SMOKED CHRISTMAS TURKEY
Cooking Time6 hours + 1 hour prep
Serves8 - 10
- 4.5 - 5.5kg Turkey
- 100g Butter
- For the Stuffing:
- 8 Slices Streaky Bacon, diced
- 2 Celery Stalks, chopped
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 200g Bread Cubes
- 1 ¾ Cups Chicken Stock
- 2 Teaspoons Sage
- 2 Teaspoons Dried thyme
- ½ Teaspoon Pepper
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Cup Dried Cherries
- For the Dry Rub:
- ¼ Cup Freeze Dried Cranberries
- 1 Tablespoon Thyme
- 1 Tablespoon Rosemary
- 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
In a pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, and remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towels, drain the pan, but keep 2 tablespoons of the dripping. Fry the celery and onion in the drippings until softened.
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, stock, sage, thyme, pepper and salt. Stir in the bacon, celery mixture and cherries.
Roughly blend the cranberries, thyme and rosemary together. Then add the salt and garlic powder and mix well.
Set up your water smoker, allowing for the fact that you will need to keep the smoker going for at least 6 hours, so don’t skimp on the charcoal. Getting the smoker ready at this stage, before you tackle the turkey, will ensure that it is ready to go as soon as the turkey is prepared.
Make sure the Turkey is fully defrosted before you start. Step 1 through to step 3 should be done at least 2 hours before going onto the smoker, but can be done in advance the day before and then the bird should be kept refrigerated overnight.
Just before smoking, loosely stuff the turkey with your cool stuffing, through the neck cavity.
Loosen the skin on the crown, by pushing your fingers beneath it from the open end. Be careful not to make a hole in the skin (those of you with long nails). Then once the skin is loose, take a teaspoon and use this to insert the butter beneath the skin, making sure to spread it evenly by gently pushing the butter along with your fingers.
Use some of the left over butter and rub the outside of the turkey (this will not only add flavour to the skin, but will also help the rub stick to the bird). Sprinkle the turkey with plenty of cranberry rub, then massage it thoroughly.
Your smoker should be running at between 220°F-250°F or 105°C-115°C, if you have a ProQ Frontier or ProQ Excel, slight adjustments can be made to the air vents to set your smoker to the required temperature. Some points to remember… at this time of year, we have to be aware that wind and lower ambient temperatures (the biggest thieves of the temperature inside your smoker) will come into play, so if you can, place your smoker in a sheltered area that is out of the way.
Take the turkey out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before placing it on one of the cooking grills of your water smoker, with a probe in the breast as this is the thickest part of the bird. Pop the lid on and open the top vent, this is also the time to add your apple wood to the coals.
Carefully and lovingly remove the bird from the smoker once its internal temperature hits 170°F or 76°C. Allow the bird to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
N.B. The Cranberry rub recipe was provided by our friend PitmasterX