Pellet Smoked Turkey


Pellet Smoked Turkey

Turkey for me, turkey for you! Smoking a whole turkey on a pellet smoker is easier than you think! The key steps are brining the turkey to retain moisture, spatchcocking (or butterfly) the turkey to ensure all parts cook evenly, and never going over the finish temperature. Everything else such as seasonings, injections, and wood selections simply enhance the final product. Nobody wants to mess up an all important Thanksgiving meal or Christmas dinner. If you have never smoked turkey on your pellet smoker before, use this recipe with chicken (and cook to temp not time). If you are a seasoned pro with smoking chickens, you can easily step up to smoking turkey (which is basically a big chicken).

Ingredients

  • 1 10 – 15 pound turkey
  • 2 64 oz bottles of apple juice
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 sprigs fresh sage
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 cup Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Killer Hogs AP Rub
  • 1 cup Plowboys Yardbird Rub

Thawing
This recipe needs 2 days of preparation prior to the Thanksgiving day cook. Usually your turkey will be fully frozen and if so let it thaw out in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Spatchcocking
When the turkey is thawed, remove it from the packaging and remove any giblets and pop up thermometers. Next, cut out the backbone using kitchen shears or a chef’s knife. Cut from the tail along the side of the backbone up to the neck. Repeat this step on the other side of the backbone and remove it completely. Following this, cut the breastbone in the center and now you can flatten out the turkey. This flattening of the bird is called spatchcocking and it will allow the breast and thigh meat to reach their finishing temperatures at the same time. And don’t throw way that backbone, it’s perfect for making gravy or turkey broth!

Brining
The next step is to brine the turkey for 24 hours. Place the turkey in an XL Ziploc bag or a brine bucket. Add the kosher salt, peppercorns, 4 sprigs of sage, thyme, and rosemary. Next pour in the 2 containers of apple juice and add water if needed until the turkey is submerged. Next seal the Ziploc bag while forcing out any air inside the bag. Use a zip tie or thick rubber band to collapse the empty top of the bag around the turkey (see video). Place the turkey back in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Injecting
When the brine is complete, remove the turkey from the Ziploc bag. Create an injection mix by crushing and mincing 3 garlic cloves. Add this to a small sauce pan or cast iron skillet along with 2 sticks of butter. Next add a sprig of fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. Heat the injection at medium temperature until the butter is fully melted. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes then remove it from the heat to cool. Once cooled use your injection needle to pump the turkey up with all the injection liquid. Start your injections in the breast meat followed by the thigh meat then drumsticks and finally the wings. You should be able to leave behind the big chunks of garlic and herbs.

Seasoning
Next season both sides of the turkey with salt pepper garlic rub (spg) as a base. For this recipe we are using Killer Hogs AP Rub. Following this, apply a poultry BBQ rub such as Plowboys Yardbird. As an optional step, you can pull back the skin over the breast and thigh and apply seasoning directly to the meat. However for some, this may be too salty and if you eat the skin you will have plenty of flavor from that. When you are done seasoning, place the turkey on an extra large cooling rack (21 x 15), then place that on a foil covered baker’s big sheet.

Smoking
Turkey can be smoked at temperatures ranging from 225 F up to 325 F. However there are some food safety concerns when smoking a turkey larger than 15 pounds at 250 F or less. For this recipe we recommend smoking at 300 F which can help crisp up the skin. Use a wood such as pecan or hickory. When your smoker reaches temp, place the baking sheet with the turkey on it in the smoker. Your total cook time will vary depending on the total weight of the turkey and cooking temperature. So when cooking at 300 F you will need to allow for approximately 15 to 20 minutes per pound. While cooking you should baste the turkey every 45 minutes. If you placed your turkey on a large cooking rack and baking sheet, the juices should accumulate in the sheet. Use a baster to draw in the juices and coat the turkey skin all over. If your juices end up evaporating, you can brush melted butter on the skin. Continue this cooking process until the approximate cooking time is reached. At that point, check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast meat and you want to see at least 160 F. Check the thighs and you should be at around 170 F. Take several readings at different locations of the meat and your lowest reading is the one to go with. When the turkey reaches temp, remove it from the smoker and cover it with aluminum foil. While the turkey is covered there will be some carryover cooking bringing the temps from 160 F up to at least 165 F which is the safe recommended temperature. Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Grilled Creole Chipotle Chicken


Grilled Creole Chipotle Chicken

It’s grilling season and we have a simple but very tasty chicken recipe for you to try. If you like a some heat but not too much, then this recipe is perfect for you. It doesn’t matter if you are a charcoal or propane grill fan you just might add this to your chicken recipe list!

Ingredients

  • 3 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

This recipe will use Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. If you have not tried this seasoning before, it contains heat from cayenne pepper. If cayenne is too much heat for you, then check out our Grilled Chicken Breast Pollo Asado recipe.

First, remove the chicken from the packaging and dry them off with a paper towel. Next coat all sides of the chicken with olive oil. Next season as heavily as you like with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. Next apply chipotle powder and finally sprinkle on the dried thyme.

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees and then turn down all burners to low temp.

This recipe works best with some pecan wood smoke flavor. It is not required but if you have been on the fence about trying out wood chips or pellets, this is the time! It’s a very small investment with a big flavor return. So load up your smoke box with pecan chips or load up your pellet tube with pecan pellets and get them started on the grill.

When your grill is preheated, and your smoke box or tube is smoking, place the chicken above the smoke on an upper shelf. If you do not have an upper shelf, or smoke box / tube, just grill the chicken on the bottom grate. Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, then flip once and cook for another 10 minutes. At this point check the temperature at the thickest point. You should reach 165 F internal temp. If you do not yet have a food thermometer you will need to slice into the thickest part and check for red or pink colors. Continue to cook until the pink becomes white. The downside of slicing the chicken for doneness checks is that you will drain the juices out of the chicken and that makes people sad. So buy a food thermometer!

Once the chicken is done and pulled from the grill, allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Grilled Taco Burgers


Grilled Taco Burgers

Cinco de Mayo is coming up and we’ve got your BBQ party food covered! Why make traditional corn shell tacos when you can grill up some taco burgers! So try out this delicious recipe for grilled taco burgers and you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 romaine lettuce heart
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup guacamole
  • 6 keiser burger buns
  • 1/2 stick salted butter

Start with a large bowl for chopped veggies, and a medium bowl for the ground beef mixture. First dice half of a white onion and place it into the large bowl. Take out ¼ cup of the onion and finely chop it, then place it in a medium bowl. Next dice 2 plum tomatoes and add them to the large bowl. Next pick 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves and place them in the large bowl. Following this, finely chop ¼ cup of cilantro and place it in the medium bowl. Next slice 2 jalapenos and put them aside in a small container. Wash and shred one heart of romaine lettuce and set it aside in another container.

Next, add the ground chuck to the medium bowl. Mix the beef, onion, and cilantro for about 1 minute until it is well mixed. Add in one packet of taco seasoning and mix together for another minute. Form the beef into 6 equal sized patties and place them on a cutting board. Add salt and pepper to the tops of the patties.

Next melt 1/2 stick of butter and brush the butter onto sliced keiser burger buns.

Preheat your grill to 400 degrees and then turn down all burners to low temp.

When your grill is preheated, grease the grill area and add the burger patties. Cook the burgers for 8 minutes, then flip and cook another 8 minutes. After this, move the burgers to the top rack of your grill, then add shredded cheese to burger patties. Place the keiser buns on the grill and allow everything to cook for 2 minutes with the grill lid closed. Remove the keiser buns and burger patties.

Assemble the burgers starting with the bottom bun followed by guacamole, shredded lettuce, burger patty, sour cream, onion tomato cilantro mix, shredded cheese, then sliced jalapenos. Finally add top bun and take a bite and enjoy.

Jalapeno Popper Potato Salad


Jalapeno Popper Potato Salad

Get ready for a hot summer with this jalapeño popper potato salad recipe. This recipe combines all your favorite jalapeño popper flavors with the comforts of delicious baked potato flavors. It’s easy to make and will disappear fast at a cookout!

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds medium red potatoes
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 3 green onions
  • 8 oz block cream cheese
  • 1/2 pound mexican blend or monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

First, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature.

Next, stack the bacon slices and then cut them into small bits. Seperate the bits and place them into a frying pan. Fry the bacon bits on a medium heat until fully cooked. Using a slotted spoon, remove all of the bacon and place it on paper towels to dry.

Place the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot, and cover the potatoes with water. Bring the potatoes to a boil on high heat and then reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a simmer. Cook the potatoes about 20 minutes until a small knife can be inserted without resistance. At this point drain the water and allow the potatoes to cool. After about 20 minutes, peel the potatoes then cut them into small chunks and add them to a mixing bowl.

While everything is cooking, thinly slice the jalapeno peppers. Following this, chop the green onions. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and pepper. If you are not a fan of mayonnaise you can substitute with sour cream. Mix the dressing together for a minute. After slicing the potatoes, pour this dressing over them and mix well. Taste the potato with dressing mixture and decide if you want to add more mayonnaise (or sour cream) Stir in most of the bacon bits, green onion, jalapenos, and cheese leaving some behind as a topping. Check the flavor and add any salt if needed. Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish and top with the remaining bacon, peppers, onions, and cheese.