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Old 03-03-2007, 09:57 AM   #1
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Apple Smoked Turkey

I actually made this a few months back for another food forum I post on, but since Carolelaine started a thread I figured I would post it here. I had a lot more pictures but vBulletin is limiting the amout I can use. This recipe is composed of a lot of different ideas from a lot of different recipes I have tried over time. So feel free to experiment and change anything you want, that is half the fun of barbeque. Anyway, here is part one.

This begins the same way all good turkey recipes do, with a nice long brine. It starts with a cup of salt and a half cup of sugar per gallon of water. I think I ended up using 3 gallons, but this will depend upon your vessel of choice. To this I added a cup of apple cider and dried sage leaves.

Next take an orange you with a very clean peel and remove the zest. Set the zest to the side. Cut the now zested orange in half and add the juice from both halves to the brine. You will not want to add anymore citrus than this or it will soon turn into a marinade rather than a brine. Now stir it all up and add the turkey (after removing neck and other goodies left by the butcher) to the solution and place him in the refrigerator. I did not have a container that would fit in my fridge, so I had to use a cooler and make sure the water stayed cold enough at all times. If the bird is floating add something to keep him submerged a bag full of ice works nicely.

Now you wait, around 24 hours should do it. The next day pull him out of there and rinse inside and out. For cooking this turkey I donít recommend using your expensive roasting pan, it will never look the same. Those aluminum ones that are all over the grocery stores this time of year for $0.99 work perfect. So take one of those and lay down a nice aromatic bed, I used a mirepoix and a cut up apple with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Now comes my favorite part, assembling the rub. I would love to tell you exactly what spices I used, because it turned out very good, but I canít remember exactly what it was. But my rub always changing, being creative is the best part about putting together rubs. Especially when you find that perfect flavor combination that compliments the meat perfectly. But for those of you who just want to know what to put in it, here is a good base for a rub:
2: Paprika
1: Onion Powder
1: Garlic Powder
1: Chili Powder
2: Dark brown sugar
2: Black Pepper
1: Cumin
1: Fennel
1: Coriander
I would not use much salt if any because of the brine. I added much to this, but like I said I donít remember exactly what. This would be pretty mild and if you like it spicy like me add some cayenne or grind up some peppers. I try to use as many whole spices as possible, the last 4 spices listed are easily found whole at any grocery and can be ground at home in a blade-style coffee grinder. If you use the same one for your coffee donít bother cleaning it before, a few coffee grounds will just add to the rub. However, this does not work the other way around, unless you like cumin flavored coffee.

Now take a couple of tablespoons or so of the rub and mix them with a liquid (white Worcestershire is my choice) to form a sort of paste. Then take your turkey and work your fingers under the skin over his breast and thighs to remove separate it from the meat.

Take a spoon or something to transfer the paste under the skin, and then rub that all around covering as much meat as you can. If you are and idiot like me you torn the skin a little bit, but its okay, just pin it together with come toothpicks. Put the rest of the rub in a sieve and shake it over the turkey covering every last bit you can.

Now you can move him to the bed you have made for him and stuff his cavity full of orange slices, apple slices, and fresh parsley. Take a piece of cheesecloth a little over twice as long as the bird and totally wrap him up in it.

For the wet rub I used ľ cup butter (room temperature), ľ cup apple butter, and that orange zest from yesterday.

Mix it all up good and spread it all over the bird.

At this point you can take it right to the smoker. I was not starting mine till the next day, so I had to wrap it up tightly and make room in the fridge.

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Old 03-03-2007, 09:58 AM   #2
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Part 2

When you are ready to cook it give yourself anywhere between a half hour to an hour per pound on the smoker. If you refrigerated it overnight you will want to pull it out about an hour before putting it on the smoker. So get the smoker preheated to 200 degrees F. The following process will depend on what kind of smoker you are using. I am using a Char-griller with a side fire box, so I will be employing the minion method. My fuel will be Royal Oak natural lump charcoal; it is the best charcoal I have found locally.

The fastest way I have found to get charcoal going is to set the charcoal chimney atop the propane burner from my outdoor fryer/wok burner. After about a minuet on top of this things 45000BTUs and these are hot. Then just turn the heat off and let it do its thing for about 5 minuets.

The minion method begins with a chimney full of hot coals dumped upon a firebox full of charcoal.

Now open up all the vents and get that warming up. Meanwhile we can make the injectable marinade. This will consist of Ĺ cup each of apple cider, triple sec, and olive oil. Mix it up and inject into the breast and thighs at multiple spots.

Once your smoker is up to temp, go ahead and move the bird to the center of it.

Now you will want to add some wood to smoke. I will be using apple wood to keep with the apple theme but any untreated hardwood will work. I like to wrap it in foil to keep it from burning and it leaves you some nice charcoal later.

At this point you can relax, just check the temp every half hour or so and maintain it. You will want to start basing it with the drippings once they start to form. If you want you can baste with apple cider or the left over injectable marinade until the drippings form. Since you canít really go anywhere for the next few hours, make yourself a drink and kick back.


Back to the turkey, after a few hours you will want to plug in your probe thermometer and set the temp alarm to about 160.

Once it reaches this temp you can up the temp to about 350 and remove the cheesecloth. This will help the skin to get crispy.

You can pull the bird at about 170 and give it a good rest for a half hour or so. The drippings can make a killer gravy. I served it with some baked squash and a loaf wheat bread I made while smoking the turkey, tasted great dipped in the gravy.
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Old 03-03-2007, 11:51 PM   #3
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Holy COW!! Or shall I say, Holy TURKEY..

Thanks so much for sharing! Once the weather warms up a little here in Wisconsin I am for SURE going to try this out.

Your great description is awesome, and I hope to try it soon...

-Brad
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:18 AM   #4
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Thanks for the thorough explanation! I never thought of cranking up the temp toward the end to make the skin more crispy, but it looks really good. I'll have to give this a try sometime.
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