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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Honey Brined Smoked Turkey

Today was Thing Two's first grade Thanksgiving party.  I sooo wanted to try out a new dessert to bring in, but since I didn't sign up on time, a following email went out to the parents requesting some key dishes that no one signed up for.  Everyone wants to bring in paper plates and rolls, but no one wants to bring a turkey!  I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and do it - I have the time at home to do this for Thing Two, plus secretly I've been dying to try a new turkey recipe that sounded pretty good, but I didn't want to make it for my Thanksgiving dinner, haha!
My absolute favorite turkey of all time is one that I will share tomorrow, but this recipe is similar.  It comes from The Man, just like my go-to turkey, and its also brined!  I was severely nervous about baking a 25 pound turkey, since every other turkey I've ever made was half that size, but a digital thermometer was one of the best kitchen investments I could have made, especially for turkeys.  This was a breeze to brine since the ingredients are so few, and just like brining any turkey, the meat was incredibly moist.  I didn't have the time to actually smoke the turkey, so I just roasted it in the oven.  I got many compliments on the turkey and I thought it tasted just fine, but it isn't nearly as flavorful as my other turkey recipe.  Perhaps if I didn't have such a big darn bird, or if I had smoked it, it would have had more flavor.  Regardless, if you are looking for a way to make a very moist turkey, this or tomorrow's turkey is worth a try.

Honey Brined Smoked Turkey 
Serves 10-12

1 gallon hot water
1 pound kosher salt
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 pound honey
1 (7 pound) bag of ice
1 (15-20 pound) turkey, with giblets removed
vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey


1.  Combine the hot water and the salt in a 54-quart cooler. Stir until the salt dissolves. Stir in the vegetable broth and the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up, and cover with cooler lid.. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.

2.  Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil.

3.  Heat the grill to 400˚.

4.  Using a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil, build a smoke bomb. Place a cup of hickory wood chips in the center of the foil and gather up the edges, making a small pouch. Leave the pouch open at the top. Set this directly on the charcoal or on the metal bar over the gas flame. Set the turkey over indirect heat, insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat, and set the alarm for 160˚. Close the lid and cook for 1 hour.

5.  After 1 hour check the bird; if the skin is golden brown, cover with aluminum foil and continue cooking. Also, after 1 hour, replace wood chips with second cup.

6.  Once the bird reaches 160˚, remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 1 hour. Carve and serve.

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