After 24 hours, there won't be any more flavor imparted.

  5. When ready to smoke, fill the cavity of the turkey with chopped apples, oranges, and sweet onions.

  6. Put the turkey in a pan on the grates. Smoke at 250 to 300 F until the internal temperature reaches 180 F. The time will depend on the size of your turkey or chicken.

  7. Baste the turkey with the reserved marinade each hour during smoking.

  8. Serve and enjoy!


  • If you prefer a shorter smoking time, cook the turkey in an oven bag in the oven for 1 1/2 hours before smoking it.
  • To prevent salmonella food poisoning, be sure that your turkey is kept below 40 F while it is marinating, whether in the refrigerator or a cooler. Any leftover marinade that has had contact with the turkey or a brush that has been used to baste a turkey should be discarded.