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HomeHealthy FoodLearn how to Smoke Turkey & Dry Brine (or Poultry)

Learn how to Smoke Turkey & Dry Brine (or Poultry)

I’ll admit I’ve been a bit intimidated to even try roasting an entire turkey. However identical to many issues in life, I used to be overcomplicating it and never realizing it’s the very same process for different roasted rooster recipes I’ve made, like this Peruvian-inspired pollo asado, and herb roasted spatchcock.  The identical steps as turkey – cooking is simply (rather a lot) longer as a result of dimension.

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Earlier than I stroll by way of the steps on easy methods to smoke a turkey, I need to deal with 2 essential issues which were crucial to my success in roasting poultry – olive oil mayonnaise and dry brining.

Olive Oil Mayonnaise vs Butter for Roasting

The vast majority of recipes you’ll discover on the web and even cookbooks contain utilizing butter as a binder for seasoning rooster or turkey.  The butter is meant to taste and moisten the turkey when rubbed beneath the pores and skin, in addition to assist get the pores and skin crispy and golden brown, like {a magazine} shot.

Do you know that mayonnaise capabilities the identical method?  Mayonnaise bastes the turkey all through the cooking course of so the turkey maintains it’s pure juices and is seasoned by the continuous basting of the mayonnaise combination.

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Listed here are 4 Causes Why I Choose to Use Olive Oil Mayonnaise:

Decrease Saturated Fats Content material

Olive oil mayonnaise has a considerably decrease saturated fats content material. As you could know, consuming plenty of meals excessive in saturated fat can construct (LDL) ldl cholesterol in blood vessels which ends up in heart-related points.  Alternatively, olive oil mayonnaise incorporates heart-healthy monounsaturated fat that assist cardiovascular well being.

Wealthy in Wholesome Fat

Since olive oil is the first ingredient in olive oil mayonnaise, you may reap the well being advantages.  The monounsaturated fatty acid in olive oil can assist within the absorption of fat-soluble nutritional vitamins and antioxidants.

(Word: that is NOT to say one ought to devour massive quantities of olive oil mayonnaise; nor am I saying you’re going to get a big quantity of coronary heart wholesome fats simply by consuming.  I’m solely saying that consuming meals which can be extra heart-healthy, you scale back the probability of coronary heart associated ailments.)

Moist Inside and Crispy Exterior

Utilizing olive oil mayonnaise bastes the turkey which reinforces the flavour (particularly once you combine with spices) and retains it moist on the within.  And whereas the turkey is of course basting with the mayonnaise, the mayonnaise helps the pores and skin to get crispy due to its excessive smoke level.

It’s Versatile

Utilizing olive oil mayonnaise is appropriate for numerous turkey cooking strategies, together with roasting and rotisserie.  The excessive smoke level makes it excellent to toss on the grill for smoking for lengthy durations of time.

OK, now let’s speak about dry brining turkey

how to smoke a turkey

There’s moist brine once you submerge the poultry in salted water, and dry brine once you rub salt all around the chook, inside (beneath the pores and skin) and outdoors.   Moist brining can take as little as 12 hours, whereas dry brining takes a minimum of 24 hours, max 48 hours. 

But nonetheless, I strongly want dry brining.

how long to dry brine turkey

Listed here are my prime 3 explanation why I want to dry brine poultry:

Preserves Pure Juices

Dry brining is coating the turkey with kosher salt (and seasonings, really helpful) and permitting it to take a seat within the fridge.  Since no extra moisture has been launched, it preserves the pure juices, which is unattainable with moist brining.

Concentrates Taste

Dry brining enhances and concentrates taste because it attracts out moisture from the turkey, permitting the seasoning to penetrate deeper into the meat. This ends in a extra flavorful and fewer diluted style.

Makes Crispier Pores and skin

Dry-brined turkey and poultry are inclined to have crispier pores and skin as a result of the salt attracts out extra moisture from the pores and skin which permits for higher browning throughout roasting or smoking, and even rotisserie cooking.

These are my 2 prime suggestions – utilizing olive oil mayonnaise and the dry brining methodology – to get flavorful, juicy poultry.  And since turkey has a LOT extra lean chicken, following these steps to get it as moist as attainable is necessary…in spite of everything, nobody needs dry meat that tastes like dying.

Okay, now on to the enjoyable half – my straightforward walkthrough on:

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Learn how to Smoke a Turkey That’s Juicy and Tender


Dry the turkey.  That is tremendous necessary for not solely the dry brining, but in addition the seasoning afterwards.


Dry brine the turkey.

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To find out how a lot salt to make use of, a common rule of thumb is to make use of 1 tablespoon of kosher salt for each 4 lbs.

Word: I HIGHLY advocate utilizing kosher salt because it’s crumbly, spreads, and doesn’t clump like superb salt.

I like to combine in dried herbs like rosemary and sage for additional taste.  You should utilize recent herbs if desired as nicely, simply be certain they’re finely chopped.

how much salt to dry brine turkey

TIP: bear in mind to softly pull again the pores and skin to get below the pores and skin as nicely.  It’s a step lots of people miss.  This can draw out much more moisture from the pores and skin so it will get crispy.

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Permit this to relaxation UNCOVERED within the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours however as much as 48 hours.

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After dry brining, it ought to look dry and you must have the ability to see meat by way of the pores and skin so it appears to be like pink and brown.


Put together the spice mix to combine with olive oil mayonnaise.

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For my 14lb turkey, I used the next:

  • 2 tablespoons dried herbs (oregano)
  • 1.5 tablespoons cumin 
  • 2.5 tablespoons smoked paprika OR chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 hefty cup olive oil mayonnaise

Combine every thing collectively.

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Season the turkey.

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Rub the seasoning mix inside and outdoors, making certain you get beneath the pores and skin as nicely.  A rule of thumb for me is to ensure my fingers can contact if I’m seasoning from each ends.

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BE GENTLE – strive to not tear the pores and skin.

Stuff the turkey with veggies like carrots, celery, onions, lemons, and recent herbs like rosemary.

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Let the turkey relaxation for a minimum of 20 minutes on the counter to return to room temperature as a lot as attainable.  This can drastically help in even cooking.

how long to cook a dry brined turkey

TIP: use a meat thermometer.  Until you’re very nicely seasoned in roasting meats, I extremely advocate utilizing a meat thermometer that will help you preserve monitor of the temperature contained in the turkey so you understand when it’s completed.  Insert it into the thickest half, the highest of the breast.

dry brining turkey
how long to dry brine turkey breast


Fireplace up your smoker.  I set mine between 225F and 250F and add alder wooden or hickory chunks for the smoking.

dry brining a turkey

Relying on the scale of the turkey and the way nicely you management the temperature, you may anticipate a 14lb turkey to smoke for about 3.5 – 5 hours.  The sluggish cooking and decrease temperature assist make sure the turkey will not be drying out resulting from extra warmth.

how much salt to dry brine a turkey

Take away the turkey when the thermometer reads 155F/68C – 160F/71C.


Let it relaxation on the counter and use a foil to create a tent round it.  Take into account that the turkey remains to be cooking on the within so the temperature ought to come to 160F – 165F.

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Take away the thermometer.


Baste the turkey with the pure juices.

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Slice and revel in!


Hey, I am Kevin

My title is Kevin. My life modified after I realized that wholesome residing is a lifelong journey, primarily received by having a well-balanced weight loss plan and sustaining an lively life-style.

By experimenting within the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I realized wholesome consuming will not be boring! By making just a few changes to my favourite meals, I may design a weight loss plan that would assist me obtain my wellness objectives whereas satisfying my need for BANGIN meals! 😅 Now I attempt to assist individuals around the globe notice that very same stage of freedom in consuming no matter finances. Welcome, let’s #DemocratizeWellness collectively!



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