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Barrel Smoked Turkey for Thanksgiving

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoked Turkey for the Holidays

Thanksgiving is upon us and as tradition would have it here in America, turkey is the preferred meat of choice. In this recipe/instructional I not only want to show you a better way to brine the holiday bird but we'll be using a Pit Barrel Cooker.
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 Whole Turkey (Fresh, minimally processed, 12-14 lbs recommended)
  • 2 TBS Kosher Salt (Coarse)
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Bottle Jeff's Original Rub ((about ½ cup))


  • Dry brine the turkey by sprinkling kosher salt evenly over the breast, legs, wings and back of the turkey. Total salt usage should be about 2 TBS. Place the turkey in the fridge uncovered for about 8 hours or overnight.
  • Mix together 1 cup of mayonnaise with about ½ bottle of Jeff's original rub (½ cup).
  • Make sure the turkey is nice and dry then apply the mayonnaise/rub mixture all over the outside of the turkey. Get some under the skin wherever possible.
  • Set up Pit Barrel Cooker according to directions in manual. If using a regular smoker, set it up to cook at about 240°F using indirect heat.
  • Place the turkey in the Pit Barrel using hooks or the special turkey hanger. You can also just set it on the included grate if you prefer.
  • Let the turkey cook in the PBC for approximately 4 hours or until a thermometer reads 165°F in the thickest part of the breast or thigh. If you are cooking at a lower temperature such as 240°F using a normal smoker, the time will be closer to 6 or 7 hours.
  • When the turkey reaches the finish temperature, remove it from the cooker/smoker and let it rest under foil for about 20 minutes before carving.
  • Enjoy!


I recommend a 12-14 lb bird for best results. It is usually better to cook multiple birds of this size rather than a single larger one.
For reference, a 12 pound turkey will feed about 6 people with a few leftovers.