Out-of-This-World Turkey Brine for a Smokin’ Good Time

This recipe for turkey brine is so good that it will probably become a staple for all of your holiday get-togethers. Smoked turkey brine will add moisture, tenderness, and wonderful fall flavors of apples, fresh herbs, and spices to your turkey!

Get ready to wow your taste buds with a mouthwatering smoked turkey this Thanksgiving! The secret to a juicy, flavorful bird lies in the Out-of-This-World Turkey Brine recipe from Allrecipes.com and the expert brining tips from Jeff Phillips at Smoking-Meatcom.

This guide combines the best of both worlds: the delicious brine recipe and expert advice on brining techniques ensuring your turkey is the star of the show.

Out-of-This-World Turkey Brine Recipe

This simple yet flavorful brine is a crowd-pleaser boasting a perfect balance of salt, sugar and spices. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 1/4 cups canning salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper


  1. Gather all ingredients and find a large, food-grade container that can hold your turkey.
  2. Combine the water, salt, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and pepper in the container. Stir until the salt dissolves and the mixture is well combined.
  3. Carefully submerge your turkey in the brine, ensuring it’s fully covered.
  4. Cover the container and refrigerate for two days before smoking or roasting.

Editor’s Notes:

  • Use canning or kosher salt, not table salt, to avoid making the brine too salty.
  • Always use food-grade containers for brining, such as stainless steel stockpots, brining bags, or food-grade plastic buckets. Avoid using household trash bags, plastic trash cans, metal buckets, or containers not meant for food use.

Brining Tips from Jeff Phillips

Jeff Phillips, a renowned pitmaster and smoking expert, offers valuable insights on brining techniques:

Brining Basics:

  • Brining involves soaking meat in a salt-water solution, allowing it to absorb moisture and flavor.
  • The salt in the brine creates more juice within the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful bird.
  • You can add other ingredients like sugar, juice, flavorings, sauces, and marinades to the brine for additional taste.

Jeff’s Favorite Brines:

  • Cajun Turkey/Poultry Brine: A flavorful blend of Zatarains Liquid Crab Boil, molasses, white wine, and Worcestershire.
  • Traditional Brine for Turkey/Poultry: A simple yet effective brine with brown sugar and Jeff’s original rub.
  • Buttermilk Brine for Turkey/Poultry: Tenderizes the meat and adds a rich flavor with buttermilk and Jeff’s original rub.
  • Cranberry Brine for Turkey/Poultry: A festive twist with cranberry-pomegranate juice and Jeff’s original rub.

Brining Tips:

  • Use a 6% salinity brine (1 cup of coarse kosher salt per 1 gallon of liquid).
  • Brine for 10-12 hours or overnight in the fridge for a turkey, and 4 hours for a chicken.
  • Ensure the brine temperature stays below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety.

Additional Resources:

  • Jeff Phillips’ Smoking-Meat.com: Find more brining recipes, smoking tips, and barbecue inspiration.
  • Allrecipes.com: Discover a vast collection of turkey recipes, including brines, roasting techniques, and Thanksgiving side dishes.

With this comprehensive guide, you have all the tools you need to create a delicious and memorable smoked turkey for your Thanksgiving celebration. Combine the Out-of-This-World Turkey Brine recipe with Jeff Phillips’ expert brining tips to achieve a juicy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked bird that will impress your guests.

Can You Brine and Smoke a Turkey?

When it comes to smoking a turkey, this is a big question, to which the answer is unquestionably YES! In fact, I prefer to use this apple spice turkey brine in advance of making my Smoked Turkey recipe. It’s amazing, I tell ya!.

The turkey will stay moist and tender in the smoker if you brine it ahead of time. Additionally, since some turkey parts will cook more quickly than others, it helps to evenly cook all of the meat. Finally, you won’t need any additional seasoning because brining a turkey before smoking it adds a ton of flavor—especially with this apple spice brine!

Best Turkey for Brining

Important note! For this recipe, I recommend using an unbrined turkey (for obvious reasons!). Make sure to buy a turkey that hasn’t been pre-brined if you’re determined to brine your own.

Most people don’t realize that the grocery store turkeys they are buying are pre-brined. You will see items on the label such as 20%E2%80%9C injected with a 20%___%%%20saline%20solution%E2%80%9D%20or 20%E2%80%9C self-basting, and both of those terms indicate that your turkey has been injected or brined before it was ever sold to you.

This is something that turkey vendors love to do because it allows them to charge more per pound for what is basically just saltwater. If your turkey has already been brined, I would suggest grilling it at a higher temperature or slowly smoking it instead of using this smoked turkey brine.

There are several ways to brine a turkey. The most popular are either using a dry brine or a wet brine prior to cooking.

  • Dry brine. Some people like their birds to be brined dry, with just a small amount of sugar and salt on the outside. By using only the meat’s natural moisture, dry brining eliminates the need for additional water.
  • Wet brine. For my smoked turkey, I like to use a wet brine, in which the turkey is marinated in the chilled brine before cooking, with the salt mixture suspended in liquid. You can add extra flavor to your meat in a wet brine by adding herbs, spices, and other flavorful liquids. That’s precisely what this recipe for smoked turkey brine calls for. It’s all about loading up on flavor before smoking that bird. Planning ahead will help you ensure that you have the appropriate amount of time for the process of wet brining, which can take up to a day to perfect.

The salt actually alters the bird’s cellular structure during the brining process, which aids in the bird’s ability to hold onto a lot of moisture during cooking. This process will also slightly change the texture of the meat. Although some people find brined birds to be overly soft and prefer an extra chew from unbrined birds, I adore the tender texture that brined birds provide.

The wonderful thing about recipes is that they allow you to sort of experiment, see what you like, and modify them to suit your own preferences.

The perfect turkey brine

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