2 ratings

Maple-Brined Turkey


Cookbook author Anna Maria de Freitas brings a little of her San Juan heritage to her brined and smoked turkey with dried chile flakes and a hint of sweetness. She recommends a Japanese Kamado smoker for this recipe, but even just roasted, the maple syrup brine does the bird justice.


  • 2 Cups brown sugar
  • 1 Cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 Cups coarse salt
  • 3 heads garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled, and smashed
  • 6 large bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 Cup coarsely chopped, unpeeled ginger
  • 2 Teaspoons dried chile flakes
  • 1 1/2 Cup soy sauce
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • One 15-pound turkey


This brine should be made in advance, as it needs to be cool before adding the turkey.

Mix all of the ingredients in large pot that will eventually fit the turkey. Simmer for 1 hour. Cool completely and then add turkey. Add additional water to completely cover bird. Place in the refrigerator and brine for 48-72 hours prior to cooking. Turn turkey twice a day.

If you're smoking your turkey, soak mesquite chips for 30 minutes and then wrap in aluminum foil. Poke holes in the foil. When coals are hot, place chips in aluminum over coals. Each smoker is a bit different so follow manufacturers directions for cooking.

Smoke the turkey until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees, about 5 hours at 200 degrees, and outside skin is deep mahogany brown. Set on counter for 30 minutes before slicing.