Holiday Smoked Turkey with Smoked Butter Injection Recipe

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The Brine

Pour the cold water into a large bucket. Pour the salt into the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Once the salt has dissolved, pour boiling salt water into the bucket of cold water.
Add the 2 cups of Jim Beam Bourbon, black peppercorns, maple syrup, apple cider and fresh sage. Stir and set aside.

Remove the neck and giblets from the inside of the turkey (if necessary). Rinse the turkey, neck and giblets under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, neck and giblets into bucket of water, making sure that the turkey is completely submerged. You may need to weigh the turkey down to keep it submerged.

Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours or up to 36 hours for a much larger turkey. Remove the turkey, neck and giblets from the brine, discarding left over brine. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Return to refrigerator and allow to air dry, unwrapped, for 2-3 hours.

Time to Smoke

Set up your Bradley Smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions and set smoker temperature to 230 F. Rub the turkey, inside and out, with the Amarillo Chili Cinnamon Rub.
Place turkey, neck and giblets onto Rack and place in smoker. Insert thermometer probe into the thickest part of the turkey thigh, making sure not to touch the bone, and set for an internal temperature of 180 º F.

Smoke turkey for approximately 5-6 hours. Once the turkey is in the smoker, take frozen butter and place it into a metal bowl or container. Place in the smoker, allowing to smoke and melt completely. Yes we’re smoking butter!

Tip:Use  frozen butter so that it does not melt so rapidly and it allows the smoke to infuse into the butter, a layer at a time, giving you a sweet smoky butter.

Remove turkey and melted smoked butter from the smoker. Add a 1/2 cup of Jim Beam Bourbon to the butter and return butter mixture to the smoker, smoking for approximately 5-10 minutes.
Remove butter from smoker again and, using an injection syringe, suck up any of the juices that have accumulated in the turkey’s cavity and add it to the butter mixture. Stir well. Then using the injection syringe, inject the turkey with the butter mixture in a variety of spots. Return turkey to smoker.

Note: I suggest 3-4 injections per breast and thigh. Continue to smoke turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 º F.

Remove turkey from smoker and, using a basting brush, brush turkey with any juices that have accumulated in the cavity, along with additional butter mixture. Allow turkey to rest for approximately 10-20 minutes, covered loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.

Carve and serve. Dig In!

Serves 6-8


  • 1 large bucket (big enough to hold a 12-15 pound turkey)
  • 1 Bradley Smoker Rack
  • 1 thermometer probe
  • 1 metal bowl or container
  • 1 injection syringe
  • 1 basting brush Amarillo Chili Cinnamon Rub
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Amarillo chili powder (Note: If you cannot find this you can substitute with your favourite chili)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt Smoked Turkey
  • 2 gallons cold water
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups + 1/2 cup Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1 fresh turkey (about 12-15 pounds) (Note: If using a frozen turkey you must thaw it prior to brining.)
  • 1/4 cup Amarillo Chili Cinnamon Rub (recipe above)
  • 1 pound butter, frozen


In a bowl, combine freshly ground black pepper, cinnamon, chili powder and kosher salt. Set aside. Makes 1/2 cup.

Recipe by: Ted Reader