UP IN SMOKE
STEVEN GRILLS UP A NOVEL
JULY 18, 2012
Dear Up in Smoke Subscriber,
Yes, the rumors you’ve heard these past months are true. I have, indeed, written a novel. It’s called Island Apart, and it’s a love story set right here on Martha’s Vineyard, where I spend my summers.
And why should a barbecue fanatic like you read it?
In this issue of Up In Smoke, you’ll discover another side of Steven Raichlen. And read to the end, and you’ll find a recipe for the killer bourbon-brined, maple-smoked turkey that appears in the Thanksgiving dinner scene in Chapter 12 of Island Apart.
So why a novel—and a love story at that?! Long before I became a food writer, I graduated with a degree in French literature from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. I wrote about many topics before barbecue, from wine to art to travel. I’ve always dreamed of writing fiction.
To be sure, my barbecue books contain lots of recipes, but I also try to tell the human stories behind the recipes and techniques. Ultimately, what brings barbecue alive for me is the people and their stories. And that holds true whether I’m writing about the history of barbecue in BBQ USA, a yakitori master in Japan (the land of my birth) in Planet Barbecue, or about the Hermit of Chappaquiddick (one of the characters in my novel).
So why should you, diehard grilling enthusiast, read it?
I know some of you may be skeptical. Here’s what other skeptical barbecue fanatics have said about Island Apart on Amazon.com.
“It seems that Steven Raichlen has gone from successful cookbook writing to even more spectacular novel production. Everything about this book was incredible . . . I read it straight through.”
– Stephen K. (Pennsylvania)
“I’m a fan of Raichlen’s cookbooks, but I wasn’t sure how he’d be as a novel writer . . . I am glad I took the chance . . . I was hooked from the first chapter.”
– Neal R. (Indiana)
“This book was what great summer novels are made of: family, friendship, illness, love story, lots of incredible food, mystery, and an interesting setting . . . I’m glad to see that Steven is venturing into novels along with his wonderful cookbooks. I hope this is only the first of many more to come.”
– E.C. (New York)
“I read it from cover-to-cover in less than 24 hours—just couldn’t put it down. The characters are real, perfectly flawed and engaging. Highly recommended!”
– BBQ U Spouse
Please take a moment to watch the Island Apart video at stevenraichlen.com. (You’ll also find the recipes mentioned above on this site.)
Sign up for our mailing list at the bottom left of stevenraichlen.com, and we’ll send you a free recipe booklet with five unpublished Island Apart dishes you can cook on your grill.
Island Apart. Because sometimes the only thing better than barbecue is achieving your dream.
BOURBON-BRINED, MAPLE-SMOKED TURKEY
Island Apart, Chapter 12: “Giving Thanks”
For the brine:
1 gallon cool water
1 cup sea salt
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup bourbon
2 cloves stuck in 2 large strips lemon zest
2 bay leaves
1 12-pound turkey (preferably organic), giblets removed, rinsed, and blotted dry
2 tablespoons melted salted butter
You’ll also need: 3 cups maple wood chips or chunks, soaked in water for 1 hour, then drained.
Rinse the turkey inside and out, removing the giblets and any excess lumps of fat. Reserve the giblets for gravy.
Make the brine. Place the water, salt, maple syrup, bourbon, cloves, lemon zest, and bay leaves in a large pot and whisk until the salt is dissolved. Add the turkey, placing a pot lid on top to keep it submerged. Brine the turkey overnight (about 12 hours) in the refrigerator.
About 3 hours before serving, set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium (325° to 350°). Note: I prefer indirect grilling to low heat smoking when cooking a turkey. Smoking produces rubbery skin.
Drain and rinse the turkey and blot dry inside and out. Arrange the turkey on the grill grate over the drip pan. Toss 1-1/2 cups wood chips on the coals and cover the grill. Indirect grill the turkey for 1 hour.
Lightly brush the turkey all over with melted butter. Replenish the coals as needed and add the remaining wood chips. Continue cooking the turkey until crisp-skinned, golden-brown, and cooked through (the internal temperature in the thigh will be about 170°), 1-1/2 to 2 hours more—2-1/2 to 3 hours in all. You’ll need to replenish the coals after the second hour (but don’t add more wood chips). Baste the turkey from time to time with melted butter or any drippings that accumulate in the drip pan. If the skin browns too much, shield the breast with foil.
Transfer the turkey to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes, loosely tented with foil to keep it warm. Carve and serve at once with your favorite gravy or sauce. Yes, you can fortify the gravy with a shot of bourbon and maple syrup.
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