Strictly beauty, this was the most beautiful thing I have ever served. Unfortunately this was the guest of honor at a 15 person back yard Whoop de Doo and I just did not have time to get a photo worthy of the bird. But it was beautiful...
OK... Credit... See the beautiful bird in the photo to the left. That came from Chris of the "Nibble Me This" Blog and his Orange and Bourbon Brined Turkey on the Grill. While I have seen plenty of recipes and TV shows with the butterfly turkey look, it took Chris's post to get me excited about doing this on my own. If you have never tried one, I really recommend you using the blue letter link or I also put a link on his photo, double click either to magically see his post with LOTS of details, hints and photo How-Tos so you can amaze your friends as well.
My bird had a few differences. First, I slow smoked mine on a Weber Kettle Grill. Indirect heat, temp of the kettle averaged between 225 and 250. I have spent my summer rediscovering the thrill of the simple but AMAZING Weber Kettle. Inexpensive, easy to use and absolutely you can smoke on them. Take a look at THIS POST to see the details of indirect smoking. EASY EASY EASY and don't use the excuse that you don't have a thousand dollar smoker hold you back.
One important note, small birds are better. Easier to cook to temperature without drying out. Mine was a 14 pound bird. If you need a bigger bird, consider making two.
Next important note... Cook to internal temperature using a meat thermometer ONLY. Do not use that little pop up thing (rip it out). It will only go off when the bird is OVER COOKED. Measure the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Cook to 155-160 degrees at the thickest part of the bird and also measure at the thighs. Remove the bird from the heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. During that time the internal temp will rise to 165. That's it... no more... 165 is the goal.
My cooking time was longer, nearly 4 hours. It is also important to know that the meat from a smoked turkey will actually look pink throughout. It will be fully cooked, taste great but appear pink and undercooked.
The marinade added a color to the meat and everything came out wonderful. Pleasing color as well as taste!
Chris used a brine (as did I, my recipe follows), but I glazed my bird during the last 15 minutes of cook time. If you do use a glaze, be sure and limit the time in the heat to only about that much time. There is plenty of sugar in my glaze and I did not want the sugar to burn. I made up a batch of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey BBQ Sauce/Glaze for my bird. The glaze added a nice spicy bite to the meat and you just can not say enough about the beautiful glaze.
This was being served at a back yard Whoop de Doo in honor of Larry, the Big Dude of BIG DUDE's ECLECTIC RAMBLINGS. Larry is at the tail end of a multi thousand mile RV trip with his wife, sister-in-law, grand daughter and 4 dogs. Sure, why not, if you are driving that far, everyone should have their own dog! Anyway, that's Larry in between my son visiting from the war (actually, he is in the Army (a Medic), stationed very close for a few months at Ft Riley, Kansas, but he does have his marching orders and next year he will be working on his tan as he closes down some of the outer bases on Afghanistan), and my neighbor and fellow RV owner, Jackie.
That's a long way of saying I made this turkey with the Tennessee Whiskey glaze for my blogging buddy Larry with his Tennessee roots!
So, my secrets... I used a BBQ Sauce glaze, I slow smoked for tenderness and flavor, I injected seasoned butter into the meat and finally I brined the bird for 24 hours before injecting and cooking.
Once again, I am going to direct you to Nibble Me This blog and Chris's instructions on brining in that post. I did use a different recipe. His has a Bourbon Brine which sounded fantastic, but since I was already planning the Whiskey glaze I didn't want to mix my booze...
Here's my version of a Turkey Brine...
Orange and Rosemary Turkey Brine
- 6 Cups Apple Cider
- 1 Cup Fresh Rosemary stems, rough chop
- 5 Oranges, just the rind
- 1 Heads of Garlic peeled and rough chop
- 2 Cups Kosher Salt (I used Pickling Salt)
- 3 Cups Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Peppercorns, slightly crushed
- Mix everything in a large pot. Simmer over medium heat, stirring until salt and sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to a low boil and remove from heat and cover. Allow to cool (and for all the flavors to completely mix).
- Pour everything into a bucket just a bit bigger than the turkey. Place turkey into the brine, add additional water if needed to cover.
- Refrigerate for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, remove bird from brine and soak in clean water for 30 minutes to remove the heavy salt.
- Pat Bird dry, allow to air dry for another 10 minutes. Prepare as you like (Dry Rub, Injection, roast n oven, smoke, grill or some new way!
- And ENJOY!
Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop... Over 100 in one grilling season (I love to grill!). But not just leat... Drinks, Condiments (LOTS of different BBQ sauces), Drinks, Desserts... even specialty items like GRILLED Pizza, and fun shaped Watermelons. Easy and these ideas will make you the MASTER of your Backyard Domain!
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