"I took over cooking the family Thanksgiving about 10 years ago," says Test Kitchen Professional John Somerall. "We typically do two turkeys every year, one smoked and the other roasted. I like to smoke one for two reasons: I just love the flavor, and it gives me an excuse to be outside and escape the family for a little bit while everything is baking in the ovens. We have a huge whiskey-and-bourbon tasting after lunch. Everybody brings a bottle, and we all share them and talk about what we're thankful for."
This Thanksgiving, Southern Living's editors and contributors are sharing the recipes that grace our tables year after year—like John's Sweet Tea-Brined Smoked Turkey. The aromatic wet brine (made with black tea, citrus, herbs, and sorghum) infuses the entire bird with flavor. The turkey rub packs a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar and a touch of heat from the chili powder, cayenne, and paprika. The mopping sauce—made from ketchup, sorghum, and apple cider vinegar—doubles as a barbeque sauce for serving. The sweetness from the sorghum is balanced by the heat of the cayenne and the bitterness of the tea.
You can ask your butcher to spatchcock your fresh turkey to save a step (if you're buying frozen, keep in mind that this can't be done until the bird is defrosted). Look for hickory chunks at any home improvement or tractor supply store.
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
**Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
(-)Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.