"The aromatics the turkey picks up from the fruits and vegetables is the perfect complement to the lightly smoked flavor the meat gets from wood. Try this recipe during the holiday season! "
Courtesy of BBQ Guys, Chef Tony Matassa
Whole turkey, 12-16 lbs.
Wood chips or chunks (pecan, apple or cherry recommended)
3 cups apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 sticks of celery
Green apple, quartered
1 red bell pepper
A few cloves of garlic
Fresh herbs: rosemary, sage, thyme
1 stick butter
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
Make a butter paste using a diced stick of softened butter, a little salt and cracked black pepper to taste, three cloves of minced garlic, two teaspoons each of freshly chopped thyme, parsley, and oregano, and one teaspoon of rosemary.
Add the zest of one lemon or orange, using a fork, mash it together into a rough paste drizzle in a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and blend it into a smooth paste.
Once paste is made, remove the neck, and spare parts from the inside of the turkey. Save these for later if you plan to make turkey gravy. Rub the turkey down inside and out with some olive oil to help brown nicely and retain some moisture. Add a little salt and pepper inside the cavity.
Using your fingers gently separate the skin from the flesh on about sixty percent of the turkey; at the fronts and backs of the breasts and thighs.
Where skin is separated, take small portions of the paste and liberally pack it inside, using your hands to spread it around. This keeps the turkey moist and adds awesome flavor. Coat the inside well.
Chop aromatics: celery, onions, green apple quartered, one red bell pepper, a few cloves of garlic, and fresh herbs; rosemary, sage, and thyme. Stuff whatever will fit, inside of the turkey. The rest will go in the roasting pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Fill the grill with natural lump charcoal and light the top of the pile to allow for a low and slow burn. Once the fire is going, add a few large, dry wood chunks into the fire. In about twenty minutes, there should be a good amount of smoke and a steady temperature of 250°F – 325°F.
Place a shallow water pan in the center of the cooking grid and something to hold your roasting pan. Then add the turkey to toasting pan. Add apple cider, apple vinegar, and remaining chopped aromatics to the roasting pan.
Close the lid and ensure temperature stays between 250°F and 325°F, basting every 30 to 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, check on the turkey and baste again if necessary.
Once it’s been smoking 1½ hours, check the pan to make sure it doesn’t run dry and give a quick mop with basting brush.
After 2½ hours, do one last mopping. Smoke for another 30 to 45 minutes. Closely monitor the internal temperature until it reaches 165°F in the thickest part of the breast.
Once the turkey has been smoking for roughly 3 hours and 15 minutes, remove the turkey. Drain excess juices from the cavity. This can be used for the turkey gravy.
Allow turkey to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. During this time, make the turkey gravy.