We recently celebrated our fifth annual TestGiving. If you’re unfamiliar with TestGiving, it’s a day when we cook a complete Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey and all the fixings; sort of dress rehearsal for the All American Feast! Basically, it’s another good excuse to eat more turkey. As usual, I’m in charge of the Turkey. I’m too much of an ego maniac to let the responsibility fall to anyone else. Anyway, I wanted to try something new this year, because testing new recipes is what TestGiving is all about.
|Butter Smoked TestGiving Turkey|
For the past couple of years I have made the Bacon Wrapped Turkey. While it is absolutely delicious, it was time for something new and possibly better. I know you’re saying "what on earth is better than bacon"!?!?! Well, it starts with a B, rhymes with clutter...thats right BUTTER! And not just any butter...smoked butter! I got the idea from another BBQ Guru of mine, Ted Reader. I watched his video a few weeks ago when I was doing some R&D and decided that was going to be my TestGiving Turkey.
As usual this turkey started with a brining. I made a little change in my brine this year and substituted white grape juice for the apple cider. I really like the white grape juice because it has an even lighter flavor than apple juice that goes well with poultry. The brine consisted of 1 gallon of white grape juice, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of kosher salt. I mixed the brine in my bucket, dropped in the turkey, placed the bucket in the fridge and let it sit for 24 hours.
Note: Frozen turkeys have a salt solution in the bag. After the turkey has defrosted I will soak it in water overnight to remove this solution before I brine. This step will keep the turkey from being too salty. Start defrosting your bird a day earlier to give yourself plenty of time.
To prep the turkey for cooking I removed the turkey from the brine and patted it dry. I coated the turkey with olive oil to help the rub adhere to the skin. Then I gave the turkey a generous dusting of Casa Seasoning. I just wanted to keep it simple so the rub was not competing with the smoked butter.
I smoked the turkey using a mix of Kingsford Competition Briquettes and cherry wood chunks. I like the cherry wood because it has a light sweet flavor that is subtle and not overpowering. I smoked the turkey at 275º for about four hours. Rule of Thumb for smoking turkeys is 15-20 minutes per pound.
After the turkey had cooked for about an hour I placed a pan with four sticks of butter in the smoker to melt. I pushed my charcoal and wood chunks around a little bit to get some smoke going to flavor the butter while it melted, about 30 minutes.
|Injecting Smoked Butter into the Turkey|
Once the butter was melted I pulled the pan of butter and turkey from the smoker. I filled my injector with the smoky butter and proceeded to inject it into the bird. Butter was injected into various spots around the breast. I also injected some in the skin between the leg and breast. After the turkey was pumped up with butter I brushed it down with what else? A little more butter and returned it to the smoker. I still had quite a bit of butter left, so I continued to baste the turkey with the remaining butter every 30 minutes until the turkey was done.
|Basting with more of the smoked butter|
After 4 hours of smoking and butter basting it was time for the moment of truth. As I sliced the turkey I could see the butter just ooze from the meat. I cut off a nice piece for my taste test and it was really good! The meat was moist and juicy with an amazing buttery smoky flavor. The skin was even better, it had more pronounced smoke flavor with a buttery finish. Of course it was absolutely fantastic with all the fixings.
|TestGiving is Served!|
The rest of Team AlbuKirky agreed ,it was a pretty tasty bird. They were on the fence if it was better than the bacon wrapped turkey, but it was just as good. They did agree that they would need a side-by-side taste test to be sure. I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, but there is a possibility of a bacon wrapped smoked butter injected turkey in the future.