Skip to Content

Smoked Turkey Brine

Today, I’m diving headfirst into the world of smoked turkey brine, and let me tell ya, it’s a flavor-packed rollercoaster ride for your taste buds! So, grab your aprons, and let’s get cookin’!

Smoked Turkey Brine

How To Make Smoked Turkey Brine

Alright, folks, we’re kickin’ things off with a quick rundown of how to whip up a mouthwatering smoked turkey brine. Now, I ain’t no gourmet chef, but I’ve had my fair share of kitchen adventures, and trust me, this recipe is as easy as pie (or should I say turkey?).

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

First things first, gather your ingredients. You’ll need some good ol’ kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and water. Oh, and don’t forget the star of the show – that beautiful turkey!

Step 2: Mix It Up

Now, it’s time to mix up your brine. Pour water into a pot, add the salt and sugar, and let it simmer until they’re all buddy-buddy. Toss in the garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves for an aromatic party!

Step 3: Chill Out

Once your brine is ready, let it cool down to room temperature. We don’t want to cook that turkey before it even hits the smoker, right?

Step 4: Take the Plunge

Pop that turkey into a big ol’ bag or container, pour the brine over it, and let it soak up all those mouthwatering flavors. The longer, the better, my friends!

How Much Brine Do I Need?

Ah, the age-old question – how much brine do ya need to make that turkey sing? Well, it depends on the size of your bird. The general rule of thumb is about 1 gallon of brine for every 15 pounds of turkey. So, do the math, and you’re good to go!

best smoked turkey brine

How Long To Brine A Turkey

Now, the brining time, that’s where the magic happens. You wanna give that turkey some quality time in the jacuzzi of flavors. I’d say a good 12 to 24 hours is perfect. It’s like a spa day for your turkey, and it’ll come out tasting like a superstar!

Air Dry for Crispy Skin

Alright, let’s talk about that crispy, golden-brown skin we all drool over. You want it, I want it, we all want it! And the secret? Air dry brining, my friends.

Step 1: Pat It Dry

After giving your turkey a good soak in the brine, wash it, pat it dry with some paper towels, and let it sit in the fridge, uncovered, for about 12 hours. This is where the magic happens, folks.

Step 2: Time to Smoke

When it’s go-time, fire up that smoker and get ready to make some culinary history. Smoke your turkey at around 225°F until it hits an internal temperature of 165°F. That’s the sweet spot for juicy, flavorful perfection.

Step 3: Rest and Carve

Once your turkey’s out of the smoker, give it a little rest. You know, let it collect its thoughts. Then, carve it up like a pro and serve it to your eager guests. Get ready for the oohs and ahhs – you’ve earned ’em!

basic smoked turkey brine

Well, my fellow foodies, there you have it – the lowdown on smoked turkey brine. It’s a game-changer, a flavor enhancer, and a culinary adventure all in one. So, next time you’re in the mood for some tender, juicy, and flavor turkey, don’t forget the brine!

As I wrap this up, I want to thank you for joining me on this flavorful journey. Remember, life’s too short for bland turkey. Spice things up, experiment, and savor every bite. Until next time, happy cooking, and may your taste buds forever be in foodie heaven! Gobble, gobble!

Smoked Turkey Brine

Elevate your grilling game and wow your guests with our expertly crafted smoked turkey brine recipe. Delight in the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Brining Time 1 day


  • 1 whole turkey size of your choice

For the Brine:

  • 1 gallon 16 cups cold water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 4-5 bay leaves


Preparing the Brine

  1. In a large pot, pour the cold water and place it over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the kosher salt and brown sugar to the water, stirring until they dissolve completely. This will create a brine base.
  3. Toss in the smashed garlic cloves, whole black peppercorns, and bay leaves into the pot.
  4. Bring the brine to a simmer, then remove it from heat. Let it cool down to room temperature.
  5. While the brine cools, remove any giblets or neck from the turkey's cavity and rinse the turkey thoroughly, inside and out.

Brining the Turkey

  1. Place the turkey in a turkey-sized brining bag or a large container that can fit both the turkey and the brine.
  2. Carefully pour the cooled brine over the turkey until fully submerged. If the turkey floats, weigh it with a plate or something heavy.
  3. Seal the bag, cover the container, and place it in the refrigerator.
  4. Let the turkey brine for at least 12 hours, but ideally up to 24 hours for maximum flavor infusion. Turn the turkey occasionally if it's not fully submerged.

Preparing and Smoking the Turkey

  1. After the brining time is up, carefully remove the turkey from the brine. Rinse it thoroughly under cold water to remove excess salt from the surface. Pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. Place the turkey on a baking sheet or a clean surface and allow it to air dry in the uncovered refrigerator for about 12 hours. This will help the skin become crispy when smoked.
Recipe Rating