As the newest Style Me Pretty Living contributor, I thought I'd start with a full Thanksgiving spread, just for you! But before we get to the goods (they're coming, I promise), I wanted to share a couple of recipes that really made our event shine. My husband and I started brining and smoking our turkey on the Big Green Egg 2 years ago, and we'll never go back. The brine, while an extra step, is a complete game changer. I promise you the most flavorful and tender turkey you've ever tasted!
Buttermilk Brined Smoked Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing
|FOR THE TURKEY||2 oz. turkey brine, I prefer Williams-Sonoma's Apple & Spices Brine (just use the entire jar)|
|1 quart water||4 quarts buttermilk|
|1 fresh turkey (preferably organic and/or free range), 12 to 18 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed||4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature|
|2 Lemons (cut in half)||1 head of garlic (cut in half, leave the peel on)|
|2 white onions (cut into quarters)||Twine|
|Extra large brining bags||1 small bottle of apple juice|
|mesquite chips for the smoker||1 disposable turkey pan|
|FOR THE STUFFING:||3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil|
|1 yellow onion, diced||3-4 halves of garlic, diced|
|4 celery stalks, diced||1 tsp. kosher salt|
|Freshly ground pepper, to taste||2 cups peeled and roasted chestnuts, halved|
|1 package (1 lb.) La Brea Bakery focaccia stuffing||4-6 cups vegetable, turkey or chicken stock, warmed|
In a large pot over high heat, combine the turkey brine and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the majority of the salt dissolves, 5 to 10 minutes. Let the brine mixture cool to room temperature. Add buttermilk.
Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and place in a large brining bag. Carefully pour the buttermilk brine mixture into the bag. Seal the bag, pressing out the air, and place in a large stockpot or other container large enough to hold the turkey. Refrigerate for 18 to 36 hours, turning occasionally.
Remove the turkey from the brine; discard the brine. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard the excess fat. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add lemons, garlic, and onions to the cavity of the turkey and truss legs with kitchen twine. Melt the butter and rub the skin evenly with a basting brush. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
FOR THE BIG GREEN EGG
Soak mesquite chips for 24 hours in water.
Heat egg to 600F-700F degrees, add soaked chips. Set place setter with legs up (this allows for indirect heat smoking). Place turkey on turkey rack and place entire turkey and rack in disposable turkey pan. During this process the chips will naturally bring temperature down to desired temp of 250F.
Smoke turkey for 60 minutes at 250F, check periodically to see if the legs or breast are burning, if so tent with tin foil. Please note when smoking a turkey the skin will appear much, much darker than roasting, this is a not a sign of being burnt. Refer to pictures above.
Continue smoking for 10 hours at 250F, checking periodically and basting with apple juice. Turkey is fully cooked when the internal temperature of the breast reaches 175F.
Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 to 60 minutes before carving. While resting, turkey will continue to cook reaching a final internal temperature of 180F.
FOR THE STUFFING:
Preheat an oven to 375°F.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, celery, salt and pepper and sauté until soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the chestnuts. Transfer the onion mixture to a very large bowl.
Stir in the stock 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it is completely absorbed into the croutons and does not pool in the bottom of the bowl. Taste a crouton; it should be moist throughout but not crunchy or mushy. You may not need all of the stock.
Transfer the stuffing to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and crisp, 25 to 35 minutes more. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with thyme
Note: If you don't have a smoker, no worries. Simply follow all of the brining instructions and roast your turkey in the oven as directed!