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Smoked Turkey Brine

Smoked Turkey Brine

This honey-bourbon brine is perfect for smoked turkeys. It imparts just a little bit of sweet and a little bourbon flavor to the finished product. Of course, you can use this brine on a grilled or baked turkey as well. Amp up your holiday turkeys with this fantastic wet brine!
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Marinades/Brines
Cuisine: American BBQ
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 1 gallon


  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups bourbon
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups honey
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 3 oranges quartered
  • 4-5 whole bay leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • Large stock pot
  • 1 large baking bag


  • In a large stockpot, combine water, bourbon, honey, and salt over medium heat, until the salt has completely dissolved. Remove from heat, and let the mixture cool completely. If you need to cool it down more, place prepared ice packs into the solution, do not add ice pieces directly into the brine. Once cooled stir in additional ingredients.
  • Place large baking bag into a second stockpot or large container, and place turkey inside. Pour brine over top. Seal or tie bag and place into refrigerator (or a cold space), for 12-24 hours.
  • Once brined, remove turkey from solution and rinse off under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out, apply seasoning rub (sans salt), and cook as directed. Discard any remaining brine.
  • You can prepare the brine 24 hours in advance to give the flavors a chance to combine. Store sealed in the refrigerator until ready to use on the bird.


Photo by Austin Matherne/Flickr
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