I cure the turkey overnight and have everything chopped measured and ready for the next morning. If your turkey is cold the time may change or if the weather is cold so to avoid lifting the lid i bought the thermometer with the coil from williams sonoma for $30.00 and leave it in....one of the best things i've bought. also check the water pan about 1/2 way thru, so you don't run out of liquid.Definetely use the liquid from the water pan with all the turkey dripping for your gravy! I've been making this turkey for the last 7 years and all my family and friends will not let me make an oven baked turkey anymore. Also i have an electric smoker without any controls, only on and off so the thermometer comes in handy, also you can make it waaaayyyy ahead and it will keep in a warming over for several hours, better to be too early than have grumpy guests that are hungry. I have only used mesquite chunks or larger chips. You're going to LOVE this once you get the hang of it! I find that a fresh turkey is the best and be prepared because the meat is kinda pink when it's been smoked and it freaks some people out because they think it's still undercooked, but it's not. trust the thermometer. good luck


  • 1 turkey (12-15 lbs)
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery,cut into chunks
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • CURE:
  • 1 cup pickling salt
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 t dried sage
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 C BUTTER
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 2 c white wine or chicken stock
  • (i use 1/2 wine 1/2 stock).


rinse turkey w/ cold water and pat dry. In a small bowl combine the "CURE" ingredients, rub this over turkey and into cavity. Wrap turkey in large plastic bag (not foil) refrigerate for 6-8 hrs or overnight. after the 6-8 hours or overnight rinse turkey under cold water dry well. PLace onions celery and lemon inside cavity.

in a small saucepan, melt butter,stir in garlic and lemon juice. Soak double thickness of cheesecloth in butter mix and drape over turkey. add wine to remaining butter mix heat to boiling. Pour into water pan set over hot coals and soaked wood chips.

Place turkey on rack above water pan; cover smoker and smoke for about 8 hours, or until leg joint moves easily and meat thermometer in thigh registers 180'. Remove cheesecloth for last hour of cooking. makes 15 large servings. I've also cooked this with the breast side down.

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Submitted 6/13/05.
Source: our local paper
Submitted By: sharon L
smoked turkey