HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!
One thing is a given at a Raichlen family Thanksgiving: A smoke-roasted turkey will be the centerpiece of the holiday meal. One of our favorites was this Orange-Brined Turkey perfected on the set of Steven’s television show, Primal Grill (see a still shot of the filming above). And the leftovers, served on a sandwich with Orange Mayo, were killer.
Normally, smoking is done at lower temperatures, typically 225 to 250 degrees F. “Smoke-roasting”, on the other hand, involves cooking the bird at a higher temperature (about 350 degrees F) with the addition of fragrant wood smoke generated by soaked wood chips or chunks. The former method produces poultry that can be oversmoked with unappetizing, rubbery skin. The latter method yields a bird with the Normal Rockwell-like appearance Americans prize – deeply burnished, crisp skin, and with the nuanced flavor of wood smoke.
In other words, smoke-roasting gives you the best of both worlds.
We like to splash a little Kentucky bourbon in the brine for even more flavor. The recipe is written for a 5 to 7 pound turkey breast, but can easily be adapted to a 10 to 12 pound whole bird. (Find the recipe at www.primalgrill.org, along with other Thanksgiving-worthy recipes.)