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The Star of the Table

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Two weeks and counting until it is time for The Big Turkey Day and today is all about the bird.  Still to come is a delicious sausage & apple dressing and a sweet potato casserole with bacon and a hint of bourbon (yes I said bacon and bourbon).

Check back soon for these recipes

thanks-turkey

Now let’s talk TURKEY

When we first started talking about this Early Thanksgiving Dinner my brother said he wanted to smoke the turkey.  I was thrilled…I couldn’t wait.  He had smoked one last year for our family Thanksgiving and it was good, but he said he wanted to make it even better, and that he did.

When all the RSVP’s came back we had 15 people coming, so to ensure we had enough turkey (I love the leftover turkey) I got a big ole’ turkey.  It was right around a 20 pound bird.  And let me tell you the turkey was so, so good there was not too much left over.

To be safe you want to have between 3/4 – 1 pound per person (or more for leftovers).  Also make sure you give it enough time to thaw, we cut it a little close this time, but in the end it all worked out (thank goodness).  Next time we will thaw our turkey in an ice water bath in a cooler (still in the plastic wrapping) allowing it to thaw for about 3-4 hours per pound.

turke-top

Brine the Bird

Over the fast several years we have determined it is ABSOLUTELY necessary that you brine the turkey.  Whether you roast it, smoke it or fry it, brining makes a HUGE difference.

For this turkey the brine was pretty simple, salt, pepper, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce and garlic.  As simple as it sounds it adds a TON of flavor, tenderness and moisture to the turkey as it cooks.  Some brines call for some form of citrus or apple cider vinegar…and I love them all.  Whatever flavor profile you decide to go with…just make sure you brine.

OK I will get off my soapbox about the brining, lets move on to something even better…BUTTER!

turkey-side

Bring on the BUTTER!

To give this turkey even more flavor and a beautiful crust (I mean look how beautiful that is) my brother used butter.  Yep I said butter.  Now understand he did not use just butter, he mixed the butter with garlic and herbs.  I mean how good does that sound?

sliced-turkeyAfter mixing the butter with the garlic and herbs, he rubbed it all over the skin, under the skin on the breasts and inside the cavity really helping to add additional flavor and moistness to every part of the bird.

Not only did it look pretty on the outside but it looked pretty on the inside too.

I mean c’mon just look at that beautiful crust and the tender meat…I wish I had more words to describe how good it is (& some to eat right now).

No Smoker…that’s OK

If you do not have a smoker or do not want to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving, no problem.  You can roast the turkey in the oven, as you would a traditional turkey.  Just make sure you account for appropriate cooking time.

I like to cook mine at 325 degrees for about 12-15 minutes per pound.  Once it reaches 165 degrees make sure to remove at once and let sit for at least 10-20 minutes before carving as this will help to ensure you have a juicy turkey to serve.

Gobble, Gobble

Serves 12 servings

Smoked Turkey

A super juicy and flavorful turkey that is smoked to perfection. This is our families go to turkey recipe now.

48 hr, 20 Prep Time

4 hr, 30 Cook Time

53 hrTotal Time

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Recipe Image

Ingredients

Brine
2 gallons water
1 1/2 cups canning salt
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons pepper
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
Turkey
14-16 pound whole turkey
1 cup butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped

Directions

Brine the Turkey
If your turkey is frozen allow time to thaw completely, as directed on package
Remove giblets and neck, reserving if planning on using later
In a large stockpot bring all the brine ingredients to a boil and stir until salt & sugar are dissolved completely
Let brine cool and come to room temperature
Place turkey in a disposable cooler, or a brining bag and pour brining mixture over turkey
Let turkey brine for 24-48 hours
To smoke the Turkey
Preheat smoker to 325 - 350 degrees (my brother uses a Green Egg)
In a medium bowl combine butter, garlic and spices until well combined
Place turkey into a disposable aluminum pan that will fit on the smoker on 4 aluminum balls, this will allow drippings and fat to drip away from the turkey
Rub butter all over the outside, inside and under the skin of the breasts
Tuck wings under the turkey and place onto smoker
Cook turkey until it has reached an internal temp of 165 degrees, allow 15-20 minutes per pound
Once turkey is cooked and skin is golden brown remove and let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving
Serve & ENJOY!!
**You can use the dripping for gravy if you would like

Notes

A star of all of our Holiday tables.

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Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away and I personally cannot wait.  Not only do we get to eat this turkey once, but we get it twice this year, and for me that is a win win.

sprouts-4

Make today (& Thanksgiving) Sparkle – MJ


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