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Wine-Smoked Turkey

Total Time
4 hrs

Time: 3 to 3 1/2 hours, plus 15 to 30 minutes to rest. Make this elegant turkey for anyone from the East or Midwest, where grilling in November just can’t happen.


Wine-smoked Turkey

Photo: Leigh Beisch; Styling: Dan Becker
 4 to 6 cups wine-infused wood chips* or shavings, lightly packed
 3 tablespoons olive oil
 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves or 2 tsp. dried sage
 1 tablespoon minced parsley
 2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 1 turkey (16 to 18 lbs.)
 1 Golden Delicious apple
 1 medium onion
  Sprigs of fresh sage and marjoram
Step 1

Soak wine-infused chips or shavings in water at least 20 minutes. Mix olive oil with sage, parsley, marjoram, and pepper.

Step 2

To prepare turkey, remove and discard leg truss. Discard lumps of fat; remove giblets and neck. Rinse bird inside and out and pat dry. Rinse giblets and neck (save liver for another use), drain, and reserve for Zinfandel Gravy. Brush turkey all over with 2 tbsp. oil mixture. Cut apple and onion into 1-in. chunks and stir into remaining oil mixture; place mixture in body cavity. Put foil caps on drumstick tips and wing tips. Insert a meat thermometer straight down through thickest part of the breast to bone (if using an instant-read thermometer, insert later).

Step 3

Prepare grill for indirect medium heat (about 325°; you can hold your hand 5 in. above cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds). If using charcoal, light 40 briquets on firegrate. When coals are covered with ash, about 20 minutes, bank evenly on opposite sides of firegrate and let burn to medium. Place a metal or sturdy foil drip pan (about 9 by 12 in. and 2 1/2 in. deep) between coals and fill halfway with water. To each mound of coals, add 5 briquets and 1/2 cup soaked wood chips or shavings now and every 30 minutes while cooking; if needed, keep grill uncovered for a few minutes to help briquets ignite. If using gas, remove cooking grate and turn all burners to high. Place 1 cup wood chips in the grill's metal smoking box or in a small, shallow foil pan set directly on burner in a corner. Close lid and heat 10 minutes. Then turn off 1 burner and lower other(s) to medium. Set a metal or sturdy foil drip pan, filled halfway with water, on turned-off burner. Add another 1 cup wood chips or shavings now if first ones have burned away (add 1 cup chips every hour or so while cooking). Replace cooking grate.

Step 4

Set turkey, breast up, on cooking grate over drip pan and cover grill. Cook until thermometer registers 160°, 2 1/2 to 3 hours; during cooking, loosely tent turkey with foil if it starts to get too dark.

Step 5

Drain juices, apple, and onion from cavity; reserve for Zinfandel Gravy. Place turkey on a platter and let rest 15 to 30 minutes. Remove drip pan from grill; skim and discard fat from juices. Reserve juices for gravy. Garnish platter with herb sprigs.

Step 6

*Buy wine-infused chips from Just Chips ($15 for a roughly 2-lb. bag; or 800/726-0049). Or soak mesquite or applewood chips in equal parts red wine and water and omit soaking in step

Step 7

Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1/4-lb. serving (white and dark meat with skin).

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving
Calories 250Calories from Fat 43
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g19%

Saturated Fat 3.2g16%
Cholesterol 93mg31%
Sodium 82mg4%
Total Carbohydrate 1.4g1%

Dietary Fiber 0.0g0%
Protein 32g64%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.