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Thanksgiving Honey Bourbon Smoked Turkey with Dry Rub

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  • Total Time: 77 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 people 1x


Prep your Thanksgiving turkey right this year with this honey bourbon smoked turkey brine and dry rub. Infused with moisture and flavor, this sweet and smokey earthy flavor is sure to be a hit around the table this holiday season!



Honey Bourbon Turkey Brine

  • 12 cup water
  • 3 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 1/8 cup black pepper

Smoked Turkey Dry Rub

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin


  • 10 lb Turkey (with no added ingredients)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)



  1. With the turkey in the original packaging, place it on a tray or in a large bowl in the fridge. Thaw turkey in the fridge. You will need 24 hours of thaw time for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. A 10lb turkey will take 2.5 days to thaw in the fridge.

Clean the Turkey

  1. Remove the neck and giblets. The giblets are frequently wrapped up by the butcher and placed in a sack inside the the turkey cavity. You will also need to reach in and pull out the neck. Both items can be saved to make other dishes or the gravy.

Turkey Brine

  1. Prepare mixture in a large bowl, food safe bag, or cooler
  2. Submerge whole thawed and cleaned turkey in the brine.
  3. Refrigerate brining turkey for 8-12 hours.

Dry rub

  1. Combine all spices in a small to medium size bowl.
  2. Any extra rub can be stored in an airtight container in the pantry. I use a mason jar.


  1. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees and add desired wood chip mix.
  2. Once the turkey has brined for 8-12 hours, rinse it off with cold water in the kitchen sink.
  3. Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel.
  4. Place the turkey on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle melted butter over the entire turkey. This is what gives the turkey crispy skin.
  5. Sprinkle the dry rub all over the turkey coating both the exterior and the insides of the turkey. It will feel like you are using a lot of seasoning but that’s ok. You want the entire turkey coated in the rub.
  6. Place place the turkey directly on the rack in the smoker breast side up and cook for 30-40 minutes per pound until the internal temperature of the turkey is 165 degrees. Approximately 5-6.5 hours for a 10 lb turkey.
  7. If the skin starts to brown too much before it is fully cooked, cover the turkey inside the smoker with aluminum foil.
  8. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before carving.


  • For brining the turkey it will need to be submerged in this liquid for 8-12 hours and refrigerated. If using a cooler it will need to maintain a temperature of 37-40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Note this is enough brine for up to a 10lb turkey.
  • Prep Time: 72 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Category: Holiday
  • Cuisine: American