Montana Grills

Recipes - Poultry - Apple-Brined Turkey


  • 1 12 lbs turkey
  • 1 quartered sweet onion
  • 1 quartered baking apple
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • canola oil (for brushing the turkey)
  • 1 gal unsweetened apple cider
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 2 tbsp candied ginger pieces
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp cracked allspice berries
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 gal ice cold water
  • 1 quartered orange
  • 2 brining bags
  • cotton string
  • 1 toothpick
  • 4 cups Hickory Smoking Chips soaked in apple juice for about 5 minutes


Combine ½ gallon of apple cider with the sea salt, brown sugar, candied ginger pieces, peppercorns, allspice berries, cloves and anise in a large stock pot and bring to a boil, stirring until all of the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the remaining apple cider and the ice water. Place the brine in the refrigerator to cool if necessary.

Discard the giblets and neck from the turkey. Rinse and pat dry. Place the quartered orange in the cavity. Place one brining bag inside the other. Working in a large roasting pan or a clean sink, place the turkey inside the inner bag breast-side-down and then fill with the brining solution. Squeeze out all the air and seal the bags, one inside the other, ensuring the turkey is completely submerged. Place the bagged turkey inside a large stock pot to help keep the turkey fully submerged. Brine the turkey in the refrigerator overnight.

Prepare your grill for indirect cooking between 275° F and 325° F. Place the smoking chips in your Smokerin™ smoker box. Place the smoker box directly on the cooking surface above the fire, or place it on top of the burner deflectors below the cooking surface and above the burner. If using a charcoal grill light the coals on one half the grill and let it burn just until the coals are covered with gray ash and very hot. When the grill is ready, add some of the soaked smoking chips. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat thoroughly dry with paper towel. Place the onion, apple and cinnamon stick inside the cavity, and then tie the legs together with a cotton string. Pull the skin over the neck opening and secure with a toothpick. Set the turkey on a roasting rack inside a heavy-gauge foil pan. Brush turkey lightly with oil.

Set the turkey in the pan on the cooking grate in the indirect cooking zone. Pour 1 cup water into the pan. Close the grill and cook over medium heat. To maintain an even temperature, add more charcoal regularly (usually a few pieces every half hour or so). Continue adding smoking chips as desired.

Check the turkey periodically, you may want to cover the wing tips and/or the whole turkey to prevent the skin from getting too brown. The turkey is done when its juices run clear and the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh is about 170° F. Estimate about 12 to 14 minutes per pound, typically 2½ to 3 hours. Remove the turkey from the grill, cover loosely with foil and let stand 15 minutes (The temperature will rise 5° F - 10° F as the turkey rests). Carve the turkey and serve on a warm platter.