I did something amazing. I smoked an ENTIRE turkey. I was afraid… very afraid. But it wasn’t like I was competing in a cook off or trying to do anything that crazy, and I have a pretty good track record with smoking meat… so I gave it a try.
I came across the Home Brew Chef’s website (which is awesome and you should check it out) and searched his website for a beer turkey recipe… which I found (here it is)
Beer Brine Ingredients:
Beer (about 6 cans is what I used, because that is what I had)
Ice and Water- enough to cover the bird completely and keep it cold while brining
2 Cup Kosher Salt
1 Cup Sugar
4 Each Bay Leaves
3 Bunch Thyme, fresh
3 Each Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped
3 Each Carrots, sliced
4 Each Garlic Cloves, peeled and sliced
A few big dashes of liquid smoke (I am addicted to using this no matter what)
1 Turkey (suppose you could use a chicken)
A clean cooler or 5 gallon bucket (or cauldron if you have one I suppose) with which to bring the turkey in. I bought one of these bad boys at Home Depot
Mix together the brine ingredients well (excluding the water and ice). Make sure the water and salt is dissolved well. Then add the bird and enough water and ice to cover it completely.
|Turkey is covered with brine, water and ice (yes those are flower shaped ice cubes)|
Place in the refrigerator or ice cooler for 24-48 hours. My five gallon bucket didn’t fit in my fridge, so I packed ice around it and in it every 4 hours for 24 hours (I was very tired, but food safety is worth it)
|Bucket in my sink|
You can cook this in the oven just like a regular turkey, and I am sure it would be gorgeous, and delicious. But you know I want to use the smoker as much as I can.
|Flaming hickory chunks|
I used chunks of hickory to smoke this turkey, I thought I had apple wood as that was one of the recommended woods, but you have to make do with what you have. If you are using chips and not chunks of wood, make sure you soak the chips (Home Brew Chef suggested soaking in the beer you brine in which I thought was genius! So really check it out!)
|Bird on fire|
My 14 pound turkey took me 9 hours to smoke on low heat (I don’t have a thermometer on the smoker) I pulled it off when the meat thermometer read 165* F. If you don’t know, you need to check the temp of a turkey and chicken in the meat between the leg and breast, which is the densest part of the bird, and takes the longest to cook.
Then I let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving.
|The finished product|
It was one of the best turkeys I have ever made, and I make a mean Thanksgiving turkey
I used Summer Shandy, I thought that the citrus would make up for the lemon that the recipe called for that I forgot to buy… it was light but still gave the bird a great flavor. I think next time I might try something with a little more oomph, like an Oktoberfest (or even a pumpkin beer!!). I think I would stay away from dark beers; don’t want to overpower the turkey.
Let me know if you try it, and what you think. I have to tell you, I ate my turkey with the New Belgium Pupkick (pumpkin and cranberry) beer.
I was hoping for a pseudo Thanksgiving thing in my mouth, but the beer fell a little short. It was good, and a bit sour from the cranberries, but not like Thanksgiving…