Today, Mike Johnson, of Rockford, MI called in to the Grillin Guys Radio Show on WBBL, 107.3 to share his favorite turkey brine, grilling recipe.  It sounds sooooooo good that we wanted to share it with all of you!  His family and friends all vouch for this as the BEST grilled turkey ever!  Enjoy. 

Note:  Pictured here is Mike’s grill, the turkey is covered in oranges on the right, some of his best ribs were cooking at the same time on the left! 

Ingredients for the turkey 

  • 1 pound brown sugar
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4oz sliced fresh ginger
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 quarts apple juice
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3 oranges quartered
  • 15 whole cloves
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • Turkey:  this recipe is for a 12 to 14 pound turkey, though Mike on this day used the carcass that held the turkey breasts (7 pounds of meat)


Combine apple juice, brown sugar and salt in large sauce pan and bring to boil to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let it come to room temp and combine remaining ingredients. Rinse and drain your turkey before placing in the brine. Refrigerate overnight. Remove turkey from brine and pat it very dry. Season turkey as you like. Place on a smoker at 225-250 for about 21 minutes per pound. Breast should be around 165 and thighs around 180.  

Mike Johnson’s favorite turkey seasoning: 

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dry sage
  • 2 teaspoons dry savory
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 

Note:  He does not use salt in the rub because there is enough in the brined turkey!