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Dry-Brined-and-Marinated Smoked Turkey

Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 15 hrs, 40 mins

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Make Ahead: Dry-brine the turkey two days before Thanksgiving, and smoke it the next day. Cut the turkey into pieces (legs, breast, wings, etc.), and place in a zip-top plastic bag. Store in refrigerator. About an hour before dinner, place turkey pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet, and cover with aluminum foil. Warm in 300° oven until heated.


  • 1 (12- to 14-lb.) whole fresh or frozen, thawed, turkey
  • Turkey Dry Rub
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups hickory wood chips

How to Make It

  1. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Reserve 2 Tbsp. Turkey Dry Rub; sprinkle remaining dry rub over entire turkey, rubbing into skin. Chill turkey 10 to 24 hours.

  2. Prepare smoker according to manufacturer's instructions, bringing internal temperature to 250° to 260°; maintain temperature 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Stir together apple cider, brown sugar, salt, and reserved 2 Tbsp. Turkey Dry Rub. Attach needle to marinade injector, and fill with cider mixture according to package directions. Inject top of turkey, thighs, and legs at 1-inch intervals with cider mixture. Add wood chips to coals, and smoke turkey, maintaining temperature inside smoker between 250° and 260°, for 5 to 6 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160°.

  4. Remove turkey, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.


  6. Before beginning our make-ahead plan, clean out your fridge to free up space for your turkey, which will need room to chill for 10 to 24 hours.