Smoked and Lacquered Turkey


lacquered turkey

It’s turkey time, and I couldn’t be happier!  This is one of my favorite times of the year because I love any excuse to eat turkey!  This recipe for a Smoked and Lacquered Turkey is easy and delicious.  It’s also a show-stopper, beautiful turkey with amazing flavor from the glaze.

I’m generally not much on brining.  Many people are though, and if you like that, knock yourself out.  I just don’t think it improves the texture or flavor enough to consistently do it.

What makes this turkey taste so good?

The secret to this turkey is in the sage butter under the skin.  It’s a messy job, but well worth it.  The butter will keep the turkey juicy and flavorful.  I seasoned the turkey with my Bold Seasoning and Grillin’ Shake.  Heavy on the Bold, light on the Shake.  Stuff the turkey with lemons, oranges, onions, and herbs (I love the smell of Thyme cooking in a turkey) and you’ll be in business.

turkey ingredients

For this recipe, you want to use a smoker that you can consistently control the temperature and one that you can raise the temperature pretty high for smoking.  I cooked the turkey at 325 and then raised the temp to 400 for the “lacquering” phase.

Why such a high temp?

Turkeys, like other birds, don’t have the tough collagens and fats that pork has, for example.  While you need to render the fats and break down the collagens in pork butt or brisket, you simply want to get your turkey cooked.  It will be tender, and the longer you cook it, the higher the chance of drying it out.  I cooked this turkey to an internal temperature of 155 in 3 hours, then let it rest for 30 minutes while I made the glaze and raised the temperature of the smoker.   Glaze the turkey, put it back on for 5 minutes then glaze again.  Beautiful and delicious!

carved turkey

As always, I hope you enjoy and have a great Holiday season!

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smoked turkey

Smoked and Lacquered Turkey

  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 people 1x


Make the best Turkey ever with this easy smoked turkey recipe!



For the Turkey

  • 1 12 lb turkey
  • 8 oz salted butter
  • 1 TBS chopped sage
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 oranges, divided
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 small bundle Fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup Melissa’s Bold Seasoning (or your favorite BBQ Rub)
  • 2 TBS Melissa’s Grillin’ Shake
  • 1 TBS olive oil

For the Glaze

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • juice from 2 oranges
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TBS white balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat smoker to 325 degrees. Pat dry turkey. Tuck wings underneath turkey. Lightly season cavity, then stuff with onion, lemon, and thyme. Tie legs together. Rub olive oil on turkey, then season with bold seasoning and grillin’ shake.
  2. Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, and place turkey in the smoker. Cook for 1 hour, then loosely tent foil over the breast. Continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove from smoker, cover and rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Raise smoker temperature to 400 degrees. In a sauce pan, add soy sauce, vinegars, orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce to a syrup consistency, whisking often. About 10-15 minutes.
  4. Brush turkey with glaze then put back in smoker. After 5 minutes, brush again with glaze and let stay in smoker for another 5-10 minutes to set glaze. Remove and serve.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours