Brined & Barbecue Smoked Turkey
Since 2004, each year we have a brined turkey barbecue on Christmas Eve. Besides being an active and original way to spend a beautiful evening, this smoking turkey winter barbecue yields an absolutely delicious and juicy grilled turkey as well. With this smoked turkey recipe, cooking juicy turkey is quite easy. Just follow this barbecue turkey recipe for the juiciest Thanksgiving turkey, Xmas turkey or any day turkey!
Our Brined and Smoked Turkey Barbecue
Until 2004, we never did turkey for Christmas. Some twenty years ago we tried roasting a turkey in the oven. After a few experiences dryer than Death Valley we switched to a juicy rabbit, pork tenderloin, or just an "ordinary" steak.
However, after reading the inspiring recipe of "The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey" from the book "BBQ USA" by Steven Raichlen we decided to give Turkey another chance, and with very good results this time. This is the perfect turkey!
This turkey is prepared by hot smoking and indirect grilling in a closed barbecue. The meat is slow roasted to perfection, whereby charcoal and soaked wood chunks will add that special smokey taste.
Rinse the turkey under cold running water, blot dry inside and out using paper towels, and tie the legs together using butcher's wire.
Before you start, check whether the turkey will fit inside your Weber grill (or other smoker or oven). If she does not fit: Just push the turkey flat until she does fit...
Turkey Brine Ingredients
We have adapted the original turkey brine recipe to suit our own preferences and taste:
|lime *), in thin slices or squeezed|
|molasses, or maple syrup, as you please|
|onion, medium size, in thin slices|
|garlic, in thin slices|
*) For clarity, by "lime" we mean that round green type of lemon. (if you can't get limes, use a lemon instead)
Add the 4 quarts of cold water and let cool to room temperature or - even better - refrigerator temperature.
Lower the turkey in the brine and make sure it is fully submerged. If need be, put a water filled plastic bag or container on top to push the turkey down.
Close the lid and put in the fridge to let the brine do its job.
Turkey Barbecue Preparation
Prepare your Weber barbecue (or similar barbecue, or smoker or oven) for indirect grilling. Use about 10 to 12 charcoal briquettes in each side coal pocket.
I always use charcoal briquettes because of their even shape and size. I also found they have a more constant quality when compared with regular "lump" charcoal (mostly small lump charcoal, that is...).
Once the charcoal in my barbecue is glowing and grey, I put a few water soaked chunks of smokewood (say about 1"-2" thick and 3"-5" long) on top of the charcoal.
Because of the fairly high temperature of the charcoal fire during hot smoking, and to prevent the smoke wood from burning too fast, I soak my smoke wood in a bucket of water for a couple of days prior to use.
Get smokin'! Stick the turkey on the grill, chest up, right above the drip pan. Brush liberally with melted butter and close the lid of your smoker.
As soon as you see a fair cloud of smoke coming out of the top vent holes, it is time to shut the bottom vent holes to almost closed position.
Roast the turkey for 2.5 to 3 hours until done.
Time to Relax
With that turkey sitting in your black backyard coal-fired microwave, take it easy. Get yourself a drink, sit down, watch that whisp of smoke curl up and follow a path to the neighbours. Aaah, enjoy that lovely smell. There's nothing that can make you feel more down to earth and relaxed.
Try to resist peeking under the lid too often. Every time you open your barbecue you will loose heat, and the cooking process will take longer. On the other hand, if you have time anyway, what the heck...
During the roasting process you control the temperature inside the barbecue by gradually opening or closing the bottom vent holes. Mind you: the top vent holes will ALWAYS remain fully open during roasting and smoking.
During roasting, you should see only a whisp of light Hot Smoke coming from your barbecue.
Every hour: brush liberally with melted butter and add 6 to 8 burning charcoal briquettes per side coal pocket.
As soon as you feel that the turkey's skin may be getting too dark, cover the turkey loosely with aluminium foil and return the lid.
Turkey Dinner Time!
Once you feel that the turkey is done, use a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature in the thickest parts of the turkey has indeed reached about 180oF (just over 80oC).
If the turkey is indeed done, transfer it to a pre-heated serving dish, cover loosely with aluminium foil, and let it rest for fifteen minutes. This rest will allow heat and juices to distribute evenly, thus making this grilled turkey even better!
This perfect turkey can also be eaten outside the Christmas or Thanksgiving season...
The PitBoss Suggests
This juicy smoked turkey combines very well with:
Creamy Gravy with Tarragon
This soft and creamy white gravy with tarragon combines particularly well with the subtle taste of pork, veal and poultry, for example Blue Smoke BBQ's Brined and Smoked Turkey.
Stuffed BBQ Potatoes
In addition to great taste, they also look wonderful on your barbecue plate.
Juanita's American Coleslaw