The Clean ChEATer’s Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Smoked Turkey

We have a little over a week to go, have your menu prepared?  We are set over here, just waiting for T-Day! Going over my list of holiday recipes I wanted to share with my subscribers, turkey wasn’t on the list. My husband asked me why? How can you have a Thanksgiving guide WITHOUT the main attraction? My response was sort of like this: “I think people don’t need a “recipe” for turkey, everyone does turkey their way, besides, I just started liking turkey on thanksgiving a few years ago.” And there it was, that’s right, I didn’t like turkey on thanksgiving. I’m a white meat type girl, and it seems like if I didn’t choose dark meat, or drown the white meat in gravy, it was meh. Didn’t I tell you last week I only show up for the carbs?

Also, NO, I am not a fan of the famous fried turkeys.  For some reason fried turkey developed this reputation for being the only way your turkey is moist.  This is the problem: Most are so afraid of UNDER cooking the turkey that they cook the poor turkey to death and it loses all of its luster.

The Simpsons season 2 episode 7 selma bouvier patty bouvier










I cook. He grills.  When we were dating, my husband invited me to a BBQ he was hosting. I think he was the originator of these Brazilian restaurants because there were no side dishes at this bbq. Nope. No potato salad, baked beans, not even a chip. When I asked where the sides are, he said the bbq sauce is a side.  Years later I realize he doesn’t need to do sides, I got that part, because how this man makes poultry, seafood, and beef come under his command…it’s like watching a surgeon….besides I’ve never met anyone with hair that “fancy” who can grill like he does.  So when he suggested a smoked turkey….I fell under command too.












This turkey is EVERYTHING. Brined. Smoked. Seasoned. Slow roasted. After I had a slice, I stared at it adoringly. I asked it where it had been the last 11 months. Wanted to know if it missed me like I missed it….Okay, I am sounding really crazy at this point, but this is really AMAZING turkey.












I started with brining.  Brining, originally used to preserve food, is now used to save millions from dry turkey next Thursday. Brining not only makes your meat super juicy, it infuses the meat with flavor while tenderizing it to practically butter. 

Placing meat in a bath of savory/sweet liquid, the solution travels to the meat to balance the salt levels. Salt breaks down the proteins in the meat…sort of like a massage 😉 The basic formula for brining is 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water. If you’re like me and want to get froo froo, thrown in some garlic, peppercorns, onions and honey. When brining ALWAYS do it in the fridge to avoid bacteria and other food related illnesses.

Then we smoked it and finished in the oven. Why? Because you wouldn’t follow SCC (Simply Clean Cheating) if I just hit you with the same roasted turkey recipe you can find anywhere. I want it to be soooo good, you think you’re being a bit naughty. I placed aromatics at the bottom of the pan to infuse even more flavor.  Really whatever you have in your fridge, there’s no exact science to it. Onions, celery, carrots, apples, the options are endless. Smoking adds another level to this bird and makes you reconsider jumping off the fried turkey bandwagon….that’s still a thing?!
















If you do what I say, you’ll experience, golden brown, juicy, savory goodness. Trust me, this bird will get you out of a traffic stop, out of the doghouse with your spouse, maybe even a promotion, it’s that good.



Clean ChEATer’s Smoked Turkey Breast

Calories160/ Fat 7g/Carbs 0g/Protein 21g/Sugar 1g/Fiber 0g

2 hours
24 hours

1 c. kosher salt
1c. honey
1 tbs. Italian Seasoning
1 tbs. peppercorns or ground black pepper
1 tbs. onion powder
1tbs. garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 tbs. extra virgin olive o
Aromatics or Mirepoix: Onions, celery, carrots, apples, garlic (Whatever’s in the fridge)
1 c. chicken or vegetable broth
Poultry fresh herb blend
4 cups ice cubes
1 (5 – 6-lb.) bone-in turkey breast
Parsley Flakes (garnish)
4 hickory wood chunks


  1. Fill a large pot with 2 gallons of water. Add salt, honey, Italian seasoning, peppercorns, onion & garlic powder. Stir in ice.
  2. Place turkey in brine; cover and chill for 24 hours. If you don’t have 24 hours.
  3. Remove turkey from brine, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Very sparingly, sprinkle salt, pepper, and parsley on turkey. Add olive oil and rub.
  5. Soak wood chips in water for an hour and get your grill ready. Shake excess water off before adding to grill and place coals all on one side of the grill.
  6. Prepare smoker according to manufacturer’s directions, bringing internal temperature to 225° to 250°; maintain temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Place wood chunks on coals.
  7. Place turkey on the opposite side of the hot coals. Remember that smoke and heat escape every time you peek into the grill, especially in cold weather. Check turkey occasionally. Smoke turkey, maintaining temperature inside smoker between 225° and 250°, for 1 hour.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 250F.
  9. Place aromatics at the bottom of roasting pan, add broth.
  10. Remove turkey from smoker and transfer to prepared baking dish. Cook for 1hr. or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 165°.
  11. Remove from oven and let turkey rest to redistribute juices. Devour.

Clean ChEATing Tips and Tricks

  • Do not brine your turkey if you plan on deep frying it.
  • Do not brine a turkey that has been “basted,” “enhanced,” “marinated.”
  • If you purchased a turkey with a pop-up timer, LEAVE IT IN PLACE. If removed, the timer will leave a hole for juices to escape.
  • You can brine any size turkey. The key is to ensure you have the right size container and enough brine to keep the turkey submerged.
  • Brine your turkey overnight. This ensures maximum results. You might want to make room in the fridge.
  • Being Thanksgiving, you might not have room in the fridge, use a cooler lined with a turkey roasting bag. Ensure temperature remains below 40 degrees throughout the process by adding ice and more if needed.
  • Double up! If you don’t have 24 hours to brine, 5 hours will do, just use a brine proportion of 1 cup Kosher Salt to 1 gallon water.
  • Want to go one more level? Stuff it with SCC’s dressing!




Nieta is a self-trained chef, fitness addict, wife, and mother of one AMAZING Bumblebee! Her passion is to help others start and stick to their fitness goals with clean chEATing.

4 Comment

    1. Thanks Christian!

  1. That turkey looks too pretty to eat. Lol.

    1. That turkey begged to be eaten!!! @Rosie

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