This recipe is a little involved but the turnout is an incredibly delicious and moist turkey that is flavorful right down to the bone. It is definitely a hit around our house at Thanksgiving and the Holidays.
You will want to start with a 12 pound turkey that you will beer brine and then apple wood smoke.
Method: indirect grilling / smoking
Servings: 8 to 10
Advanced preparation: 16 to 24 hours for brining the turkey
1 – 12 pound turkey
Apple wood chips or chunks (soaked overnight)
For the Beer Brine:
1/3 cup or less salt (to taste)
1 quart warm water (to dissolve the salt)
2 cans of beer
4 quarts cold water (enough to cover the turkey)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks of celery (chopped or the discarded stalk pieces)
4 teaspoons of minced garlic or 8 smashed garlic cloves
5 bay leaves
The zest from one Lemon
For the Beer Mop:
1 can beer
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 Tbsp. of brown sugar OR 1 tsp. of Gravy Master©
1. The night or day before: Make the brine. Place the salt and 1 quart warm water in a large deep pot and whisk until salt crystals are dissolved. Whisk in the cold water and add the onion, celery, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, lemon zest, and cloves. If the beer is cold then it should help cool the mixture, which should be no warmer than room temperature: if it’s too warm then let cool.
2. Unwrap the Turkey and remove the giblets from the cavity and put them in a medium stock pan. I like to fork the Turkey several dozen times to help the brine soak in and flavor the whole bird. Place the Turkey, breast down, in the brine. Note – If you have room then you can place a large zip-top bag filled with cold water on top to keep the bird submerged. Place the turkey in the refrigerator and let brine overnight.
Note: You can boil the giblets in lightly salted water with fresh ground pepper to make a nice Turkey stock to use with the Maple Red Eye Gravy.
Soak enough apple wood chips for 3 to 4 hours of gentle smoking, you don’t want to over-smoke your turkey.
3. The next day: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to 275F degrees. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in center and toss the wood chips on the coals. If using a gas grill, place the wood chips in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium, about 275F to 300F. If using a smoker, light and set it up according to the manufacturers instructions. Make sure you Preheat to 275F degrees before proceeding.
4. Place the Turkey in a roasting pan with a rack (I like to line my pan and rack with aluminum foil to make clean up easier). Brush the Turkey liberally with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place on the grate. Indirect grill until cooked, about 20 minutes / pound.
5. Make the Beer Mop. Pour the beer in a bowl and add sugar and olive oil then stir until completely mixed.
6. Baste the turkey with Beer Mop every 1/2 hour to keep the Turkey from drying out.
If using a charcoal grill, replenish the coals and wood chips every hour. If the skin starts to brown too much, tent the bird with foil. On a kettle grill, you’ll probably need to tent the sides closest to the piles of coals. Remember 20 minutes per pound: a 12 pound Turkey may take about 3-1/2 to 4 hrs. (Use an instant read thermometer to test for doneness. The smoked turkey is ready when the thigh meat is 175 degrees.)
7. When done, transfer the Turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Serve with Maple Red Eye Gravy.
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