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WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

BBQ Recipes: Dwight's Cherry Smoked Turkey

It's getting to be that time of year again and people are wondering about how to cook turkey, ducks, geese and all sorts of birds on the smoker. I don't remember where I got this recipe, but here's one from Ramin Ganeshram that sounds pretty good. I've only had to tweak it a little bit.

Based on her directions, it seems that she must smoke her turkey on a Weber Smokey Mountain. But it shouldn't matter. Use whatever smoker you have, but be sure to use a preponderance of cherry wood in your fire. Enjoy!

Dwight's Cherry Smoked Turkey
Serves 8 to 10

Brine Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups of coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup of honey or light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 gallons warm water
One 12-pound turkey or two 6-pound turkey breasts.

Directions:
  • Trim the excess fat from the turkey.
  • Stir together the salt, sugar, and garlic powder. Add the water and stir until the dry ingredients dissolve. Cool completely.
  • Inject the turkey or each breast evenly with 10% of its weight in brine.
  • Place the whole turkey or the breasts in a deep plastic or stainless steel container—a new five-gallon paint bucket works well.
  • Pour enough brine over the turkey or breasts to submerge them. Use a plate or plastic wrap to keep them completely below the surface.
  • Brine two to three days under refrigeration.
  • Prepare the smoker by building a charcoal fire in the bottom of the smoker. Once the fire is covered with white ash, add a portion of the cherry wood chunks.
  • Place the water pan on the rack above the fire and set the barrel in place.
  • Place the top rack in the smoker.
  • Remove the turkey or breasts from the brine and rinse well.
  • Blot dry the turkey or breasts. Dry completely.
  • Place the blot dry turkey un-wrapped in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. This will further dry the bird and give you a really crisp skin when cooked.
  • Remove the turkey or breasts from the refrigerator and place the turkey on the top rack of the smoker and cover.
  • Smoke to an internal temperature of 165oF, or about 4 hours, adding more charcoal and wood chunks as needed.
NOTE: Make sure you rinse the turkey or turkey breasts really well. If you don't your finished product will be very salty.

Ramin Ganeshram is a chef professionally trained at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She lives in Stony Brook, NY and her new book "Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago" is now available. (For an excerpt, please click here.) Ramin can be reached at chef@dfire.org. Ramin is also the editor of the new magazine Canvas. It hasn’t hit the streets yet, but you can get a sneak peek on their website.

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