I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Smoke that Turkey!

Today is smoked turkey day. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that smoked turkey is probably all dried out and nasty and that it sucks. You would probably rather eat turkey prepared by the local school district than a smoked turkey. I am here to tell you that you need to have your head examined. As far as I am concerned there is only 1 way to prepare a turkey. It simply must be smoked.

A properly smoked turkey is the most juicy, flavorful bird you will ever eat. In fact, the first time you carve a smoked turkey you will wonder if it is fully cooked because the meat is so juicy and soft. There will be a deep pink ring on the outer surface of the meat that corresponds to the 'smoke ring.' In fact, the flavor is so perfect that you don't need to add anything to flavor it. Yeah thats right, you heard it. Add NOTHING to this turkey. No spices, no fancy marinades, no nothing. You can write it on the stone tablets. Thou shalt ONLY prepare turkey by smoking it.

Sam's club didn't have any turkeys yesterday so I had to get a frozen turkey breast from the local grocer. Thats just fine by me. Another benefit of smoking a turkey - you don't have to buy anything but the cheapest one.

If you want the bible on smoking any kind of food and the bible for bar-b-que, you simply must get Smoke and Spice. If you have been smoking meats and you don't have Smoke and Spice then you might learn a few things. Smoke and Spice is the bible of bar-b-que. If you only buy one book on bar-b-que you should buy Smoke and Spice. The authors talk about various bar-b-que styles from around the country and give all kinds of different recipes and methods. I learned all of the useful information that I know about bar-b-que from Smoke and Spice.

Here is how I smoke a turkey. I have one of the traditional 'Water Smokers'. I don't have the money for anything fancier and for small scale a water smoker works just fine.

1) Fire up some charcoal. Do not use lighter fluid. Instead use one of those charcoal flutes that you can get at most stores now. Once the smoker is heated up and you have your water pan full, put the bird on the grate and close the lid.
2) With the bird in the smoker the next step is to add smoke. TO do this, you need some wood chips that have soaked in water. My favorite are mesquite but you can use just about anything.
3) I only use about 2-3 handfuls of wood chips. There is such a thing as getting too much smoke, and the bird will taste like an ashtray, so only 1 round of smoke and only 2-3 handfuls.
4) After smoke has stopped, brush bird with melted butter.
5) Every hour or so stir up the coals and add more if necessary. Every time you stir the coals brush with butter. Most times i get my birds pretty well smoked in about 4-5 hours. I check the internal temperature of the meat to be sure its cooked. The bird will be golden brown.
6) Let the bird sit for about 15-20 minutes before carving.

Voila, smoked turkey!