Reader Recipe
Citrus-Brined Smoked Turkey With Brown Sugar Rub

This winning recipe was featured in The Main Event.

Citrus-Brined Smoked Turkey With Brown Sugar Rub
IMAGE: Megan Myers

December Contest Winner

Is there anything more Texan than smoking a turkey during the holidays? Platt’s recipe features a fruity brine that ensures the bird stays moist and tender during the smoking process. If you don’t have a smoker, you can roast the turkey in the oven at 350 degrees for about 3 hours.

Brine
1 gallon water
1 cup salt
1 3/4 cups orange juice
1 3/4 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon pepper

Turkey
12- to 13-pound turkey, neck and giblets removed
Apple or pecan wood chips, for smoking

Rub
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1. Brine and turkey: In a pot large enough to fit the turkey, mix together the brine ingredients, stirring well. Place whole turkey into the brine, breast-side down. Cover and refrigerate overnight, 12–18 hours.

2. Rub: Mix together all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Transfer the rub to an airtight container until ready to cook the turkey.

3. The next morning, set smoker to 250 degrees and soak apple or pecan wood chips.

4. Pour 1/4 cup of rub into a small bowl. The rest can be stored in a cool, dry place to be used later. Remove turkey from brine, drain excess liquid from cavity, and set on a shallow pan or cookie sheet. Discard the remaining brine. Massage the rub all over the outside of the turkey.

5. When the smoker temperature has reached 250 degrees, place turkey directly on rack with breast side up. Add wood chips to smoker, replacing again after 1 hour. Let turkey cook until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, maintaining a smoker temperature of 225–250. A 12-pound turkey will take approximately 6 hours. Remove turkey from smoker and let rest 30 minutes before carving.

Serves 8.

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