The Best Smoked Turkey Ever from the Grill or Even Your Oven!
It all starts with a simple set of ingredients and a set of detailed plans on how to achieve the perfect combination of flavor, moistness, and consistency all the way through the bird. When you smoke your turkey right, you can have the best holiday meal ever; whether its Thanksgiving or Christmas, it all starts here!
There are a few secrets that make this all possible, but it takes some work. If you are willing to accept a little extra work for the ultimate turkey then continue reading below.
Are you ready?
Let’s get started.
1 turkey, any size
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat only if the meat has not been pre-salted
4 ounces [113 gm] or so of hardwood or fruitwood
This gravy is essentially a rich concentrated smoky turkey stock that will penetrate the meat, not just sit on top of it. Once you try it you will never go back to the thick floury wallpaper paste again. You will have more than you need when you are done, so you can use it in soups or pot pies or risotto. The recipe here has a lot of room for improvisation.
3 quarts [2.8 L] water
1 cup [237 ml] apple juice
2 onions, skin on, ends removed, cut into quarters
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths
1 rib of celery, leaves and all, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 tablespoon [15 ml] dried sage leaves, crumbled (do not use powdered herbs, they can cloud the broth)
1 tablespoon [15 ml] dried thyme leaves
2 whole dried bay leaves
4 tablespoons of Simon & Garfunkel rub
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil
About the liquids. You can substitute some of the water with chicken stock, vegetable stock, or a bottle of a white wine. I often get a white wine from the closeout bin of the local liquor store. Oxidized white wine is fine; in fact I think it adds depth. Just don’t use anything that has turned to vinegar. And never use red wine unless you want purple turkey! I have occasionally added mushrooms and ancho chiles to the gravy, too. You can substitute a small handful of celery leaves for the celery rib. This is a good way to get rid of them.
About the onion skins. Onion skins contain a pigment that darkens the gravy. Using them in making stocks is an old chef trick. In fact they are sometimes used as fabric dyes. If the skins are musty, or the underlayer is mushy or rotten, discard them.
Add no salt. Drippings from the meat will have salt, so wait until you taste the final gravy and add salt at the end if you think it needs more.
About Simon & Garfunkel. If you don’t want to bother making Simon & Garfunkel (you really should have a bottle on hand at all times), just use a simple blend of herbs, perhaps 1.5 tablespoons finely chopped or powdered sage (fresh or dried) and 1.5 tablespoons thyme leaves (fresh or dried).