(You can use store bought turkey too. We won’t tell)
Whether you are cooking your wild turkey that you harvested or a bird you bought at the grocery store this is a very good way to cook your Thanksgiving dinner on your smoker which frees up some room in your kitchen. And we all know how important that is on that hectic yet memorable day.
As in the words of our Chef Albert Wutsch…”When you hunt for your food you have a story, a memory, some pride in your meal that is so meaningful and special. When you take your meat out of the freezer that you purchased from the store, you’re just taking meat out of the freezer!”
Wild turkey sometimes has a bad rap for being dry. This recipe will change that. Wild turkey legs will always have extra tendons and sinew that a store bought turkey won’t produce. Just take that carcass and wings and legs and put into a large stock pot with vegetables that have lost their crispy feeling or new fresh veggies of your choice along with some fresh herbs and make a lovely stock, there are no rules. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer all day. Strain it and retain the broth and pick out the nice pieces of meat for a turkey noodle soup or sandwiches. You just can’t go wrong with a turkey. You can pretty much use the whole thing.
Recipe by Margie Nelson (Wyld Gourmet)
- 1 rubber maid tote big enough for your bird
- 1 wild turkey
- 2 gallon apple cider
- Water enough to cover
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 6 oranges cut in half
- 3 pomegranites cut in half
- 1 Tbsp whole cloves
- 1 Tbsp whole pepper corns
- 1 Tbsp juniper berries
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 Tbsp whole coriander
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (you may omit this)
- 5 bay leaves
- 4-5 springs of rosemary
- 4-5 springs of thyme
- Grated rind of 2 oranges
- Grated rind of 2 lemons
- 2 heads garlic halves
Place your frozen turkey into the Rubbermaid tote and add the apple cider and then add enough water to just cover the turkey. Add the oranges and pomegranites and squeeze the juice into the tote as you add them. Add your whole cloves then roughly smash with a knife on your cutting board the peppercorns, juniper berries, fennel and coriander together and add to the brine. Add the rest of the ingredients to the mix and give a quick stir. Put the lid on the tote and set it and forget it….until the next day. Stir the mixture daily and turn the turkey for three days.
The day you cook your turkey make a mixture of room temperature butter and some fresh chopped herbs of your choice (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are nice) Using our hand shove this mixture under the skin of the breast of your turkey, careful not to rip the skin.
Dry Rub Ingredients:
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp grated dried orange peel
- 2 tsp grated dried lemon peel
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp granulated onion
- ½ tsp turmeric
Rub the outside skin of your turkey and place onto a sheet pan. Stuff with your favorite dressing and tie the legs together with a string (or rope, if that is all you have…LOL) Place the fruit from the bring around the outside of your turkey and place into your preheated smoker.
Smoke a 24 pound turkey at 225F for 3 hours and turn it up to 350F for 2 ½ hours more. Or your can use a probe once you turn it up and smoke until the probe temperature reaches 160F. Let rest for at least a half hour before dinner. Enjoy!