Saturday, November 30, 2013

"The New and Improved Smoked Turkey, Gravy and Dressing Recipe"

Do not baste the bird, it softens the skin.  Do not tie off the legs/wings.  Doing so closes off certain area to the heat and yields uneven cooking.  Rub every crook and cranny.

The Smoker:  Clean, and use any flavor of wood pellets, except hickory and mesquite.  They are too heavy and will over power your bird's taste.  In 2013 I used NW apple wood pellets.  When ready, open the lid and start on lowest setting for 5 - 7 minutes.  After it has started, put the bird in for an hour to an hour and a half for the smoke, then ramp up the temp to 325 degrees. Remove when the deep meat reaches 165 degrees.  

Brine:  Purchase packet in the grocery store when you pick-up your bird.  Follow the directions.  The packet even comes with a large sealable plastic bag.  How long should the bird be brined?  One hour for each pound of bird, breast down.  Then let it sit quietly in the fridge for 24 hours prior to the cook.

Gravy:  Prepare the gravy one hour prior to putting the bird on the smoker. 

Ingredients for Gravy -

  • 3-4 cups water, or chicken stock, or wine, any combination thereof
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 - 3 cups yellow onions, ends removed, skin on, quartered
  • 2 medium carrots peeled 2" lengths, or baby carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 tbl dried sage leaves, crumbled
  • 1 tbl dried thyme
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 2-3 tbl olive oil
  • No Salt
  • the Pope's nose (tail)
  • heart, gizzard, excess skin and fat, neck and juices

Procedure -

Put sliced yellow onions, chopped celery and carrots, and herbs, along with 4 or 5 tbls of olive oil in roasting pan, heat in oven at 425 degrees for one hour, or until the onions turn a nice golden brown. 
Place the bird, breast up, on a roasting rack set it in the roasting pan with the onions, carrots, etc., at 325 degrees. Add 3 or 4 cups of chicken broth (not organic!), apple juice, and optionally, chopped innards from the bird, and put it in the oven/smoker. Replenish liquid with chicken broth as needed throughout the cooking process.
Once done, pour into a bowl and spoon off the grease on top, then put into the blender and puree to a gravy consistency.  At that point, as my friend "Joe from Oly," says, "Toss in some salt and pepper to taste, then start praising God that he put Joe on earth to be your friend."
Bring the gravy to a boil to reduce and thicken, if needed.  It is rich enough that you can add more stock, or broth, to make more.

Wet Rub (Simon & Garfunkel):


  • 1 tbl dried crused parsley
  • 2 tbls dried crushed sage
  • 1 tbl dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 tbl dried crushed thyme
  • 1 tbl dried crushed oregano
  • 1 tbl dried crushed basil
  • 1 tbl dried crushed bay leaf
  • 1 tbl ground black pepper
  • 1 tbl sugar
  • 10 tbl vegetabl or olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbl table salt


Mix dry ingredients first, add the oil, mix.  Separate the skin from the muscle on the bird and slide the rub in between.  Save some for the exterior of the skin.

Bird Aromatics:


  • 1 medium onion, quartered, skin on
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large springs fresh sage, or thyme
  • peel of one orange
  • orange chunks

Place ingredients in body cavity, but use care not to plug the airways in the cavity.

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