Honey-Brined Smoked turkey

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 1 pound kosher salt
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 pound honey
  • 1 (7-pound) bag of ice
  • 1 (15 to 20-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
  • Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey

Combine the hot water and the salt. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine.  If the bird isn’t completely submerged, plan on flipping it about halfway through.  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 400 degrees F.

Using a double thickness 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. Leave the pouch open 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 160 degrees F. 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. Also, after 1 hour, replace wood chips with second cup.

Once the bird reaches 160 degrees F, remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 1 hour. Carve and serve.  This recipe is from Alton Brown.  I love him!

Maple Brined Turkey

  •  8 quarts water
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups pure maple syrup
  • 2 bunches fresh thyme
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 Turkey

Place all the ingredients, except the turkey, in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool.  Line a large stockpot (or a new 5 gallon bucket) with an unscented garbage bag and put the turkey into the pot. Pour the cooled brine over the bird, close and seal the bag, and refrigerate overnight (I leave mine in the garage).Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the brine, dry well, and discard the brine.   I like to slather the bird with a butter that complements the brine, so for this recipe I would make a maple butter (whip butter and add maple syrup until the butter “glistens” and is easily spreadable).  Using your fingers, rub the turkey UNDER the skin with the maple butter.  You can separate the skin from the meat at the breast and over the back and push your hand as far in as possible to place butter on the bird.  Once you’ve coated the bird as well as you can under the skin, rub the skin with a little bit of the maple butter, too.

Roast the turkey as you normally would, approximately 15 minutes a pound. Let stand for 30 minutes before carving.

Buttermilk Brine for Turkey or Chicken

  • 15lb turkey
  • 1c Kosher salt
  • 1 gallon cold buttermilk
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns, crushed

12 hours before you plan to cook your turkey,  mix all ingredients together  in a container (I’ve used a new 5 gallon bucket for this) and then submerge your turkey.  Make sure you remove the giblets and neck from inside the bird before you brine.  Place in a cool place, such as the garage.  Remove the bird from the brine 1 hour before you plan to place into the oven to let it warm to room temperature. Cook as you normally would.  This recipe came from Marilou Suszko’s  Farms and Foods of Ohio cookbook.  Speckled Hen was featured in the poultry section!  I used this recipe last year and I really liked it.