My flowering Dogwood has popped into full bloom, its branches laden with exotic pink blossoms. This welcome sign of spring tells me its time to get out the gas-fired smoker. Smoking food takes a little longer than using a grill, but the results can be juicy and satisfying. Poultry is one of my favorite choices, with low fat content and the ability to soak up all the aromatic fragrance of the wood chips, whether apple or alder wood, cherry wood, or grape vines.
My preference for beer leads me to add it to any recipe that involves the great outdoors. As an alternative to Beer Can Chicken, I like to prepare Beer Can Turkey Smoker-Style.
Heres a quick primer:
Choose a 12-14 lb turkey, and brine overnight. In the morning, preheat the gas-fired smoker between 225° and 250° F. Soak fruitwood chips for at least 30 minutes; then, place them in the wood box.
Line a pan with aluminum foil and fill it with hot water. Place it above the wood box.
Remove the turkey from the brine solution, rinse with water, prepare the bird,and sit it on the beer-can-beer-pan.
Smoke the turkey for 30 minutes per pound about 8 ½ hours spraying it with a moisturizing solution every 30 minutes.
Check the wood chips every 2-3 hours, carefully lifting the lid of the wood box with tongs. Add more soaked chips as needed using a long handled grilling spoon.
Check the water level in the pan. When needed, add additional hot water using a clean, long-necked watering can.
Using a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature of the turkey. When it reaches 165° F, it is ready. Enjoy the juicy, herb-infused flavors.
3 C. Salt
1 C. Brown Sugar
2 Lemons, cut and squeezed
2 Blood Oranges, cut and squeezed
12 oz. Timmermans Framboise
750 ml bottle Sparkling non-alcoholic Cider
6 crushed Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon ground Thyme
1 tablespoon White Pepper
4 tablespoons Wildflower Honey
Directions: Mix together Framboise, cider, and juice from lemons and oranges. Add salt, sugar, and honey. Stir until dissolved. Place turkey in a non-reactive container large enough to hold turkey (a plastic cooler works well), and pour liquid over turkey, add water to cover. Stir in remaining ingredients. Place in refrigerator and brine overnight (up to 24 hours).
In the morning, fire up the smoker as detailed above, and prepare the turkey:
Dry Rub Ingredients
½ C. Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons White Pepper
2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 tablespoons ground Thyme
1 tablespoon ground Sage
1 tablespoon dried Chili Powder
Directions: Remove turkey from brine. Rinse and pat dry. Separate skin from the bird, and apply dry rub in the cavity of the turkey and between skin where you separated it. Rub the outside skin with olive oil. Rub remainder of the dry rub over the outside skin.
Choose a favorite canned craft beer, such as 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die, or Oskar Blues Old Chub. Pour ½ can in the well of the beer-can-pan, or use ½ can of beer inside the well for extra support. Add a few bay leaves, sage, the juice of 1 lemon and a few shakes of pepper. Position the turkey over the well and slide it into the smoker. Smoke for 30 minutes per pound until inside temperature is 165° F about 8 ½ hours.
Moisturizing Spray Ingredients
½ C. Chicken Stock
½ C. Apple Cider
Ό C. Framboise
Mix together ingredients, put in spray bottle, and spray over skin of the turkey every 30 minutes until done.
Reminder: Check the wood box and water pan periodically to ensure the smoker is working properly.