Dry brining and smoking are hands down our two favorite methods to cook a turkey. We are team dry brine over wet brine for a few reasons, one of them being: dry brining helps boost the flavor and retain moisture throughout the cook without forcing you to become a creative genius about how to keep a large, heavy container full of salty turkey water refrigerated for days. Unless you have a walk-in refrigerator, who can do this? This method will give you a simple, tasty, and succulent turkey!

Total Time: 2-3 days
Servings: 8-12


  • 12-16 lb Turkey, giblets removed
  • 3 Tbsp coarse Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1½ Tbsp Fresh Parsley, minced
  • 1½ Tbsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Zest from 2 Lemons
  • ½ cup Butter
  • Hardwood Smoking Pellets

Chef's Tip

Do I need to rinse the dry brine off?

No! Rinsing it defeats the purpose of a dry brine. You want your skin to stay nice and dried out to ensure you get the crispiest skin and the most flavorful meat. 


  1. Two days before you plan on cooking your turkey is the time to begin the dry brining process – make sure your turkey is ALREADY THAWED at this point! 
  2. Remove the turkey from the fridge, remove giblets from the cavity, rinse in cold water and pat dry. 
  3. Gently loosen the skin over the breast and legs by working your hands under and separating the membrane there. 
  4. In a small bowl combine salt, sugar, black pepper, lemon zest, parsley, and garlic. Rub this mixture all over the bird, including some under the skin and a little dash into the cavity as well. Set the turkey into a roasting pan or other deep sided pan and refrigerate uncovered for 1-2 days. Pour off any liquid from the bottom of the pan periodically. 
  5. Remove turkey from the fridge about an hour before smoke time to allow it to come to room temp.
  6. Brush about half the butter all over the turkey, tie the legs together with twine, and place turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan.
  7. Set the temperature on your pellet grill to 225˚ F and preheat, lid closed for 15 minutes.
  8. Place the turkey on the pellet grill and smoke for 2½ – 3 hours.
  9. Increase grill temp to 350˚ F, brush with remaining melted butter, and continue to cook for 3½ – 4 more hours, or until the thickest part of the breast reaches an internal temp of 165˚ F.
  10. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. 
  11. Enjoy!

*Keep a spray bottle of water handy in case of flare-ups.

Used in this recipe:

Hardwood Smoking Pellets