Ingredients (for the brine):

2 cups water
3/4 cup salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 sprigs sage
4 sprigs thyme
1 garlic bulb, split in half
5 white peppercorns
3 bay leaves
2 gallons ice water
1, 10 – 14 lb turkey, giblets & neck removed

Method (Brining)

  • In a saucepan, combine 2 cups water, salt & sugar. Place over medium-high heat. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. If it starts to boil, lower the temperature.
  • Add the sage, thyme, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves and cook 3 minutes.
  • In a large container, combine the ice water and the hot mixture. Stir with a large spoon. Liquid should be ice cold.
  • Place the turkey into the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • Remove the turkey into the brine and in a colander with the legs facing down to drain excess brine. Brine can be discarded.
  • Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry.
  • Place the turkey on a cutting board and debone, leaving you with two breast and two leg quarters, two full wings, and the carcass.

Ingredients (for smoking & cooking the turkey):

4 Tbsp olive oil
White pepper

Method (Cooking)

  • Preheat the oven to 300°.
  • If you are using a smoker, heat it to 220°. If you are using a grill, set it to the lowest setting on one side and add wood chips. Keep the opposite side turned off.
  • Rub the turkey breast and quarters with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the breast and leg quarters to your smoker or grill and smoke for 30 minutes. If using a grill, place turkey on the side that is turned off.
  • Remove the turkey from the smoker or grill and place on separate sheet trays, one for the legs and one for the breasts. Wrap the turkey breast and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  • Place the turkey legs in the oven and cook for 1 hour. Add the turkey breast to the oven and cook for 45 minutes. This way, both come out of the oven at the same time.
  • Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes.
  • Turn oven temperature down to 180°.
  • Pull the meat off of the legs and place on a tray and keep warm.
  • Slice the turkey breast into 1/4-inch thick slices and keep warm.
  • Place the turkey in the oven just to keep warm. Only do this if you are not ready to serve.

For the natural jus:


turkey bones & wings
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup leeks, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1 garlic bulb, skin removed & cut in half
5 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs sage
4 sprigs thyme
4 each bay leaves
10 each white peppercorns
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 Tbsp chives, minced


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place turkey bones and wing segments evenly in a roasting pan.
  • Roast the bones for 1 hour. Move the bones around and roast for another 20 minutes. Remove the bones from the oven and add the bones to a large stockpot (16 qt or larger).
  • Pour off the fat.
  • Deglaze the pan by adding 2 cups of water to the pan. Place back in the oven for 3-4 minutes, then remove the pan and scrape the bottom with a metal spatula to loosen the fond. Add this to the stockpot.
  • Cover the bones with cold water. Add the onions, leeks, celery, carrots and garlic to the stockpot.
  • Top off the mirepoix with the parsley, sage, thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns.
  • Place the stockpot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. As the water begins to simmer, a scum will start to form at the top. This needs to be removed. Pull the stockpot slightly off the heat. This will allow a slow convective movement that moves the scum to one side of the pot for easy removal. Continue skimming frequently. Cook the stock for 3 hours.
  • Turn off the heat to the stockpot and allow it to cool slowly. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into another large stockpot. Place the stockpot with the stock in it back on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Continue to skim the scum and fat off of the top.
  • Remove meat from wings. This meat is great to use in cornbread stuffing.
  • Reduce the stock by 3/4. This will take about 3 hours. The stock should have a light body.
  • When the stock is reduced, season to taste with salt & pepper.
  • Using an immersion blender, add the butter. Finished with the chives.
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