For each gallon of water...
1 cup sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 bay leaves
4 or 5 cloves of garlic crushed
Several sprigs of sage and rosemary.
Mix enough brine to completely cover the turkey. I use a 5 gallon bucket. Non metallic container is key. Brine overnight... 8-12 hours.
Brine in a fridge or below 40' temps and make sure the bird is completely submerged.
Pull from brine and give a quick rinse and pat dry. Rub the bird inside and outside with vegetable oil. I like to put some cut apples, sage and rosemary in the cavity and under the skin... Don't stuff the bird, just some herbs for a bit of flavor.
Put bird in a foil pan to catch drippings for gravy... Drippings will be salty so careful with that when making gravy.
Smoke at 225-250 degrees until internal temperature of the thigh is 170 degrees. I'm not picky about the wood flavor.
Smaller birds work better than larger birds... 10-12 lb turkey is ideal. If you need more than that, you're better off doing 2 smaller birds than one larger birds... IMO.
12lb Bird, get a good one, at least a Butterball. 1 cup Kosher salt and 1 cup brown sugar per gallon of your favorite bottled water ( I use Sparkletts). You can add any spices you like. Brine in ice cold conditions over night.
Smoke it up fairly slow. I take mine off when the temp at the Brest is 165 and let rest in a tight ice chest for at least 1 hour. Should come out all right. I've never tried to make gravy out of a smoked bird. However without wood smoking gravy should come out just fine. Good luck!
I've used my smoker for almost 25 years and many turkeys, its a wonderful way to cook them. For tips and ideas:
Probably all of the above ideas for a brine will produce a great smoked turkey.
I brine my turkey in a very well scrubbed ice chest--there's not near enough room in my frig. You've also got to scrub it real well after the brining.
Gently loosen the skin of the turkey and seperate it from the meat so that the brine is in contact with the meat and not just the skin.
Usually two days is enough time to brine.
Its tough to have a hard and fast rule for smoking times because smokers vary so much, as might the size of the meat in it, temperature, etc. Over the years I've kept track of how long various items take in my smoker and develped a good timetable for lots of items. With all poultry, two easy tests for doneness is when the drumstick and thigh move easily when wiggled and when a sharp knife inserted into the thigh results in clear juices running out rather than red juices.
Fruit woods are my favorites for smoking a turkey, but hickory and oak are good too. I stay away from mesquite because (IMHO) its too strong for turkey.
Let the bird rest at room temperature at least a couple of hours before smoking it to let it warm a bit first.
Cook it breast side down until the last hour so that gravity guides the juices to the breast, where they are needed most.
Because the cooking temperature is much lower than an oven, the bird does not need to rest as much after cooking, but there is no harm in doing it.
I love smoking a bird. Low and slow and pay more attention to your internal temp than the specific time in the smoker.
However, it is a lot of work to brine and then tend the smoker/baste/whatever.
Here is my zero effort fallback:
Break the bird into quarters.
Mix up 5 parts salt, two parts sugar. Use 1-1.5% of the weight of the quarter and rub it down.
One quarter into each gallon ziplock.
Sous vide bath at 140° for the breast and 158° for the dark. 24 hours.
When you finally get around to near dinner time, pull it out of the baths and pat dry. Rub em down with herbs and butter (or Cajun style rub, whatever) and do a quick broil skin side up on a jelly roll pan.
No brining (it brines while it cooks) and It goes in the day prior, so you can take time on Thanksgiving day cooking everything else (or just drinking wine). It takes 10 minutes total to get it in the table.