If you’re looking for a moist, tender, juicy, flavorful turkey this Thanksgiving, go no further in your search. This recipe is in my cookbook ZonePerfect Cooking Made Easy (McGraw-Hill 2006) I wish to share it with anyone who has the time or inclination to make a fabulous turkey. To begin with this turkey is smoked and marinaded beginning on either Tuesday or Wednesday. You need to have space in the refrigerator for the turkey until ready to be cooked. We are more inclined, if having a large crowd to have 2 smaller birds than one large one. We find the smaller turkey’s are very moist, easy to handle and cook.
While the turkey grills, the damp wood chips will impart light smokiness and the cinnamon and cloves in the water pan will keep the bird pleasantly moist. But to achieve this perfection, you will have to replenish spent coals with live ones, add more water and wine to the pans, and scatter more chips over the coals. It’s worth it, plus my family finds it fun to dash in and out on a chilly afternoon to tend to the magnificent bird.
This recipe will serve 14, you will want to have some left over so judge for yourself how many pound of turkey you will need.
1 14 pound turkey
1 large head garlic, cloves separated
4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 large yellow or sweet onions, 1 halved and 1 sliced
1 firm tart apple, halved
Herbamare (found in seasoning at Whole Foods)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bottle (75 ml) white wine or dry vermouth
1 cup hardwood chips, such as oak, apple or mesquite
2 cinnamon sticks
1. Wash the turkey thoroughly in cold water, inside and out, drain, and set on a rack in a roasting pan.
2. In a small food processor or with a sharp knife, chop the garlic cloves. Chop the garlic cloves. Spread about half of the chopped garlic in the cavity of the turkey and reserve the rest.
3. Work your fingers between the skin and breast meat to loosen it. Insert the rosemary and about half of the remaining chopped garlic under the turkey skin and smooth in place.
4. Put one of the onion and apple halves in the cavity of the turkey. (If the onion and apple halves don’t fit, slice the leftover onion or apple and scatter over the turkey.) Season heavily with Herbamare, salt and pepper.
5. Scatter the onion slices and the rest of the chopped garlic over and around the turkey. Pour the wine over the turkey and inside the cavity. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
6. Soak the hardwood chips in water overnight or for at least 1 hour.
7. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to take off the chill. This promotes even cooking.
8. Prepare a large, covered charcoal or gas grill by arranging the coals or heating elements around the perimeter of the grill. Set a pan of water, filled with a 3-inch depth of water, in the center. Put the cinnamon sticks and cloves in the water.
9. Light the coals and when covered with a good layer of gray ash and smoldering red beneath the ash, scatter half of the wood chips over the coals. They will begin to smoke.
10. Put the turkey still in the roasting pan directly over the pan of water. Cover the grill and roast for 12 to 20 minutes per pound, depending on the weather. Very cold weather requires more time. For a 14-pound turkey, allow about 3 hours and 20 minutes in warm weather and about 4 hours in very cold weather.
11. Keep the fire moderately cool, which means a thermometer inserted in the vent of the grill should register about 325°F. Add more coals as necessary (you can start them in a charcoal chimney and keep them on hand) and add more water to the pan as it evaporates. Scatter the remaining chips over the coals about halfway through roasting. Keep the grill covered the whole time. Turn the turkey once during cooking. When the initial wine evaporates add more wine or water to the roasting pan.
12. The turkey is done when you puncture it and its juices run clear, a leg moves easily around in its joint, and a meat thermometer registers 170°F when inserted in the breast meat (do not touch the bone) or 180°F. in the dark meat.
13. Let the turkey rest for about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the onions and apples. Slice the turkey and serve; smoked turkey may have a pinkish tinge near the bone, which is normal.
Per serving: 0 grams carbohydrates; 28 grams protein; 0 grams fat