Winner of the Thanksgiving Beauty Contest

November 24, 2010 6 comments

Gary’s smoked turkey wins the beauty and taste contest every year.  But he has to make great sacrifices to fix this bird.  Here are the steps:
 
Note: Order your fresh, organic turkey one week in advance.  It should not be more than 16 – 18 pounds.
 
1.)   The day before Thanksgiving, clean and wash your turkey.
2.)   Select a marinade or a brine recipe.  Gary prepares a soy, ginger marinade with garlic, dry sherry, and a bit of sesame oil.  You can use your favorite recipe or brine the turkey.
3.)   Place in a large pot or oversized bowl.  We use our lobster pot.  Cover with the marinade and turn several times over the 24 hour period.
4.)   Get up at 4 a.m. to get the smoker going.  Light the charcoal, fill the water pan with water and this is where we use up all the leftover bottles of wine that we keep for cooking occasions.
5.)   Remove the turkey from the marinade and smoke in the heated smoker for 7 to 9 hours at about 220 degrees.
6.)   After 6 hours, insert an instant read thermometer and cook until the internal temperature of the turkey is 160 to 170 degrees.
7.)   Have the turkey ready about 1 hour before you plan to eat.  It gives you time to prepare your other last minute ingredients and allows the turkey to cool for serving.

Smoked Turkey

Smoked Turkey

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6 Responses to “Winner of the Thanksgiving Beauty Contest”

  1. Lise says:

    Sounds and looks fantastic! We won’t be doing a bird this time around, my sister Linda will be hosting us at Rancho La Valencia. We need the break, but thinking we might be up for a post holiday turkey a la Gary! :)

  2. Richard L. says:

    Looks great. I’m planning to brine a turkey for the first time next week. My wife linked me to this recipe. I have one question.

    I’ve smoked turkeys a couple times before. They weren’t brined but they turned out delicious, fairly moist and with a smokey flavor. In my experience the bird comes out very much darker than our beauty above. It should be a deep mahogany color due to the 7+ hours of smoking.

    This bird doesn’t really look smoked. There are no instructions in the recipe to soak hardwood chips and add them to the fire for smoking. So is this really just a long, slow indirect heat BBQ sans wood chips?

  3. cookthepart says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Yes, the turkey is smoked using a water smoker using charcoal and water-soaked hardwood chips added during the last hour of cooking. In addition, the water reservoir of the smoker is filled with a combination of water, leftover wine or apple juice. When we use the smokers that are not water smokers, the bird does indeed come out much darker. Good luck with your bird. Please feel free to ask any additional questions.

  4. Richard L. says:

    Thanks for a quick reply. Water smoker? I’ll have to look that up.

    Well, mine won’t be as pretty but I’ll do it. Thanks again.

    • cookthepart says:

      Ours is made by Brinkman and they cost less than $50. Let us know how it turns out.

      • Richard L. says:

        I know the one you mean. I have the big smoker. I just never knew they were “water smokers”. Checking it out it seems the steam drives the smokey flavor in. So you’d get the most out of the hour of chips. I pretty much smoke the whole term. No wonder I end up with mahogany turkey.

        I’ll probably hold off on the fruitwood chips until the last couple hours. I will report the results.

        Merry Christmas.

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