This is the most complete and delicious recipe for you to Brine your Bird, Make a Butter Rub and Smoke a Turkey on your Big Green Egg! This recipe is based on a 10# Turkey to smoke, but you can use any size that your Egg will hold.
On the Turkey selection a couple things are important. First make sure to get a fresh bird – not Frozen. The “Fresh” Turkeys are flash frozen but only have a thin layer of ice, instead of frozen solid like the “Frozen” Turkeys. It is ideal to get your Turkey a day early and refrigerate it until your brine is prepared.
First cook the Brine and Turkey Butter. Refrigerate both.
Maple Whiskey Brine Recipe
1/2 gal apple cider and 750 ml of Whiskey (Jack of Course)
1 gal water (and add water if you need to in order to submerge the bird in the brine)
Pro Tip: if you make 3 gallons of brine increase the Water – not the Cider or whiskey. You’ll the whiskey to drink if you’re smoking a turkey that large to deal with your guests!
Bring the Brine Mixture to a Boil then add the below.
2 cups kosher salt (Pro Tip: Salt and Sugars below are in proportion of 1:1 cup/gallon finished brine. EX. 3 gallons of Brine need 3 cups of Salt and Sugar)
1 cup white sugar, 1 cup of Dark Brown Sugar (Substitute for the Dark Brown is Dark Molasses in the 16oz. size)
Orange Peel Zest from 3 oranges per 3 pounds of Turkey
Also added some Rosemary and Thyme and a good bit of cracked black peppercorns.
Chill the Brine (Pro Tip: use an ice bath to expedite chilling) to let the spices combine.
To Brine it – Submerge bird in bag for 16 – 24 hours. Make sure the entire bird is submerged even if you need to put a brick on it to keep it from floating (ziplock bag the brick).
Turkey Butter Rub
Take herbs (thyme, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne, and salt/pepper) and put them into a few sticks melted butter. (Pro Tip: Pour into small paper cups the fridge to harden.) Thanks to @elysewelch for this!
Once your Turkey is Brined, Rinse very well and pat dry with paper towels.
Then you take that once hardened butter and rub on top and underneath the skin between meat and skin as the grill is heating up. Unlikely that you will use the entire Butter Rub so save the rest to float in the water pan (below).
The Big Green Egg – this is actually the easy part!
Set up your BGE normally with Lump charcoal and about a 1/2 dozen Pecan Wood Chunks on top once the fire is lit.
Install the Place Setter, legs up (Pro Tip: make sure one of the legs is centered between the lid hinge this is the hottest part of the BGE and this will diffuse that extreme heat), on top sits an aluminum lasagna pan full of water and what’s left of your Butter Rub, then grill rack on top. (Pro Tip: use hot tap water to help stabilize the EGG temp faster.) Stabilize at 245. It’s important to bring temp up slowly – not fast – lest you heat it too hot, then it’s hard to bring back down.
To prepare the Brined, Rubbed Turkey to smoke, fold the wings up under the neck, tie the legs together and place on grill rack breast up with the neck near the hinge, legs near the handle. (Pro Tip: Allow 20 mn/lb for smaller birds, up to 30 mn/lb for larger birds).
DON’T OPEN THE EGG.
This is really the easiest part of the entire process – don’t cave to the temptation, just leave it closed.
Smoke-cook the turkey until Meat Temp in the breast hits 165 degrees.
Remove and let rest and bird should continue to cook to 175 degrees.
Wrap in aluminum foil then towels and place in a cooler and allow to settle for a up to a few hours.
Once you remove it from the foil, let it settle for 1/2 hour before you carve it – that seems to let the juices settle and the flavors steep.