Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey

I feel a little bad sharing this recipe for three reasons.

For one,
I did not write it (except this intro), my hubby did after I implored him to document what he did last year.  My reasoning for posting this is completely selfish... I want to be able to refer to it again, and again.  

For two,
Unless you have a smoker, you probably can't make it.

For three,
Even if you do have a smoker, if your turkey isn't fresh, or already thawed, you can't make it. As of today's date, there just isn't enough time.

Just know one thing, this was the best turkey we ever ate. We are looking forward to recreating it for our annual feast in a couple days.

1 (20-23lb). Butterball self-basting turkey, fresh or thawed
Brine: 

2 gallons cold water
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp course ground black pepper
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce  
    Brine the turkey refrigerated for 48 hours. 
    Pat turkey dry, air dry in refrigerator overnight. We didn't use a rub on the turkey. The brine and smoke flavor were enough.


    We have a Traeger, which is an electric, auger feed pellet smoker. 
    Clean smoker and place two drip pans under the grid, raised on foil runners to keep them from scorching.  Add a cup of water to each pan.  Use these drippings for the gravy. (Piper's note- don't use only the drippings for gravy, just add 1 cup to 4 cups of broth, it can be stronger than you are used to)
    Smoke at 225F for about 2 hours. We used Hickory, the hickory smoke flavor wasn't too strong. This year, we're going to try mesquite chips.
    Turn the Smoker up to 350F and bake until probe thermometer in the breast reads 160F. This takes less time than you think, generally a couple of hours. The thigh should read 170F. Remove the bird and let it rest for 1 hour covered with a foil tent,
    Total cooking time from start to finish is 4-5 hours. I put the turkey in at 8:15 and it was done before 1pm.  Next year we'll start at 10am and wrap up at 3pm. Then we'll be ready to eat at 4pm.
    Meat was moist and flavorful, perfectly seasoned, and tender.

    I sure do love you =)
    (He wrote that, but I thought you'd like to hear someone to say it to you today... be sure to pass it on to your friends and family). - Piper

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