Brined & Smoked Turkey

November 02, 2015


How to treat your fresh heritage turkey:

Tejas Heritage Farm recommends that you get your fresh turkey (not frozen) at least 5 days in advance so it can rest and brine before smoking.

Remove the turkey from its plastic wrap. Place it on a rack in a large container, tent it with foil (to avoid cross-contamination) and put it in the fridge. Let the turkey rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours.



Dissolve 1 cup of kosher salt per gallon of water. Add 2–3 tablespoons of brown sugar, plus aromatics you like: rosemary, bay leaf, peppercorns, for instance. Brine for 36–48 hours. After brining, rinse the bird thoroughly and dry on a rack in a roasting pan for another 24 hours. Dry the bird with paper towels. No additional seasoning is needed.


Smoke at 180°F. for 6–12 hours, depending on size. Using an instant-read thermometer, take the temperature between thigh and breast. When the temperature has reached 160°, take the turkey off. Loosely tent turkey and rest it for about an hour.

Find more tips on how to prepare heritage poultry on


  • kosher salt
  • brown sugar
  • rosemary
  • bay leaf
  • peppercorns
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