Recently, over at Boxer's place, there was a discussion on smoking pot. Lots of lengthy comments on that post!
I'm going to add my little bit on smoking... turkeys.
I admit, they are difficult to roll, keep falling outta the paper... and don't stay lit either.
But it was an experience for me! First time in my life I'd smoked a turkey. Well, two actually.
Okay, I know what you're thinking. She's been into the green too much and is talking nonsense. No green was inhaled (or ingested) in the smoking of these turkeys. There was a lot of smoke, though, and I didn't do too well with that. Inhaled a bit too much over the course of the day and spent a bit of time feeling a little nauseous. Bleh...
However, I recovered well with fresh air and a shower.
The MoS has a nice stainless steel smoker that runs on propane. It looks a lot like this one (although this isn't his, because I neglected to take a picture of the outside of the thing):
His is actually taller than this one, with more shelves, so you can smoke quite a few things at once. It's a pretty nifty gadget, I'll tell ya. And he keeps it in the garage with all those big tools he has. You remember me mentioning his tools, don't you?
So I got an education in smoking turkeys. You have to brine them first, so on Friday, he cut the spines out of the turkeys (they fit in the pots much easier that way), and put each one in a salt solution. This firms up the meat and keeps it nice and moist as it smokes. One turkey was brined with just fresh herbs (sage, thyme, black peppercorns, garlic) and the other had cranberry juice added to the salt solution. You can add whatever spices or flavouring to the brine that you want, depending on your tastes and the type of meat you are going to smoke. We figured cranberries and turkey were rather appropriate!
The turkeys were left in the brine for a good 16 hours in large stock pots in the fridge in the garage. Always handy to have an extra fridge somewhere. We pulled them out the next morning, patted them dried and proceeded to put them in the smoker that had already been fired up. The MoS felt apple wood chips would be best as they have a mild flavour and you don't want to overpower the taste of the meat with the flavour of the wood chips. When the smoker hit 250ºF, it was ready and we loaded the two turkeys onto racks in the smoker. There is a bowl that sits above the cast iron chip box that was filled with a simple syrup (warm water with some sugar dissolved in it). This ensures the meat doesn't dry out too much from the heat and the sugar adds just a hint more sweetness to the smoke.
Here's the "before" shot. And yes, it looks a bit like something from Alien...
It took these two turkeys, about 10 lbs each, 4 1/2 hours to smoke. I'd had smoked turkey breast (sliced) from a deli before, but never fresh and whole like this. Oh lordy! was it ever good! They turned a wonderful golden colour but because they had been soaked in the brine, you had to discard the skin. It was much too salty to eat. The meat, however, was super tasty and moist. It was excellent!
Here's the finished product:
Now, we smoked these turkeys because there was a party with a bunch of the MoS's friends and former colleagues. (He's retired from his first career of 30 years as a millwright in a steel mill and has moved on to his second as a gov't health and safety officer.) Every year, these guys and gals get together and everyone brings some food item. Although we didn't buy the turkeys (the party was hosted at someone else's house and he bought the turkeys) and despite having done the work of smoking them, I wanted to bring something else, so I decided to whip up a dessert.
How does Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake sound? I had a recipe stuffed in amongst various books and binders in which I've collected recipes over the years, so I figured this would be a good time to give this one a try. It is Fall, after all, and is definitely pumpkin season. Again, I didn't take a photo of the one I made (I gotta remember to do that!) but found one on the internet that is pretty close to what mine looked like.
I baked it in a 9" springform pan and it filled the thing right to the rim! I think next time, I will use the 10" pan, as there was barely room for the topping. But Oh. My. God. was it good! Almost orgasmic!!! I think it was a bigger hit than the turkey, which got rave reviews. There was absolutely none left over.
I have a feeling we will doing both the turkey and the cheesecake again! Maybe we'll just lock the doors and eat it all ourselves...