Grilled Turkey Leg

Smoked Rubbed Turkey with Apple Spice Brine – Thankful It’s Thanksgiving Series

People are thankful for many things on Thanksgiving Day – family, health, food, football, just to name a few. The Thankful It’s Thanksgiving Series is back with terrific ways to bring that classic menu out to your grill. Not only does it taste better, but it gives your spouse more room in the kitchen for baking, yum! This time we have Smoked Rubbed Turkey with Apple Spice Brine, featuring a killer brine that sets up the bird for extreme moistness and a spice rub of herbs, sugar, salt, and spices that delivers fantastic flavor and aromatics.

Any turkey preparation is better with brining. At such a large size, it’s challenging to evenly cook a whole turkey in an oven or on a grill without infusing it with moisture and flavor through brining. The brine is a combination of apple juice, cloves, sugar, salt, peppercorns, and fresh herbs. The Smoked Turkey Rub is a robust combination of brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, spices, and herbs that further creates a crisp coating on the skin that is amazing. Smoking the turkey is all about keeping it at 225 degrees with your favorite wood throughout the process. Once the breasts and thighs register 165 degrees, remove the bird from the grill and allow it to rest.  So fire up the grill, grab your turkey apron and your turkey oven mitts, and your turkey sweater, and your… you get the idea. Grab your stuff, prep your station, and get ready to smoke that bird because we are thankful it’s Thanksgiving!

Serves 7-9

Smoked Rubbed Turkey with Apple Spice Brine Ingredients

  • 1 15-pound turkey (defrosted)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
  • Smoked Turkey Rub
  • 4 cups water (to start, more to refill) 

Smoked Turkey Rub

  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Apple Spice Turkey Brine

  • 4 cups of water
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt (or 1 cup table salt)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon candied ginger
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 sprigs each rosemary, sage, and thyme

After the brine is cooked

  • 6 cups of ice cubes
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1 large apple (quartered)
  • 1 yellow onion (quartered)

Smoked Rubbed Turkey with Apple Spice Brine Directions

Apple Spice Turkey Brine

  1. In a large stockpot, combine the water, apple juice, salt, spices, and herbs. Bring to a boil.
  2. Remove the brine from the heat and stir in the remaining cold apple juice and the ice cubes. Once the brine is fully chilled, pour over your turkey. Nestle the sliced apple and onion in the brine around your turkey. Brine in a container that can keep the turkey fully submerged in the brine.
  3. Keep your turkey and brine below 40 degrees F during the entire brining process. Brine your turkey for approximately 1 hour per pound of turkey.
  4. Once your turkey has been in the brine for long enough, remove from the brine and rinse gently, both on the inside and the exterior of the bird. Pat completely dry and drizzle with a little cooking oil or melted butter for a crispier skin. You can stuff the turkey cavity with the apple and onion slices from the brine if you like.

Smoked Turkey Rub

  1. Combine all ingredients for the smoked turkey rub in a medium bowl. Use a fork to combine and break up the sugar.
  2. Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


  1. Preheat whatever type of grill you are using for indirect smoking at 225 degrees F. If you’re using gas, turn on half of the burners to medium-low and leave the other half off. If you are using charcoal, preheat your coals until just ashed over, dump them on one far side of your grill, and set the vents to about 25% open. If you are using a dedicated smoker, preheat your grill to 225 degrees F. Add the wood chunks or chips, if needed, to achieve a thin blue smoke.
  2. Remove your defrosted turkey from the packaging. Remove the neck and giblets from the inside cavity of the bird. If your turkey has been brined, carefully rinse the exterior of the turkey with cold water. Pat the turkey down on all sides with a paper towel.  Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulder joint.
  3. Coat the bird’s exterior with olive oil or melted butter and then season on all sides with the Smoked Rub.
  4. At 225 degrees F, you can plan approximately 30 minutes per pound for your turkey to smoke. For example, this 15-pound turkey will take 7 and 1/2 hours at 225 degrees F. I always plan an extra 30 minutes, just in case.
  5. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey in the breast and thigh. Make sure you test both sides of the bird, ESPECIALLY if you are smoking on a gas or charcoal grill where the temperatures may have been higher on one side than the other. You will be going off of the lowest reading you get from each side of the turkey. Once all temperatures are above 165 degrees F, it is time to remove the smoked turkey to a large platter or cutting board.
  6. Allow the turkey to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. If your turkey is done a little early, cover the turkey with foil and wrap with towels to insulate and keep the heat at a safe serving temperature.
  7. All that’s left is to decide if you’re a light or dark meat person, slice into that pretty bird, and get after it! Happy Thanksgiving!

Taken from

Facebook Twitter Plusone Pinterest Email
No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Google AdWords Tracking