Honey-Brined Smoked Turkey – Thanksgiving on the Grill Series

For grilling enthusiasts, Thanksgiving Day poses an irresistible challenge to cook the signature dish outdoors on the grill. The risk of ruining one of the most traditional meals is great, but the payoff is greater in taste and bragging rights. Bring on the bravado with the Thanksgiving on the Grill series and Honey-Brined Smoked Turkey. Created by food expert, Alton Brown, this recipe’s secret is in the brining process that infuses moisture, salt, and flavor into the large bird to prevent dryness from the long cooking time.

For the brine, hot water is used to dissolve the honey and salt, then vegetable broth and ice is added to bring the temperature down to cool. The turkey is submerged in the brine overnight, then removed and patted dry with paper towels, rubbed with vegetable oil, and allowed to come to room temperature. The grill is prepared to 400 degrees and a smoke bomb is made from double-thick aluminum foil and hickory wood chips, leaving the top open. The turkey is grilled over indirect heat and smoke for an hour until the skin is golden brown, and then covered with aluminum foil to continue cooking. The finished turkey comes off the grill moist and sweet with crispy, golden skin. Although we know the brine and the grill did all the work, when that beautiful roasted bird is placed on the table, eyes will widen and faces will brighten, and the glory will be yours once again.

Servings: 10-12

Honey-Brined Smoked Turkey Ingredients

  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 1 lb. honey (about 1 ⅓ cups)
  • 1 lb. kosher salt
  • 2 qts. vegetable broth
  • 1 (7 lb.) bag of ice
  • 1 (15- to 20-lb.) turkey, with giblets removed
  • Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey

Honey-Brined Smoked Turkey Directions

  1. In a large cooler, combine the hot water, honey and kosher salt, stirring until the honey and salt dissolve. Stir in the vegetable broth, then add the ice and stir until the brine is cool.
  2. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.
  3. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse inside and out. Discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry with clean paper towels, then rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil and leave at room temperature for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the grill.
  4. Heat the grill to 400 degrees.
  5. Using a double-thick piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, build a smoke bomb by placing a cup of hickory wood chips in the center of the foil and gathering up the edges, making a small pouch. Leave the pouch open at the top. Set this directly on the charcoal or on the metal bar over the gas flame.
  6. Set the turkey over indirect heat, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat, and set the alarm for 160 degrees. Close the lid and cook for 1 hour; when the skin is golden brown, cover with aluminum foil and continue cooking, replacing wood chips with a new cup.
  7. Once the bird reaches 160 degrees, remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Carve and serve.

Taken from Alton Brown

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