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Course: Mains
Keyword: Fall, Gluten-Free, Holidays, Honey Brined Smoked Turkey, Meats, Thanksgiving

Honey Brined Smoked Turkey

ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 13 hours
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
A sweet honey brine does double duty as a sweetener and browning agent in this sweet and smoky Thanksgiving turkey recipe.
Is the overnight brine really necessary? Absolutely. The saltwater mixture drains the moisture out of the poultry, creating a flavorful brine, which is then reabsorbed into the meat without adding additional water and diluting the flavor. This process takes time, and you know what I say about patience...
This recipe first appeared on FoodNetwork.com.
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  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 pound honey
  • 1 (7-pound) bag ice
  • 1 (15- to 20-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
  • Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey

Specialized Hardware

54-quart cooler
Probe thermometer
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 13 hours
Yield: 10 to 12 servings


  • Combine the hot water and salt in a 54-quart cooler. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil.
  • Heat the grill to 400ºF.
  • Using a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil, build a smoke bomb: Place a cup of hickory wood chips in the center of the foil and gather up the edges, making a small pouch with an opening at the top. Set this directly on the charcoal or on the metal bar over the gas flame. Set the turkey over indirect heat, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat, and set the alarm for 160ºF. Close the lid and cook for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, check the bird; if the skin is golden brown, cover with aluminum foil and continue cooking. Replace wood chips with second cup.
  • Once the internal temperature of the bird reaches 160ºF, remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 1 hour. Carve and serve.
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