Let’s talk turkey!
Traditionally, each year for Thanksgiving I make a pomegranate molasses turkey, which happens to be a HUGE hit! (So Thank you Bobby Flay) This year we had the opportunity to make two turkeys, one for our FriendsGiving dinner and one for our Thanksgiving dinner. For our Friendsgivng dinner I decided to play it safe and make my pomegranate molasses turkey, but I also decided that this year I wanted to try something a little bit different for Thanksgiving, I wanted to smoke a turkey with my new Weber Smokey Mountain . I have heard wonderful things about how easy it is to smoke a turkey and have been dying for the opportunity to do so, though I will say we did have a back up meal just incase things didn’t work out with this turkey.
Just before Thanksgiving I had the opportunity to go to a Redemption Whiskey tasting at one of my favorite whiskey/bourbon bars, Julep Cocktail Club in Kansas City. While going through the tasting, I had the opportunity to speak with several people throughout the room, talking about everything from what our favorite whiskeys, bourbons & cocktails were, to what our Thanksgiving plans were. While talking with someone who happens to be experienced with smoking, I asked for some tips with smoking my first turkey. After spending about 40 minutes picking his brain and getting all of his best tricks of the trade, I started to brain storm about my Thanksgiving turkey. I decided to do a Redemption Rye inspired turkey, starting with soaking the wood chips, then having a Redemption Rye brine & finish with my secret weapon an injection for the turkey using Evan Williams Kentucky Cider
Being that this was my first time smoking a turkey, I didn’t have high expectations, plus its kinda hard to top my pomegranate molasses turkey. I have heard that once you deep fry a turkey or smoke a turkey you will never want to have your turkey made any other way. I have never had a deep fried turkey so I can’t speak to that, but I can speak to the absolute deliciousness of this smoked turkey and not sure if I can ever eat my turkey any other way! The turkey was perfectly smoked & juicy, with a hint of citrus & spiciness from the Redemption Rye. I don’t know if I can ever have turkey any other way! So I plan on smoking another turkey for Christmas and I hope that you also try to smoke a turkey.
Remember to take the time & enjoy this holiday season with your loved ones!
Have a great holiday season & Remember to #EatResponsibly
- Brine Ingredients:
- 1 10-13lb Turkey (thawed out if frozen)
- 3 1/2 Cups Hot water
- 2-3 Qts. Of Ice
- 1 1/2 Cups Kosher Salt
- 3/4 Cup Redemption Rye Whiskey
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 Large Onion Sliced
- 6 Slices of Orange
- 2 Tbsp. Black Peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp. Whole Cloves
- Injection Marinade Ingredients:
- 1 Cup Apple Cider
- 4 Bay Leaves
- 2 Cups Evan Williams Kentucky Cider
- Palmful of Whole Allspice
- For the Brine: Remove the giblets, the neck & anything else like a gravy packet if included, discard or save it if you use them for something else. Thoroughly rinse the turkey, inside and out, under cold running water. In a small cooler or a large stockpot, combine hot water, kosher salt, bourbon, onion, bay leaves, orange slices, peppercorns, and cloves, stir until well mixed. Add in the ice.
- Add the turkey into the brine, refrigerate overnight. If you need to shorten the time in the brine you can but at least leave the turkey in the brine for 6-8 hours. When you are ready to cook or smoke the turkey, drain the liquid from the color or stock pot. Thoroughly pat the turkey dry with paper towels; discard the brine. Fold the wingtips behind the back and tie the legs together with butcher's twine.
- Woodchips: Soak in a Redemption Rye whiskey for 4-6 hours, remove, set aside to dry out over night prior to smoking
- For the Injection Marinade: In a medium sauce pan add in all ingredients and bring mixture to a soft boil, allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool before injecting into the turkey.
- Turkey Time: While the injection marinade is cooling, slice up one medium sized apple & orange, stuff inside the turkey. Take one stick of butter, microwave for 15 seconds, rub the outside of the turkey and the inside of the turkey skin (breast) with the stick of butter. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then coat the skin with brown sugar & inject the turkey with the injection marinade.
- Set the turkey aside and Get your smoker ready! Bring the heat up to 275-300 degrees, place the turkey on the top rack with a pan below to catch the drippings for your gravy later.
- Maintain the heat and cook the turkey for 3 1/2 - 4 hours with the final internal temperature at 165 degrees. Remove the turkey and allow to rest before you cut into the turkey.