Rotisserie Turkey Recipe

A turkey being cooked on a rotisserie.

Serious Eats

Smoked turkeys are so juicy and flavorful, they put oven-roasted birds to shame. Ever since getting a smoker, no turkey has been cooked using any other method in my house. There's one big catch though—the smoke leaves the skin tough and leathery, and although I've known a few people willing to exert the extra effort needed to eat it; for the most part, I consider it inedible.

With the addition of a rotisserie to my arsenal, I could finally fix this conundrum and get an extremely flavorful bird with some self basting rotisserie action, and a delicious skin by avoiding the use of smoke.

After an incredibly successful turkey at last year's Thanksgiving using Alton Brown's recipe, I gave this one the same initial treatment: brined in a mixture of salt, vegetable stock, pepper, allspice, and candied ginger, then stuffed with some aromatics before cooking. It then went onto the spit and slowly turned until the breast meat hit 165°F.

While I was right on with the skin, which turned out undeniably delicious, the meat did not quite live up to my standards set by the smoker. It still beat out the oven-roasted version in terms of juiciness and overall taste, but it lacked that little extra imparted by the smoke which raises a turkey to great new heights, leaving me a new challenge for next year: smoked rotisserie turkey!

Adapted from Alton Brown.

Recipe Details

Rotisserie Turkey Recipe

Prep 35 mins
Cook 3 hrs 20 mins
Chill/Rest 10 hrs 20 mins
Total 14 hrs 15 mins
Serves 12 to 14 servings


  • 1 natural turkey about 12 to 14 pounds

For the Brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 gallon vegetable stock

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger

  • 1 gallon ice cold water

For the Aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced

  • 1/2 onion, sliced

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 cup water

  • 4 sprigs rosemary

  • 6 leaves sage


  1. Bring vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger to a boil in large stockpot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve solids. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate to 40°F.

  2. In large non-reactive container, combine brine with cold water. Set turkey in brine, breast side down, placing a weight on top to keep turkey submerged if necessary. Place in refrigerator and let brine for 8 to 16 hours.

  3. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey on rack over rimmed baking sheet and allow to air-dry overnight in refrigerator. (This step is optional, but will result in a crisper skin.)

  4. Combine apple, onion, cinnamon, and water in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add to turkey's cavity, along with rosemary and sage. Close turkey cavity by threading wooden skewer through flaps of skin. Fold wings under body and tie legs together. Allow turkey to come to room temperature while you prepare grill.

  5. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on either side of charcoal grate. Place foil pan between two piles of coals to capture drippings to serve with turkey or to make gravy. Place turkey on rotisserie and cook over medium heat until instant read thermometer registers 155°F in thickest part of the breast, 2 to 3 hours. Remove turkey from rotisserie and let rest for 20 minutes, carve and serve.

Special Equipment


Nutrition Facts (per serving)
376 Calories
14g Fat
2g Carbs
56g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 14
Amount per serving
Calories 376
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 212mg 71%
Sodium 888mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 56g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 477mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)