For starters, we used Damaris Phillip's brining recipe. She has a show on food network called Southern at Heart and her brining recipe was pretty simple and full of flavor!! Here it is:
1 cup fine salt
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
5 cloves smashed garlic
2 dried bay leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper
One 12-pound turkey
In a giant pot, bring to a boil the salt, molasses, sugar, worcestershire, garlic, bay leaves and pepper. Let it cool completely and then pour it over the turkey in a brining bag. Let it sit over night in the refrigerator.
Its looking good!
Then cook the turkey however you want. We smoked it following this recipe:
1 cup bourbon
5 cups apple wood chips
We soaked the wood chips in a combination of water and bourbon. Just put the wood chips in a bowl, pour in a cup of bourbon and then add water until all the chips are soaked. Let this soak overnight as well. The flavor that came from the bourbon was amazing!
Then when its time to smoke, set your smoker as high as it will go to heat up. Then right before you put your turkey in, turn the temperature to 225. Once you take the turkey our of the brine, pat it dry. Be sure to get in all the crevices. Then put some canola oil on him (I'm not sure why its a him and not a her, but lets go with it) and season with salt and pepper (or any special rub).
We have this awesome seasoning that a friend makes so we used a special rub. If you have something you love, then add that along with the salt and pepper right before smoking!
Put in smoker! You will want to smoke him for 5-6 hours depending on the size of your turkey. For a 12 pounder and good weather, it'll take 5-6 hours. If the weather is really cold, be sure to factor in more time for the cooking. You'll want the internal temp to be around 165. If you have questions about smoking and time, leave a comment and my husband, who is amazing at smoking can hopefully answer your question. Let it rest for 30 minutes before cutting into it.
This is your delicious end result. My kids and I could not get enough of this!
After Thanksgiving, we had a lot of leftovers, so I decided to make a soup. The smoky flavor from the turkey came out in the soup and just kicked it up 10 notches! It's definitely a great combination every year, a smoked turkey followed by smoked turkey soup. The recipe is all yours:
Smoked Turkey Soup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
3-4 cups copped leftover turkey
1 cup rice
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
In a soup pot, melt the butter with the olive oil. Sauté the onion and carrots (be sure to season with salt and pepper). (You could also add any other vegetable you have leftover from thanksgiving, i.e. bell peppers, squash, etc) Once the vegetables start to get soft, throw in the turkey and pour in the broth. Let it come to a boil, then add the rice (or noodles or nothing if you want to cut the carbs). Let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. Taste it and decide if you need more salt and pepper. It'll depend on your turkey and broth, etc. So always taste check it. Then add about a cup of milk and let it simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve with bread, crackers, croutons, pour over left over stuffing, eat it by itself...oh the many options!!
You don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to brine and smoke a turkey. You don't even have to wait for left over turkey to make this soup, just get some store bought carved turkey in the deli section! These recipes are awesome all year around and a nice change to have now, so you don't have to wait for a fall/winter holiday. I hope you guys enjoy making these recipes as much as we enjoyed eating them! Until next time...