After having much success with beer can chickens over the summer i decided to use the method to improve thanksgiving. Personally i hate turkey and was acquiesing to the demands of guests by making one. I figured i might as well try to improve on it and at the same time open up the oven space for the sides. I know some have derided the method as frat boy, but it has resulted in the best roast chickens i have had.
I started out around 7am by throwing together alton browns recipe for turkey brine. Thinking i was going to head back to bed afterwards i did it sans coffee. Due to this I screwed up the recipe by not reading it fully. Instead of adding the microwaved aromatics to the inside of the roasting bird, i added them to the brine. It didnt end up being a problem and probably added more flavour, but it did reinforce my idea that i need coffee before i do anything. to the brine i added a 13lb young turkey which had been thawing in the fridge since monday.
While the turkey was sitting in the brine i went about the gravy making process. Having never made gravy before i sort of followed hints from chowhound and the joy of cooking. I roasted the neck and the pupik with some olive oil, salt pepper and smoked spanish paprika until they were nicely browned on the outside. At this point i dumped the parts into a pot i had of simmering vegetable stock. I deglazed the roasting pan with some white wine and added this to the pot with some all spice berries and dried sage. i cooked this on low for around 1.5 hrs. I poured this through a sieve into a simple roux i made and whisked to combine. To finish i topped off the gravy with a little port and adjusted the salt and pepper and the chopped up meat. The gravy was excellent, it almost didnt make it to the dinner b/c i kept dipping bread in it. After tasting so many terrible gravies throughout the years i really cant understand how you can F it up. It was really easy and came out fantastic.
On to the turkey. Around 2 i took the bird out of the brine, and rinsed it off throuroughly. After drying it as much as possible i brushed it with melted butter and applied a rub of smoked paprika, black pepper, dried sage orgegano and thyme. I also added some of this liberally insde of the cavities. I slid the whole thing on top of a greased fosters can which was a bout 2/3 full. After getting my wood chips smoking and the grill hot(i was using gas) i put the turkey on using the indirect cooking method. I left this undisturbed for about a half hour with the two side burners on high. I switched them to medium/low and every half hour or so i basted with butter mixed with the rub and added more wood chips. I wanted a really smoky taste and used a combo of hickory and mesquite. I tented the white meat with tin foil about 1.5 hrs into the process. At about 2.5 hours the bird was done.
It came out fantastic. Possibly the best turkey i have ever eaten. the skin was very crisp, and the meat was extremely moist and flavourful. I feel like the birne cut through the richness of the meat. The smoke was what really put it over the edge. I will definitely be doing my turkeys with this method for years to come.
I think one of our guests took pictures which i will post when i get them.