Chef Matt Abdoo of Pig Beach has some tips, tricks and a battle-tested recipe for brining and smoking your bird
– Whole Turkey 12-14 Pounds – Turkey Brine 3 Gallons – Salt 3 Tbsp. – Ground Black Pepper 1 Tbsp. – Granulated Onion 1 tsp – Granulated Garlic 1 tsp – Butter Room Temp 2 Sticks – Carrots 2 each – Celery 4 Ribs
– Apple Cider Vinegar ½ Cup – Apple Juice ½ Cup – Water ½ Cup – White Onion 1 each – Cherry or Fruit Wood 2 Chunks – Thyme 8 Sprigs – Garlic Cloves 6 each – Shallots Cut in Half 2 each – Bay Leaf 2 each
– Water 3 Gallons – Kosher Salt 2 Cups – Granulated Sugar 2 Cups – Bay Leaf 12 each – Fresh Thyme 1 Bunch – Black Peppercorns 2 Tbsp. – Garlic Cloves Smashed 6 each – Shallots Sliced 3 each – Ice 4 Cups
1. Combine all ingredients and whisk until the sugar and salt dissolve. 2. Line an appropriate-sized cooler with a large trash bag and place the turkey inside. Using a cooler is a great way to save on refrigeration space and a safe way to properly brine your turkey overnight. 3. Slowly pour the brine over the turkey and into the trash bag. 4. Once the brine is completely poured over the turkey knot off the top of the trash bag to completely submerge the turkey in the brine and close the lid tightly on the cooler. 5. Allow the turkey to brine overnight before cooking. Brine for at least one hour per pound.
1. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees. 2. While the smoker is heating up, remove the turkey from the brine and dry off using paper towels. Once the turkey is as dry as it can be, generously smear room-temp butter all over the skin. Brushing the turkey’s skin with butter before seasoning helps with rub adhesive and flavor development. 3. Once the turkey is completely covered with butter, season all over with salt, pepper, granulated garlic and granulated onion. Stuff the inside cavity with thyme, garlic cloves, shallots and bay leaves.
4. Using either a roasting pan with a rack or a disposable aluminum roasting pan with a rack, transfer your seasoned turkey to the rack and place inside the roasting pan along with the apple cider vinegar, apple juice and water. Place carrots, celery and onions around the turkey on the rack then place one of the thermometer probes inside the thickest part of the thigh closest to the bone. 5. Place the entire roasting pan with the turkey inside your smoker and seal the door with the thermometer wire hanging out connected to its base. (One of the probes should be dangling in the smoker chamber to accurately read the temperature while the other is reading the temperature of the turkey.)
6. Allow the turkey to smoke for about three hours or until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 130 (basting as desired). 7. Once the turkey reaches that temp, remove the roasting pan from the smoker and tent the entire roasting pan with foil to prevent too much smoke. Return the tented roasting pan to the smoker and continue to cook an additional 2-3 hours or until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 160 degrees. 8. Remove the turkey from the smoker and remove the foil and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before serving. (The juices should run clear. If there is still a pinkish hue to the juices, the turkey is not done cooking).
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