Pellet Smoked Cajun Butter Turkey
Holiday time is here again and your family is looking forward to your smoked turkey. And this year it’s time to give them a different flavor of buttery creole goodness. Now don’t worry, this is not spicy and grandma won’t need a tall glass of milk to cool down the burn. This recipe uses Tony Chachere’s cajun butter injection which has a very buttery flavor with a little bit of kick. If you haven’t tried this before, you should give it a taste before injecting so you know what you are working with. But that’s not all, we’re going to add a creole seasoning herb butter underneath and on top of the turkey skin! Just smoke it for a few hours at 250F then crank the heat to 375F to crisp up the skin. Take it off the smoker when the breast hits 165F, let it rest, then slice in and be amazed at how juicy this turkey is.
Man That’s Cooking
- 10 – 15 lb whole turkey
- 1 bottle Tony Chachere’s cajun butter injection
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp fresh sage
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 3 – 5 tbsp Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning
Usually your turkey will be fully frozen and if so let it thaw out in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours.
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!
For this recipe, we are using a bottle of Tony Chachere’s cajun butter injection. You may end up using only half the bottle per turkey so pour the injection into another container and do not stick your injection needle directly into the bottle. That will cross contaminate the injection liquid with raw turkey and besides that, it’s just easier to use a wider mouth container. Use your injection needle to pump the turkey up with all the injection liquid as possible. Inject the thighs, legs, wings and breasts and move the needle around to inject multiple points. Putting too much liquid in one area will create a pocket of injection, which is not a bad thing but will be noticeable.
Use one stick of room temperature unsalted butter and mix with 1 tablespoon of Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning. Add about a teaspoon each of fresh chopped sage, thyme, and rosemary then mix everything together. Next use a small silicone spatula to separate the skin from the meat starting at the neck area and working around to the thighs. Next you can put some seasoned butter on the spatula and work it down underneath the skin. Use your fingers above the skin to spread the butter around. If you are careful you can separate the skin from the thigh meat and get some seasoned butter there as well.
Flip the turkey over and use Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning to coat the inside of the turkey. You can be heavy handed with the seasoning if you like, this is a big piece of meat! Flip the turkey back over and season the skin side. Next rub on the remaining seasoned butter then add the remaining herbs. Add one light coat of creole seasoning for good looks and flavor.
Turkey can be smoked at temperatures ranging from 225F up to 325F. However there are some food safety concerns when smoking a turkey larger than 15 pounds at 250F or less. For this recipe we recommend using a turkey less than 15 pounds and smoking at 250F using a wood such as apple, pecan or hickory. Your total cook time will vary depending on the total weight of the turkey and cooking temperature. A 14 pound turkey would take around 4 hours more or less of cook time. The problem with a smoke temperature lower than 300F will be rubbery skin or at least skin that is not crisp and possibly chewy. To help fix this, you will need to crank up the heat of your smoker to 375F when the breast reaches an internal temp of 150 – 155F. Let the turkey continue to cook and when the turkey reaches around 165F in the breast and 175F in the thigh, remove it from the smoker and let it rest uncovered. If you cover the turkey for too long, the steam will work against you and moisten the skin. Just let it rest 15 minutes to allow carryover cooking to do it’s job and work the juices around. After resting, carve into that turkey and be ready to deal with a cutting board full of juices!
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