Start off by pouring 1 quart of water into a very large stockpot, add the honey and kosher salt.
Heat on a high heat and stir until the honey and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour in ice, stir until the ice melts and the water has turned cold (you're looking for room temperature or below). Once at room temperature add the turkey and be sure the turkey is fully submerged (use a weight if you need to). Cover and stick in the fridge for at least 12 hours.Tip: If your fridge is not large enough, you can use a cold dark basement. If you choose to do this you want the temperature to be below 30°F.
After 12 hours remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Air dry for 30 mins on a wire racked lined with baking paper. If your fridge is big enough for the wire rack and turkey this is perfect, otherwise anywhere out of the sun is fine.
Now it's time to prepare your smoking woods. You will need to small aluminium pans, place one handful of wood chips in one and a few wood chunks in the other. In the wood, chips pan add about ½” of water. This will allow the wood chunks to burn & smoke first so you will not need to add more chips in mid-smoke. The best woods for this smoked turkey are alder mixed with one fruit wood. Mixing fruit woods can create a weird more complex flavour in my opinion, so it's best to keep it simple with just the one.
Add the aluminium pans under the grill grates, you want to place these on the side of your grill that is going to be kept hot.On the cool side place one large aluminium pan and fill with around 1” of water. This will keep the smoker nice and moist and will also catch any dripping so you can create a delicious gravy when done! (See the bottom of the page)
Once the bird has air dried, its time to prepare the aromatics for your stuffing. I find the rind of a lemon or an orange works much better than actual fruit pieces, this is because there is no moisture in the rind. Adding moisture to the inside of the bird can alter cooking times. Add the onion, garlic, lemon/orange rind, and the sage & thyme to the inside of the turkey.Tip: don’t overcrowd the inside of the bird. If it's a tight squeeze to get everything in don’t use everything!
Once stuffed brush the entire turkey with the ghee. Start on the underside and work your way around to the top. Don’t worry if the ghee starts to harden after it has been applied. Make sure you get every inch of the bird. Now season all over with the salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Turn on your grill and heat on high for 10 minutes, You want to wait until you see wood chunks start to smoke. Once you see smoke appear turn off all the burners bar one. You want to leave one on and keep a stabilized temperature of 325°F. Once you have a stable temperature and only then, add the turkey! To prevent the wing tips from burning wrap them with foil. Cover the turkey and let smoke for one hour.Tip: Avoid peaking! The bird won't go anywhere, peaking will just let heat and smoke escape and will end up taking longer for your bird to cook.
After 1 hour you want to rotate the turkey. Take care when doing this you do not want to burn yourself! Or drop the turkey! Turn the turkey 180° so the other side is facing the hot side of the grill. At this stage, you can remove the foil from the wing tips. Be sure to pour out any liquid that has accumulated and cover up again and smoke for a further 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes open your turkey back up and pour out any liquid that has accumulated into the pan underneath. At this stage, you want to check the internal temperature of the bird. The breasts want to be around 160°F and the thighs to be 170°F (They will continue to cook a further 5 or so degrees while resting). If the temperatures are too low pop back in for further smoking, checking every 10 - 15 minutes to ensure you do not overcook. As a general rule of thumb, a 12-pound bird takes around 2 hours to reach these temperatures.
Place cooked bird on a wire back with baking paper to let rest for 20 minutes before carving. This will give the juices time to set and the bird to come all the way to temperature. So not cover with foil, this will turn your perfect crispy skin into soggy skin.
After the bird has rested it’s time to carve! Remove each section individually from the bird and carve separately. I personally like to carve the breast against the grain into ½ - ¾“ pieces and shave the thigh meat off the bone. Be sure to save any leftovers to add to the gravy broth.