Divine Dinner Party

Smoked Turkey Recipe Ideas:
Brine for Smoked Turkey and More!

The truth is, you don't really need a special smoked turkey recipe for a wonderful, moist, and flavorful holiday turkey. Smoked turkey tastes good however you make it!

But that doesn't mean that a few additions to your normal process for smoking a turkey can't improve it. With the right brine for smoked turkey, or a spice rub, or some veggies stuffed in the turkey cavity, you can elevate a great smoked turkey to a phenomenal one.

On this page, you'll find several recipes for spice rubs and brine for smoked turkey. You'll also find a few recipes (like smoked turkey pate or pot pie) for using an already-cooked smoked turkey, whether purchased or made at home. This is smoked turkey recipe central!

But if what you're really looking for is step-by-step instructions on how to smoke a turkey, you'll find them right here. You can also find directions on cooking a purchased smoked turkey here.

My Smoked Turkey Recipe Collection: Brines and Rubs

A Smoked Turkey Recipe on the SmokerHere, you'll find everything you need to elevate your normal smoked turkey recipe to a whole new plane. These are some of my favorite spice rubs and brines for smoked turkey, and result in a ton of flavor, lots of moisture, and a perfectly-cooked bird.

Again, check this page for instructions on how to smoke the turkey once you've used any of these spice rubs or brines for smoked turkey.

Apple-Ginger Brine for Smoked Turkey

This is such a wonderful smoked turkey recipe-- it's simple, it's moist, and it's full of the flavors of autumn. Perfect for a Thanksgiving dinner or other special fall meal.

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8 C. apple juice or cider
1 lb. light brown sugar
1 C. kosher salt
3 quarts water
3 unpeeled navel oranges, washed well and sliced thickly
1/2 C. thinly sliced fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves

Instructions: 1. In a large, non-reactive saucepan or a microwave-safe bowl, stir together the apple cider, sugar, and salt. Simmer on the stove or heat in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until sugar and salt are dissolved. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature.

2. In a large brining bucket, stir together the apple cider mixture and all of the remaining ingredients.

3. Insert the turkey neck-cavity-down into the brine (you may have to weight it if it wants to float). Brine in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove and dry completely before using your favorite smoked turkey recipe (or check here for how to smoke a turkey).

4. Hint: A good smoked turkey recipe to use with hickory wood pieces.

Simple Honey Brine for Smoked Turkey

I love, love, love this recipe for a smoked turkey brine, which was created by Alton Brown. The brine creates a wonderful, slightly sweet flavor that balances perfectly with a smoky turkey. It's also a flexible recipe, flavor-wise, and works just as well with a smoked turkey rubbed with Cajun spices as one rubbed with, say, just a bit of rosemary. It suits any smoked turkey recipe!

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1 gallon hot water
1 lb . (16 oz.) kosher salt
8 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. honey
1 large bag of ice (you'll need about 7 lbs.)

Instructions: 1. In a large cooler or brining bucket, stir together the hot water and the kosher salt until well combined.

2. Add the broth and honey. Stir well, until honey dissolves.

3. Dump in the bag of ice and stir until brine is cooled.

4. Add turkey neck-cavity-side-down (or breast side up in a cooler), cover, and brine in the refrigerator (if you use a cooler and plenty of ice, you don't need to refrigerate-- a big bonus!) about 12 hours.

5. Let dry before using a spice rub like the ones below or your own favorite smoked turkey recipe.

Smoked Turkey Spice Rub Recipe

I think the flavor of this spice rub recipe for smoked turkey is deep, wonderful, and a beautiful companion to the smoky flavor of a smoked turkey. Be sure to use fresh herbs for the best result. And if you have a smallish turkey, you may be able to fit only one onion in the cavity for this smoked turkey recipe instead of two-- that's fine.

Hint: To make this, I often simply process the first six ingredients in the food processor to get a paste before adding the rest-- works great!

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1/2 C. grated (or finely minced) onion
2 tbsp. finely minced or pressed garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp. black pepper
3 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 C. olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chunked
1 lg. sprig of fresh rosemary

Instructions: 1. Mix together the first six ingredients. Add the oil and stir to make a paste. Set aside.

2. With a thin, sharp knife make one-inch-long slits in the turkey right down to the bone. You'll want these all over the breast and thighs.

3. Rub the turkey with your herb mixture, being sure to pack plenty of the rub down into the holes you've created.

4. Place the onions and rosemary sprigs into the cavity of your turkey.

5. Smoke the turkey using your favorite smoked turkey recipe or the instructions on this page.

Recipe Ideas for a Smoked Turkey

Do you already have a smoked turkey and want some tips on cooking it? Find instructions for cooking a pre-cooked smoked turkey here. But if you have your turkey already smoked and cooked and ready to go, or you've got a bunch of smoked turkey leftovers sitting around, you might need some smoked turkey recipe ideas.

Some of my favorite things to put cooked, smoked turkey in are:

  • Sandwiches or Wraps
  • Pasta Topping
  • Soups
  • Sausage
  • Salads
  • Stuffed Vegetables (Squash, etc.)

Or if you want some fun ideas of ways to use your smoked turkey leftovers, some of the fun smoked turkey recipes below may just fit the bill.

Smoked Turkey Pate Recipe

Delicious Smoked Turkey Pate RecipeI love the idea of using this pate as a Thanksgiving appetizer. If you don't want to cook a whole smoked turkey recipe for your special meal (or, in fact, if you do) this is a good way to spark your guests' craving for the turkey to come.

You can find some more ideas for Thanksgiving appetizers here!

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1 C minced, cooked smoked turkey
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp. softened butter (salted)
1 clove minced garlic
3/4 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
2 tbsp. wood aged brandy
Sliced raw apples, for garnish
Fresh lemon juice, for apples

Instructions: 1. Put everything but apple slices and lemon into the blender or food processor and blend until you get a smooth, spreadable consistency.

2. Refrigerate the mixture for several hours (at least 4, but best overnight) so the flavors evolve.

3. Dip the apple slices in lemon-water to keep them from browning. Lay them out decoratively in circle around the bowl of pate (along with crackers and bread slices) and enjoy!

Traditional Pot Pie with Smoked Turkey Recipe

Traditional Smoked Turkey Potpie RecipeThis recipe makes a hale and hearty lunch or dinner from your smoked turkey leftovers. You can make your own crust, but I like to use this frozen pie crust recipe.

This recipe can also be made with regular turkey if you want to use other turkey leftovers. Or chicken! It's great any way you make it.

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2x 9" pie crusts (for a double-crust pie)
2 C. turkey or chicken broth
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 C. chopped onion
1/2 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. sliced carrots
1/4 lb. smoked turkey, diced
1 C. potatoes cubed
1/2 C. frozen peas, thawed
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp. fresh minced parsley

Instructions: 1. Put one of the pie crusts in the bottom of the pie plate and trim the edges.

2. In a large saucepan, cook the onion, celery, and carrots in the butter until onion is translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook one minute more.

3. Stir in the chicken broth and remaining vegetables. Simmer, covered, until veggies are nearly fork tender. Once the vegetables are nearly fork tender, add salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley.

4. Cool slightly, then transfer into the pie plate and cover it with the 2nd crust. Use a fork to make steam holes then cook according to your pie crust's recipe until the crust is golden brown.

Crockpot Smoked Turkey Legs Recipe

Sometimes you can get a bunch of pre-smoked turkey legs very cheaply. When that happens, you can use this simple crockpot smoked turkey recipe for a main meal-- really delicious!

You can also use one of these recipes for smoked turkey drumsticks to make this one-dish meal.

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1 turkey leg per person
Flour, as needed to dust turkey
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 C. chicken or turkey broth (more as needed)
1 carrot per person
1 parsnip per person
1 med. sweet potato per person

Instructions: 1. Shake the turkey legs in flour seasoned with salt and pepper until lightly coated.

2. Cut the carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips in half.

3. Place everything into the slow cooker with about 1/2 cup of water or broth.

4. Cook on low for about 3.5 hours until the vegetables are tender. Most of the broth will evaporate during cooking and the meat will fall off the bones.

5. Serve this smoked turkey recipe on a bed of wild rice if desired.

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You Might Also Like...

Need some more smoked turkey recipe help? Learn all about smoking a turkey at:

How to Smoke a Turkey


Turkey Smoking 101

Cute Decorative Turkey

Cooking a Whole Turkey
or Some Drumsticks?

Free Holiday Turkey Recipe Guide to How to Cook a Turkey

If it's a fat bird with a beard (no, I don't mean your Aunt Marjorie), we can help you cook it. Click on the icon above or click here to get started with recipes and tips on how to cook a turkey for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any time of year.

Coming Up...

Hippity, Hoppity,
Easter's on its Way

The date for Easter falls on April 20th this year!

Take a look at Easter Dinner and Party Planning for recipes, edd dye tips, assembling Easter baskets, and more!

And plan to make this adorable...

It's so cute, it may be the best thing you do this Easter.


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After all, what better way to pass on your knowledge than to share it with other hosts and hostesses?

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