Meat Church Smoked Turkey: A Comprehensive Guide to Deliciousness

We should have discussed dry brining, its advantages, and differences since we have so many wet brine turkey recipes and videos. As I explain in the accompanying video, dry brining is just different from wet brining and isn’t always superior to it. Each have their pros and cons. With that said, there are many people that prefer dry brining.

The major benefit of dry brining poultry is you can obtain crispy skin. This is especially beneficial when smoking which can often lead to a more rubbery skin. Dry brining also imparts a deep flavor into the turkey without the mess of a wet brine. It requires less space because you can brine on a rack in your refrigerator rather than needing a big brine bag, cooler, or bucket to hold an entire turkey submerged in liquid.

You can dry brine for 12 – 48 hours. We brined a 12-pound turkey for 15 hours in our Dry Brined Turkey YouTube video, but if you have the time, I would suggest brining it for even longer.

For the dry brine, a general rule of thumb is one teaspoon of salt for every four pounds of poultry. You can also add other seasonings or black pepper to your liking.

Be sure to check out the other 13 turkey recipes and videos we have on

Prepare the Turkey Dry Brine for any kind of turkey, including traditional and spatchcock varieties. To ensure that my turkey cooks more quickly and evenly, I like to spatchcock it, just like we did in this video.

With a butcher knife or a pair of kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it. Place the turkey skin side up, apply pressure and flatten it with both hands.

Prepare the Brine Thoroughly mix the salt & Texas Sugar. For this 12 lb turkey you will need 3 T of salt. It is ok to add slightly more. For the dry brine, a general rule of thumb is one tablespoon of salt for every four pounds of poultry. I added 4T in this video. Because you will only be seasoning the turkey once, you can also add additional seasonings or black pepper.

Dry Brine the Turkey: Using your hands, season the bird all over, being careful to reach under the wings and legs.

Be cautious not to puncture any holes in the skin as you work your hands beneath the breast’s skin to separate it from the meat. Apply seasoning under the skin on the breast meat.

Optionally, place pats of butter in between the meat and the skin. You can also do this right before cooking, but the skin might not be very pliable in a day or two depending on how long you dry brine.

To dry brine, place the turkey on a wire rack set atop a baking pan that has been lined in the refrigerator. The skin will become crispier as a result of the refrigerator’s extreme dryness and ability to help dry out the skin.

Dry brine for 12 – 48 hours. Although we brined for 15 hours in this dry-brined pellet grill video, if you have the time and space, I would prefer to dry-brine for at least 24 hours.

Preheat your Pellet Grill: Preheat your pellet grill using hickory, pecan, maple, or alder wood until it reaches a temperature of 325. If you want a more subtle smoke you can also use fruit wood. We used a Traeger Timberline XL with Meat Church pellets (oak’hickory) in this video.

I don’t use an offset smoker when I’m cooking over 300 degrees because I dislike setting the temperature that high in an offset smoker. We have several turkey videos utilizing our offset smokers however which can be found here.

Cook the Turkey Place the turkey into the pellet grill. If you think that some areas of the turkey are becoming too dark, turn it or cover any tips with foil while it’s cooking.

Cook the turkey until it reaches 160 in the deepest part of the breast. The turkey will continue to carryover cook a few more degrees to get to the USDA recommended 165.

Since crispy skin is our aim for this cook, we won’t be basting with butter at any point because moisture is the biggest enemy of crispy skin.

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Hey there fellow barbecue enthusiasts! Are you craving a juicy flavorful smoked turkey that’ll have your taste buds singing? Look no further than Meat Church’s amazing smoked turkey recipes. Whether you’re a seasoned pitmaster or a grilling newbie, these recipes will guide you step-by-step to achieve smoky perfection.

Traditional Smoked Turkey: A Classic Delight

This tried-and-true recipe is perfect for those who love the classic Thanksgiving turkey flavor. The key to this recipe is the brine, which infuses the turkey with moisture and amazing flavor You can use Meat Church’s Bird Bath Poultry Brine or create your own using their instructions


  • 1 12-13 lb turkey
  • 1 stick of butter for melting
  • Meat Church Honey Hog, Holy Voodoo, Texas Sugar, The Gospel, or Holy Gospel rub
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 package Meat Church Bird Bath Poultry Brine
  • Optional Maple-Whiskey Glaze:
    • 3/4 C grade A maple syrup
    • 1/2 C brown sugar
    • 1/4 C brown mustard
    • 1/2 C Whiskey


  1. Brine: Mix the brine ingredients with water and dissolve completely. Submerge the turkey in the brine and refrigerate overnight or for an average of 1 hour per pound.
  2. Turkey: Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season the turkey with your chosen Meat Church rub.
  3. Smoke: Smoke the turkey at 275 degrees F, basting periodically with melted butter. The cook time will be approximately 3 hours.
  4. Internal Temperature: The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast.
  5. Optional Glaze: While the turkey is cooking, prepare the glaze by simmering all ingredients and reducing by 1/3. Drizzle the glaze on the turkey for the last 15 minutes of the cook.
  6. Resting: Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving.

Spatchcock Turkey: A Modern Twist

This innovative technique involves removing the backbone of the turkey, resulting in a flatter bird that cooks more evenly and presents beautifully. It’s perfect for those who want a faster cook time and a more visually appealing presentation


  • 1 12-13 lb turkey
  • Meat Church Texas Sugar (or substitute Holy Voodoo Rub, Honey Hog, The Gospel, or Holy Gospel)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 package Meat Church Bird Bath Poultry Brine
  • Tools: Instant Read Thermometer
  • Optional Honey Glaze:
    • 1/2 C Honey
    • 1/4 C Dijon mustard
    • 2 T Meat Church Holy Cow


  1. Brine: Follow the same brining instructions as for the traditional smoked turkey.
  2. Spatchcock: Remove the backbone of the turkey and flatten it out. You can find helpful video instructions on Meat Church’s website.
  3. Seasoning: Season the underside of the turkey with Texas Sugar. Then, separate the skin from the breast meat and lightly season underneath the skin. Pull the skin back and season the skin all over.
  4. Smoke: Prepare your smoker at 275 degrees F and use a medium smoking wood or pellet. Place the turkey in the smoker and cook for approximately 3 hours for a 12 lb turkey.
  5. Optional Glaze: Prepare the glaze as instructed above and drizzle it on the turkey for the last 15 minutes of the cook.
  6. Internal Temperature: Remove the turkey when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast.
  7. Resting: Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to cook a smoked turkey?

The cook time for a smoked turkey will vary depending on the size of the bird and the smoker temperature. As a general guideline, it takes approximately 1 hour per pound at 275 degrees F.

What is the internal temperature for a smoked turkey?

The internal temperature of a smoked turkey should reach at least 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast.

How long should I rest a smoked turkey?

Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes before carving and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a more tender and flavorful turkey.

Can I use these recipes for a chicken?

Yes, you can definitely use these recipes for a chicken. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly, as chicken cooks much faster than turkey.

Additional Resources

Smoked Turkey – How To Smoke a Whole Turkey

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