Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving turkey

Not fishing this week as we are planning to have Thanksgiving with my wife's parents who were not able to make it up to our place this year. Therefore I am working on the turkey today that we will take to them tomorrow.

For the past 14 years or so, I have been roasting a turkey on our smoker grill outside. I use a combination of mesquite wood and charcoal. Charcoal to help keep some consistent heat and the mesquite for the wood flavor. Originally, I tried smoking a turkey at the lower temperatures but that took forever. I usually had to start past midnight to ensure it was done for dinner in the evening. I now just roast it at a higher temperature simply for convenience and due to the fact that I brine the turkey for around 12 hours, it does not affect the juiciness of the meat.

As I mentioned, the brine has been the key to maintaining a moist turkey. I basically use the following (for a 12 to 14 pound turkey):
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup kosher or non iodized salt
  • 1/2 cup dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup dried rosmary
I stir that all together in a pot big enough to hold the turkey fully submerged in the brine and chill it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. I add the thawed turkey in the brine and then refrigerate once more for 8 to 12 hours.

The morning I prepare the fire, I remove the turkey from the brine, rinse it off and put in an aluminum pan and cover it tightly with aluminum foil. I then roast it for whatever length of time it needs for the size and towards the last two or three hours, I remove the foil to brown the turkey. If you don't use foil, due to the wood smoke, the turkey will come out almost black and the mesquite flavor will be a bit too strong.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving y'all!


Bill Trussell said...

That Turkey had to be goooooood, after reading your post. Thanks for sharing.

Wild Ed said...

I brine our turkeys before smoking also, you are right it makes all the difference in the world. I use equal parts of brown sugar and kosher salt along with just a little garlic and cloves. I rub the turkey with olive oil and put my homade brisket rub on for seasoning and do the slow smoke process. It does take a lot of time but it works. ET

Wild Ed's Texas Outdoors

Rick said...


Hope you and your family are doing well. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Rick ><>
Water Walker Lanyards

Ryan said...

Yup, now I am hungry. =)

The Average Joe Fisherman

Robin said...

Love that recipe, that sounds like a juicy smoke!

Dustin's Fly Box said...

Damn this made me hungry!! Great blog, you got a new follower