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The Best Turkey

My favorite and least favorite part of the Thanksgiving is always the turkey. It all depends on how it's cooked. Is it dry and tasteless or is it juicy and flavorful? This recipe will guarantee that your turkey will always be the best part of your feast!

This bird is brined, rubbed, and then smoked (or roasted). It is best smoked, but you can use the same recipe for roasting it in an oven as well. Just follow the same temperature recommendations with your oven.

Prep Time: 20 MINUTES

Cook Time: 4 HOURS


  • 1 (16-pound) fresh, whole, bone-in skin-on turkey, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium orange, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium lemon, cut into wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 large bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (or ground black pepper)
  • 1 ½ gallons of cold water
  • 1 cup of bourbon (optional)
  • ½ cup Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub, divided
  • ½ pound unsalted butter, softened


Step 1 - The day before cooking, brine the turkey according to the following instructions:

  • Place the salt into a large stockpot along with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
  • Add onion, orange, and lemon wedges to the pot, along with garlic, bay leaves, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper.
  • Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add 1 gallon of cold water and bourbon (optional.)
  • Refrigerate until completely cooled (about an hour.)
  • Place turkey in a large, sanitized 5-gallon bucket breast side down.
  • Pour the cool brine mixture over the turkey (adding more water if needed) until the turkey is submerged.
  • Refrigerate for at least 8 hours (up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.)

[Note: You can use a shortcut here by buying the Traeger Orange Brine and Turkey Rub Kit.]

Step 2 - Butter and season the turkey according to the following directions:

  • Remove the turkey and discard the brine.
  • Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and place it in a roasting pan.
  • Season the inside cavity with two tablespoons of the rub.
  • Use your hands to carefully separate the turkey skin from the meat over the breasts, creating a pocket.
  • Spread the softened butter under the skin and over the breasts in an even layer about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Season the outside of the turkey with the remaining rub.

Step 3 - Transfer the turkey to the refrigerator uncovered to rest for at least 1-2 hours.

Step 4 - Remove the turkey from the refrigerator. Truss the legs and tuck the wing tips underneath the bird.

Step 5 - Cook the turkey according to the following directions:

  • When ready to cook, preheat the grill (or oven) to 225℉. [Note: If smoking, use hickory or applewood (or a combination of both) for the best results.]
  • Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast, and place the roasting pan on the rack.
  • Close the lid and cook until the internal temperature reaches approximately 100-110℉ (about 2 hours.)
  • Increase the temperature to 350℉ and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160℉, checking every 30 minutes after the grill temperature is increased (about 3-4 hours, depending on the size of the bird.)

Step 6 - Remove the bird from the grill and let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving. (The internal temperature will continue to rise to reach a finished temperature of 165°F.)

Step 7 - Enjoy!


What Our Customers Are Saying

Agnes Felicia
Agnes Felicia
Arclight did exterior painting on our house. Shawn did our initial appointment and he explained about how they would do the job and what makes them different than others. He is very detailed and humble that my husband was hooked and did not want to choose other company although there are other companies with lower bids, but you’ll get what you’ll pay for. Jean and his team did the actual work and they were courteous and always gave us update. They had to climb tall ladder because we have 3 stories house and they did couple patch on our doors and walls. Overall, we can recommend Arclight for your painting needs.
Tana Ingersoll
Tana Ingersoll
Arclight just completed a full exterior job on our home and we couldn't be happier with their service, the quality work and the value. The house looks like a brand new home!
Mary King
Mary King
We were very pleased with the work and professionalism of the Arclight team. They were thorough, tidy, and not intrusive at all.
Canice Poon
Canice Poon
Thanks Stanley and team! I have no idea what I’m doing with house maintenance so it was great to have you coming by after the paint dried and checked that everything looked up to your standards. I won’t forget your statement of “well that’s not going to sell” and making sure you had a chance to come back and fix the issues you saw. Of course getting it in the first visit is nice, but having a professional check things over makes me trust your team a lot. Highly recommended!
Adam Lamb
Adam Lamb
We had a really good experience with our client. He did a professional job on time and on budget.
George Monica
George Monica
The guys who worked on my project were great!
Anand Sankar Bhagavandas
Anand Sankar Bhagavandas
Excellent and professional service.
Mark Pepitone
Mark Pepitone
We are really happy with the job Arclight did with the exterior paint on our house. We did schedule the job out for a year, which was really helpful. Throughout the job, they were very honest, had a good eye for detail, and were quick to touch up even after the job was completed. They also have a 5-year warranty on their work, which makes me feel really confident in their work.
Dave (OV)
Dave (OV)
Just got an exterior job done by Dan, Colby/Cody from the Arclight team. They were respectful, detail oriented and communicative throughout the several days work. Our neighbor was also impressed with their diligence and hard work and meticulous nature as they stripped the weather and wear from some of the wood exterior before coating and refreshing it for the next few years. They did work on our cedar fences to brighten things up from the dull gray wear over the last few years of winter rains. Clean up and walk-through was efficient and thorough, which they did to make sure we were fully satisfied with the work. Highly recommended and will seek them out again in the future for any interior or exterior painting needs.
Kathleen Cissell
Kathleen Cissell
I highly recommend Arclight Painting for your exterior home. They did a wonderful job of upgrading our paint job, including trim and 2 coats everywhere. Our house is two story on a hill, so they did a lot of ladder climbing. We are so grateful we did not need to climb ladders ourselves! They were always on time, kept us informed at all times of the schedule, did exceptional masking and preparation work, and were good to clean up afterwards. In other words, practically perfect! Thanks, Arclight painters!


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