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Smoked Apple Cider Turkey

Smoked Apple Cider Turkey is one of the most tender, juicy and flavorful recipes to add to Thanksgiving Dinner. A quick salt water brine makes sure the turkey stays juicy while it is smoked and the apple cider marinade gives it delicious flavor.

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Until we tried this Cajun smoked turkey, it was not our favorite. However, when you brine, marinate and smoke turkey it is a whole other thing! This is no ordinary Thanksgiving turkey.

Smoked Apple Cider turkey garnished with orange slices, cranberries and rosemary. text overlay of title

Ingredients for Smoked Apple Cider Turkey:

  • 10- 12 pound Turkey

BRINE: 

  • warm water
  • kosher salt
  • lemon 
  • peppercorns
  • fresh rosemary

APPLE CIDER MARINADE:

  • Apple Cider
  • Brown Sugar
  • Garlic Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Dry Mustard

How to Smoke Apple Cider Turkey:

whole turkey in brine with lemon, rosemary and peppercorns

  • Remove giblets and gravy packet from thawed turkey. 
  • Add turkey to a large pan or bowl.
  • Mix warm water with kosher salt and mix until salt is dissolved. Pour over turkey. 
  • Add lemon, peppercorns and rosemary. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 8 hours. 

Apple Cider Marinade

  • Prepare the apple cider marinade and set aside to cool. Can be made a day in advance and refrigerated.
  • Drain turkey well in a colander and discard brine. 

trussed turkey on a sheet pan

  • Pat turkey dry with paper towels and truss turkey with butcher twine if desired. (Tie legs together and wrap twine around the middle of the turkey to hold in the wings.)injecting apple cider marinade into a whole turkey
  • Inject apple cider marinade into all parts of the turkey and between the skin and the meat.

turkey on a grill

  • Cook over an indirect grill fire of about 300° using hickory for smoke flavor. Keep the grill closed and check the turkey after about an hour and a half.

If the turkey skin is getting too dark, you can remove the turkey and wrap in peach butcher paper and continue to cook. We maintained the grill between 250° and 300° for the entire cooking time. 

  • If your turkey is browning nicely, continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 165° in the thick part of the thigh near the bone, about another one and a half hours.

Smoked whole turkey on a sheet pan

  • Remove from grill and allow to rest 15 minutes before slicing. 

How to Store and Reheat:

I like to remove the turkey from the bone and save the carcass to make turkey stock. Just toss it in a ziploc baggie and refrigerate or freeze until you are ready. 

Sliced turkey will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze cooked turkey in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. 

Enjoy turkey leftovers as a sandwich, make turkey salad or reheat in a pan on the stovetop with a bit of broth over medium heat for about 5 minutes. 

Apple Cider Smoked turkey on a platter with plaid napkin, garnish of orange slices, fresh cranberries and rosemary

How Much Turkey To Cook Per Person:

Figure about 1 pound of meat per person if you are cooking a whole turkey. If you are hosting a small dinner, this same recipe will also work with a whole turkey breast.

2 turkey breasts - smoked, on a platter with orange slices, cranberries and fresh rosemary - overhead view

Side Dishes for Turkey

Smoked Apple Cider Marinated Turkey on a platter with orange slices, rosemary and cranberries

This is definitely one of the most flavorful and delicious turkeys that we have ever made. Injecting the marinade really flavors the whole turkey and helps keep it moist and juicy. It is a great main course for any holiday dinner or for a family gathering. 

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Smoked Apple Cider Turkey
Yield: 12 servings

Smoked Apple Cider Turkey

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes

Smoked Apple Cider Turkey is one of the most tender, juicy and flavorful recipes to add to Thanksgiving Dinner. A quick salt water brine makes sure the turkey stays juicy while it is smoked and the apple cider marinade gives it delicious flavor.

Ingredients

  • 10- 12 pound Turkey

FOR THE BRINE: 

  • 4 quarts of warm water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 lemon cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Apple Cider Marinade (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Place thawed turkey in a large pan or bowl.
  2. Mix warm water and kosher salt together until salt is dissolved. Pour over turkey.
  3. Add lemons, peppercorns and rosemary. Cover and refrigerate 4- 8 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the apple cider marinade and allow to cool.
  5. Drain brine from turkey and discard brine.
  6. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Truss the turkey by tying legs and around the middle to hold in the wings.
  8. Use an injector to inject the marinade into turkey and between meat and the skin.
  9. Prepare a grill fire to about 300° with hickory wood for smoke flavor.
  10. Cook turkey for 1 1/2 hours with the lid closed. Check turkey and if the skin is getting too dark, you can wrap it in peach butcher paper and continue to cook. If it is just browning nicely, continue to cook about another 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165° in the thick part of the thigh near the bone.
  11. We maintained a fire between 250° and 300°.
  12. Remove turkey to a serving platter and allow to rest 15 minutes before slicing.

Notes

How to store, freeze & reheat:

Remove turkey from the bones and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cooked turkey can be frozen in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Serve sliced turkey cold on sandwiches or reheat in a pan with a few tablespoons of broth for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 918Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 494mgSodium: 896mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 130g

Nutritional information is estimated and may not be accurate.

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Apple Cider Marinade in a pint jar with jug of apple cider on a red check napkin
Yield: about 1 pint

Apple Cider Marinade

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Apple Cider Marinade is adds delicious flavor to your fall grilling meals. A simple and delicious blend of apple cider, brown sugar and spices perfect for grilling roast beef and smoked chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1//2 teaspoon dry mustard

Instructions

  1. Pour apple cider into a small pan.
  2. Whisk in brown sugar, garlic, salt and dry mustard.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally bringing to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a mason jar. Cool before using as marinade.

Notes

Marinade can be made 2 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag us on Instagram @outgrilling

 

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5 Comments

  1. Would the brine have to be changed for doing a bigger turkey? And about how long should we brine and cook a 19-20lb turkey?

    1. Hi Alexis,
      You want the turkey to be submerged in the brine, so you might need to make 1 1/2 times the brine. I would suggest brining between 4 and 8 hours but you can brine up to 24 hours. Cook 15 -20 minutes per pound for grilled turkey if the grill temperature is between 300° and 350°. Be sure to use a digital thermometer to cook the turkey to the perfect temperature.

      ~ Milisa