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Mike's Famous Thanksgiving Turkey

by Ali Juten on Nov 17, 2021

Mike's Famous Thanksgiving Turkey


When people think about Thanksgiving, they often think about food, family, friends and football. But, I'd argue that they mainly think of the food, namely the turkey. In my experience, if you can nail cooking the turkey, you'll have happy (and tired) house guests. That said, here is SSP's own tried and true Thanksgiving Turkey recipe.

Mike's Famous Thanksgiving Turkey


  • Turkey
  • 2 beers 
  • 4 sticks butter
  • grapefruit
  • 1 onion
  • Fresh garlic
  • Thyme
  • 4 cups Kosher or Pickling Salt
  • 2 Gallons Cold Water 
  • Pepper
  • Dried Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Garlic powder


  1. Brine your turkey! 4 cups kosher salt dissolved in 2 gallons of cold water. Brine your bird for 1 hour per pound.  So a 12 pound turkey would need 12 hour of brine time. Or just brine overnight in the refrigerator. Your turkey will retain the moisture and juices during cooking.
  2. After Brining, rinse both the cavity and skin under cool running water for a few minutes to ensure all traces of salt are gone. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels.
  3. Place turkey on meat rack set in refrigerator overnight, uncovered
    and air dry for at least 8 hours or overnight. (this helps the skin become crispy)
  4. Inject the bird meat all over with a mixture of 4 sticks melted butter and 1 beer. Rub the outside of the turkey with salt, pepper, dried thyme, rosemary, sage and garlic powder. (the second beer is to be used in preparation by the cook if desired)
  5. Then stuff with equal quarters of a grapefruit, and onion, fresh garlic and thyme and loosely place into the turkey's cavity. Packing the turkey too tightly with stuffing will prevent turkey from cooking evenly. Truss closed with string.
  6. Get smoker warmed up to about 250-300 degrees with any fruit wood I prefer prune plum, but apple, plum or cherry all work great.  Soak chips in water for 30 minutes before smoking.  
  7. Place turkey in middle of smoker with an in oven thermometer in the thickest portion of a leg. Don’t open smoker any more than absolutely needed during cooking. Remove and let rest carve and serve.
  8. Cooking time is 2.5-3 hours depending on the weight of the bird
  9. Always save the turkey carcass for making turkey broth. Bring to boil in large pot, reduce heat to simmer for about an hour, strain.

Don't forget to Brown the giblets in skillet add to broth to make giblet gravy.


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