Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cherry Smoked Turkey w/ Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

If you don't own a smoker, no worry, just use a gas grill.  Below are instructions on how to use your gas grill as a smoker.

This turkey recipe uses cherry wood chips.  Smoking with cherry wood adds a slightly smoky, fruity flavor.  If you prefer a heavy wood smoke taste, use hickory or red oak chips.  You may also try combining different types
of wood chips according to your preference.

This recipe takes approximately 3 - 4 hours smoking time.  Also figure another 1 - 2 hours for preparation of  the wood chips, spice mixture and chopping the vegetables.  This recipe does take quite a few hours to create, but is perfect for outdoor parties when your guests will be able to smell the delicious meal as it cooks!

Preparing Your Gas Grill To Smoke

The trick to smoking on a gas grill is preparing to use indirect cooking.  Take the grill grate off the furthest left burner.  This is where you will be putting the soaked wood chips allowing them to create the smoke for cooking.  The potatoes will be placed on the right side of the grill.

Soaking Wood Chips

To smoke on a gas grill, you will need to soak your wood chips for about 1 hour before you can use them.  This will prohibit them from igniting.  The water also helps the chips begin to smoke.  For best results, use about 4 - 5 handfuls of chips to start.  Wood chips will have to be added to the grill every hour, so be sure to have extra chips that have been soaked.

After your chips have soaked, drain the water off and place the wood chips in a sealed tinfoil made envelope.  Then pierce the foil to make small holes for the smoke to escape.  If you prefer, you can purchase a smoker box to place the wood chips inside, then you wouldn't need to improvise with foil.  It is advised to purchase two smoker boxes so you can switch boxes out every hour.  This is the easiest way to create a smoky environment in the most time efficient manner.

To begin, turn all burners on high with the wood chips on the left side of the grill.  After about 15 minutes, the wood chips should start smoking.  You are now ready to start smoking.  To cook on indirect heat, turn off burners on the right side of the grill.  Keep the left burner on high.

You can see the smoker box to the left of the screen.  This is how the grill should be setup for proper smoking on a propane system.  The turkey should be smoked on the top rack.  This allows the fat from the bacon wrapped turkey to drip onto the potatoes, this creates additional delicious flavor!

The Recipe:  Cherry Smoked Turkey w/ Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

1 hotel turkey breast; as you can visualize in the photo, it is simply the breast meat and wings left on the carcass.  Leaving the breasts on the bone provides additional flavor that boneless lacks.

3/4 stick butter

1/2 pound sliced bacon

Soaked cherry wood chips

The Turkey Rub

1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cummin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground nutmeg

Combine ingredients.  Rub underneath the skin for maximum flavor potential.

Cut butter into pieces; place under turkey skin.  Then wrap the top of the turkey completely with sliced bacon.

Smoke as directed above for 3 - 4 hours (depending on the size of the turkey), or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F.

On the right side of the grill, place chopped potatoes with 1 largely chopped vidalia onion that has been tossed in olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and garlic powder.  Later we will make a rosemary butter sauce to pour over the potatoes.  Smoke the potatoes at the same time the turkey is smoked.  The potatoes will take about the same amount of time as the turkey.

Onion Balsamic Caramel

During the final hour of cooking time, brush the turkey generously with this caramel sauce.  Be sure to reserve some for serving on the side.

3 Tbsp. butter
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 - 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute onion in melted butter on medium high heat until starting to caramelize.  Then pour sugar over onions, and continue to cook until the sugar and onions turn a medium light champange color.  Then add vinegar, garlic, salt & pepper.  Simmer until slightly thickened and dark in color; about 5 - 10 minutes (Note: The vinegar should not smell strong at this point, if it does, continue to cook for an additional 1 - 3 minutes.) 

Rosemary Butter Sauce for Potatoes

1 stick butter
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp. sea salt
1/2 lemon, juiced

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients.  Pour over the potatoes during the last hour of cooking time.

After the turkey and potatoes have finished cooking, break the pieces of bacon into the onion balsamic caramel.  Pour off any excess liquid in the caramel.  Serve on top of sliced turkey and potatoes.



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