I have smoked a turkey for Thanksgiving for the last several years and this year was no exception. Since it was just the three of us, I did not buy a large bird, I looked for a small bird and purchased one from Publix for $.59 a pound, so it was $7 for a 12 lb turkey. I followed the recipe that I have used ever time that calls for brining the bird overnight. The toughest part is finding something big enough to hold the turkey and the brine and then fitting it into the refrigerator. Several years ago I purchased a cooler that does the trick, I use it for brining a once a year and it is also used to rest cooked brisket and butts for the all important rest phase after a smoke.
For the brine, it is a simple brine consisting of salt and brown sugar. You need enough cold water so the bird can be submerged. I then added a cup of salt and a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and stirred. I then placed the turkey in, breast side down, and put in the refrigerator over night. I removed the turkey and rinsed off the brine about an hour before I planned to put the turkey on the smoker. The brining process help the turkey stay moist during the smoking process
I normally do a low and slow smoke for most products, but the Smoked Turkey recipe calls for a fast and hot smoke. I setup the smoker almost full of unlit and added a full chimney of lit charcoal. I normally assemble and place the meat on that point, but in the case, I waited for the majority of coals to light first. I used a mixture of wood for the smoke using Cherry, Apply and Maple. The water pan was left empty during this smoke.
I did apply a small amount of vegetable oil to the turkey before applying the following seasoning; onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, rosemary and sage, and paprika.
The goal was to keep the smoker around the 300 degree range with the target cook time of 3 hours. The turkey finished on scheduled and was delicious.
The turkey turned out great, very moist and plenty of smoked flavor.