Smoked Turkey on the Big Green Egg

Once you smoke a turkey on the Big Green Egg, there’s no going back. It maximises flavour and moisture, while imparting a subtle flavour of apple or pecan smoke throughout. (You can use any flavoured smoking chips, but we find apple and pecan suit poultry best.) Another benefit: You can free up your oven to cook more dishes for your feast. For this recipe, you’ll need a bag of smoking chips and a roasting pan fitted with a rack. This recipe, adapted from Big Green Egg, is ideal for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Makes 1 whole turkey


5 litres water
100g brown sugar
Rind of 1 orange
3 sprigs rosemary
250g sea salt
3 yellow onions
1 head of garlic
2 lemons
1 whole turkey
10 sprigs thyme
10 sprigs sage
1 potato
Chopped root vegetables, optional*
60ml olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder

Method: Brining

  1. Brine your turkey for at least 12 hours before cooking it on the Big Green Egg. To brine, pour water into a bowl and add brown sugar, orange rind, rosemary, and salt. Mix until sugar and salt dissolve. Cut one lemon and two onions into quarters. Cut the head of garlic in half (skin on). Add these to the brine.
  2. Remove the giblets from inside the turkey and rinse well. Place the turkey in a large sealable plastic bag or any container that is large enough to hold the turkey and the liquid. Pour the brine over the turkey, making sure it’s completely covered. Refrigerate for 12 hours (and no more than 18), turning occasionally, and remove turkey from the fridge at least two hours before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

Method: Cooking

  1. One hour before cooking the turkey, soak apple or pecan chips in water. You want at least two handfuls initially; to increase the smokiness, add more chips to the charcoal as the turkey cooks. When you are ready to cook, set the EGG for indirect cooking at 163°C, sprinkle smoking chips over charcoal, and add your convEGGtor to the fire ring.
  2. Remove turkey from the brine, rinse well, and pat dry with kitchen towels. Discard the brining liquid and solids. Cut the remaining lemon into quarters. Peel and quarter the remaining onion. Chop one potato. Stuff them into the turkey with the remaining half of garlic, thyme, and sage. Brush the turkey with olive oil and season with pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Scatter root vegetables on a roasting pan; or leave empty. Set a roasting rack on the pan and place the turkey on it. For each kg of turkey, cook the bird for 26 minutes, until a thermometer stuck into the turkey reads 74°C (check this in a few different parts of the bird). To ensure even results, turn the turkey halfway through cooking. If desired, top up smoking chips as the bird cooks. If you notice it browning too much, tent the turkey with foil. When done, remove the turkey from the EGG and place on a carving board to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. Mix vegetables and plate or pour out drippings to use for gravy.

BK Tips

  • Have leftovers? Use it as a filling in a pie, or saute it with pancetta, torn bread (or stuffing), and Brussels sprouts for a hash.