"Change the flavor of these hens by using dried, chopped apricots, pineapple, raisins, dates, prunes, or peaches instead of the cherries."
1 (10–12 pound) turkey
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 quart fresh oysters, with liquid
1 cup cider vinegar
6–7 cups water
1 stale loaf white bread, torn into chunks
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
1 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 small jalapeño pepper, diced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the smoker to 220°F to 240°F. Put a water pan on the bottom of the smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, you can use a gas or charcoal barbecue, although a gas barbecue is much easier to use. If it’s a three-burner grill, turn off the middle burner and turn the outside two to their lowest setting. If it’s a two-burner grill, turn one burner to the lowest and leave the other off.
Load your smoker box with wood chips and place directly on the coals. When the wood inside starts to smoke place the turkey on the smoker grill, brush it with the melted butter, close the lid, and cook for 6 hours. Drain the oysters, reserving the liquid in a bowl, and place them onto a baking sheet. Smoke the oysters beside the turkey to smoke for the first 2 hours. Remove the oysters from the smoker and set aside.
At the end of the 6 hours, remove the turkey from the smoker and place it in a large roasting pan. Add the cider vinegar and water to the pan. You should have 1 inch of liquid in the bottom of the pan. Brush the turkey with more butter, cover it with foil, and return it to the smoker for another 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer placed in the thigh reads 180°F.
Butter a large baking pan or 2 loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine the bread, smoked oysters, onion, celery, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, jalapeño pepper, sage, thyme, basil, poultry seasoning, pepper, and reserved oyster liquor. Place this mixture in the prepared baking pan or loaf pans. If you have room, cook this mixture in the smoker for the last hour the turkey is cooking. If you don’t have room, cook it in your oven at 325°F for about 45 minutes. In either case, cook until the top of the dressing is just slightly darker than golden brown. Remove the dressing and serve it with the turkey.