Turkey on the Big Green Egg - Looking for kickass recipe
November 15, 2013 7:49 AM   Subscribe

My aunt, uncles, cousins, grandma, and everyone else I know is coming to Thanksgiving this year, and they all love good food and my aunt and grandma may very well be the best cooks I've ever met. I am smoking a turkey on the Big Green Egg and I want it to knock their socks off. I've googled but what I've found doesn't give me any indication that the turkey is going to turn out GREAT. I need a great, great recipe. Anybody have one? I'd be forever indebted to you. Bonus question: anybody have an equally delicious bread pudding recipe?
posted by trandolph to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Coach House Bread and Butter Pudding
posted by DarlingBri at 7:57 AM on November 15, 2013

I love poultry done on the kamado grill more than anywhere else using any other method I've tried or tasted so far. I'm intrigued by anyone else's answer just as much as you and will be checking back for new ideas. I just keep it simple.

My prep:
1) Grind up some salt, fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley
2) rub herbs under the skin, and also add whole sage leaves under the skin (if that is the kind of thing people might like, otherwise some rubbed sage.)
3) Oil the skin, and rub with salt, rosemary, rubbed sage.
4) In the cavities I place quartered lemon, apple, and large bouquet of sage, rosemary, and thyme

I do not tie or truss the legs. The turkey sits on the grill with legs and wings hanging freely.

Kamado setup:
Set up the grill for indirect cooking. From here, I have a bit more BBQ setup.
I raise a baking sheet off the deflector plate using some 1/2" copper pipes, and place chopped celery, apple, carrots, etc on the sheet that will collect the drippings. The copper pipe gives some air space so the contents won't burn as it would if it was sitting directly on the ceramic deflector. You may have a more... elegant... method available to you.

On top of the baking sheet I place the grate the turkey will set on.
For smoke, I simply place another big bouquet of rosemary and thyme on the fire.
I cook at 350deg, and use a temperature probe to follow the progress of the turkey closely, and pull when the breast reaches 160deg. Let it rest a good long time.

I don't ever baste, or even open the lid until the turkey reaches 160deg unless I'm having trouble holding the temperature.

While it is resting I de-glaze the baking sheet, strain out the contents, skim off most of the fat, and add a bit of roux to thicken just a bit...
posted by csmason at 8:34 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

slicing all over the top of the bird and inserting whole garlic cloves for the duration of the cooking, then pop the garlic out and use them in things like the mashed potatoes is one of my favorite additions to any turkey prep.
posted by nadawi at 8:44 AM on November 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Depending on your thoughts about presentation vs. flavor, consider spatchcocking the turkey rather than cooking it whole. I don't know how big your BGE is, but at least some people have had success with this method.

My secret ingredient for bread pudding is chai concentrate, of the sort that you can buy at a coffee shop, in lieu of some of the milk and sugar in the custard.
posted by gauche at 8:54 AM on November 15, 2013

Oh, yeah, and I'll personally vouch for spatchcocking poultry -- I won't do chicken any other way.

Cut out the back and cut open the breastbone; salt and pepper with a heavier hand than you'd think, adding whatever herbs you like as well; refridgerate uncovered overnight to dry out the skin, and roast for 90 minutes. Boom. Adding smoke to this, as one might with a BGE, is how you take it all the way to 11.
posted by gauche at 8:57 AM on November 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

The past two years, I have followed this recipe. Instead of a roasting pan, I put the turkey on a vertical roaster in a round cake pan. My theory is that this gives the turkey more smoke exposure. An average size supermarket turkey just barely fits inside my large BGE.

My only complaint pretty much applies equally to all whole-turkey cooking methods: the breast finishes at about 160 F while the rest of the meat is better at 180 F. This year, my plan is to cut the breast from the carcass before smoking. Then I will reattach it with twine. Once the breast is at temperature, I will remove it and allow the rest of the turkey to finish.

Now that you have me thinking about it about it, maybe this year I will deconstruct the entire turkey and place it in the smoker on a series of racks in a macabre display of rent flesh. That way I can maximize smoke penetration and customize cooking times by piece.

I definitely prefer a smoked turkey that has been brined. Also, basting with the pan drippings every 45 minutes is important, since the inside of the smoker can get quite dry. Use a torch right before carving to crisp the skin.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 9:40 AM on November 15, 2013

I do not have a BGE. I do have a Webber bullet smoker. I have smoked 3 turkeys in the past, and am smoking this year. They have always turned out great, everyone enjoyed them.

Alas, other than brineing the turkey, not sure I have a lot to offer in suggestions. Brine it, put the thermometer in to know when it's done, and smoke it like just about anything/everything else. (The butterflying idea intrigues me, so maybe I'll try that)

Warning: It took a lot less time than I expected to cook, so be prepared if you want to eat at a specific time. (And it may take shorter or longer for you .. I run the smoker at the usual ~225F, though it varies along 200-250 )

The big downside (in my mind, YMMV) is this: Smoked turkey isn't good for many leftovers. Sandwiches, or as leftover turkey yes. Trying to use the turkey in something else never worked out or tasted good -- the smoky flavor is great in the meat, but when making leftovers out of it, the smoke really made it off-putting.
posted by k5.user at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2013

I made this bread pudding while living in Korea and it was fantastic. I bet it would be great with something like a challah (sp?) or brioche (sp?) type bread. I used plain old white bread, but living in Korea, I couldn't be choosy. :)
posted by kathrynm at 11:10 AM on November 15, 2013

I've roughly followed this recipe the last couple years: http://www.grouprecipes.com/31475/smoked-turkey-big-green-egg-style.html. Last year we got the pre-brined turkey from Trader Joe's.

The key in my smoking is using apple for the smoking portion. This makes the bird reminiscent of applewood smoked bacon, which is not a bad thing in my mind. Now not everybody is a fan of smoking, but fortunately we have a big enough group to warrant two birds at Thanksgiving, with the other being cooked in the oven to give everybody a choice.
posted by mach at 6:32 PM on November 15, 2013

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