Tuesday, 27 September 2011


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...


  1. Wow, that smoked turkey really sound great. How did the cranberry one go? It certainly sounds like a good idea.

  2. The vegetarian in me scrolled a little quickly through the raw turkey (even though I'm glad it was a hit) and was very happy to see the dessert. Wow. If I google the name will I be able to find a recipe? You had me at "But.Oh.My.God"

  3. Von LX: The cranberry one was just slightly tinted pink around the edges and nice and sweet. Very good!

    Boxer: Here is a link to the recipe for the Maple Pumpkin cheesecake. Let me know what you think!

  4. I licked my monitor. It's not the same. I had a deep-fried turkey once. Once of the tastiest meals I've ever eaten! Quite dangerous, I hear.

    I think they're going to do a study one day and discover that pot is far more harmful than we ever imagined. It's not the benign buzz it's portrayed to be.

  5. UB: I've not had deep fried turkey but have heard it is delish! The MoS is debating buying a deep fryer so that he can do turkey that way too. And yes, it can be horribly dangerous with that much boiling oil in a little container at ground level.

    Seems someone finds everything to be more harmful than we thought. Maybe we should just quit ingesting anything... No wait. Then we'd die. Never mind!

  6. I'm married to one of those guys who has a smoker.. . because his devoted wife bought him one. :)

    We've done several birds but I swear the best one was the WILD turkey he got. Took all the um...not bought in a store flavors away and replaced them with not many leftovers.

    Dessert looks just like something Hubby would love! Me? I'll stick to making and canning cranberry sauce (jellied) in the Fall.

    Hope the shoulder's doing well, especially with MoS to lean on. ;0

  7. Hope: I may get to try smoked Canada goose this fall. Supposed to be excellent, from what I've been told.

    The shoulder's coming along. I'm into my third week of physiotherapy and am making progress. Still a long way to go, but it's all good! Especially the MoS bit. ;-)

  8. Yeah - smoking meat is an art! My grandfather did this, and I am soo sad that i did not learn enough from him. He used the chimney of the house, the down part in the cellar, and chopped wood, different types. I never learned how he prepared the meat, mostly pig, Schinken. I still know the taste after more than thirty years, but could not reproduce it. I only know that it took some time, and that it was important to look out for moisture, too wet could spoil the meat. The "fire" down was no real fire, I have no idea how he made it.

  9. Mago, you can use a gas (propane) BBQ to smoke meat too. Lots of info online, so if you have a BBQ you could certainly try it. Your grandfather sounds like he had quite the system, though! The chimney?!?!?

  10. I can highly recommend the outside gas burner deep fryer. Sensible precautions. Incredibly tasty Cajun fried turkey!

    Only use peanut oil!

  11. Von LX: Yes, I knew about the peanut oil, as it handles high temps. Do you have a recipe for that Cajun fried turkey??? I'd love it if you do.

  12. I don't have a written recipe, I just throw assorted spices at it. Better Google a real one for best results.

    Another good thing is one of those injectors (like a large hypo needle) to inject marinade into the meat before cooking. Italian dressing is a good choice.

  13. Holy smokes! That smoker us larger than our fridge, which has been doing some going-on-the-fritz smoking itself. We have little use for a real smoker, though, because all Martha cooks is canned soup.

    And forget your Canadian goose. They're all down here in the desert not freezing their fannies off.


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