The star of the Thanksgiving meal is the turkey. I used a 14.5 lb. frozen turkey. I removed it from the freezer to the refrigerator on Saturday to be ready on Thursday. It is important to brine the bird for moisture, so we will start with those ingredients. I made my brine more of a marinade than a traditional brine. (A traditional brine calls for more salt and you have to rinse it down before cooking). I planned to smoke my turkey using a steam pot in my smoker to hold in even more moisture and infuse additional flavor. I will share that also below. Lastly, I rubbed the turkey. This was by far the best turkey I have ever made!
2 Gallons of Water
18 Ounces of Vegetable Stock
1/3 Cup of Sea Salt
2 Bay leaves
1 Apple (sliced)
1 Onion (rough cut)
1 Sprig of Fresh Rosemary
1 Sprig of Fresh Thyme
1 Sprig of Sage
(I used my blue dutch oven to put in the smoker under the bird) I used mostly all the same ingredients as above.
Add all brine/marinade ingredients to a large pot or oversized bowl.
(remember I made a quasi brine that was more like a marinade so no need to boil and cool or to rinse the next day).
Pull the turkey from the brine after 12 hours and pat completely dry with paper towels. (This is an important step for the skin to cook properly in the smoker).
For the Rub
Mix all the ingredients with a food processor or immersion blender
Apply the rub with your hands all over the dry turkey before smoking it.
Reserve some for basting in a small pot on the stove.
For the Steam Pot
Add in all the ingredients and once your smoker has been lit and the smoke is the right color, set the steam pot down into the grill, right on the reflector plates and then place your grill racks over it.
For the Grill
I made a little foil packet of the fresh herbs, sealed it well and poked 3 tiny holes in it and set it down right on the coals (optional)
I placed a small piece of applewood in the smoker for a mild smoke flavor.
For the Turkey
Place the turkey on the racks in the grill for 2 hours at 350 degrees F.
At 1 hour and 40 minutes, preheat your indoor oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the turkey and place it in a roasting pan. Baste it with the extra mixture of butter and herbs.
Transfer it to your oven. Baste one more time over the next hour.
Tent it with a piece of aluminum foil if the skin appears to be getting too dark before the temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
When the temp is 160 degrees F pull the turkey from the oven and wrap it in aluminum foil completely and let it sit for 45 mins to an hour before carving.