Thanksgiving 2021-Smoked Turkey & Ham

We made big plans to wet brine the turkey and follow a plan developed from videos and websites cited below. But, decided to keep it simple and only dry brine. The turkey turned out very moist and the ham had a good flavor. A lot of both were eaten by the guests.

What we did.

  1. Bought a Smithfield Spiral Cut ham and got a free 18 lb. Turkey at Rouces.
  2. Thawed Frozen 18 lb. turkey in the refer for 5.5 days.
  3. Prep’ing the meats Wednesday afternoon.
    1. Pulled the Turkey on Wednesday afternoon: cleaned; spatchcocked; dry brined; seasoned with our Creole Poultry Seasoning; put into plastic bags and back in the refer.
    2. Wednesday afternoon unwrapped the ham and trimmed off the heavy outside fat. Shock on lightly Stubb’s Hot Pork Rub we made.
  4. 6:00 AM – Removed turkey and ham from refer to come closer to room temp before starting smoking about 8 AM for eating at 1 PM.
  5. 8:15 AM – Put turkey on with RECTEC set to 275°. Probe showed IT temp of the thigh at 58° due to warming on the counter for about the past 1.5 hours. [Smoke in a RT at 275-300°, per Malcolm Reed.]
  6. 9:00 AM it seemed to be cooking fast so lowered the set temp to 260°.
  7. About 10 AM put the ham cut side down in a 1/8th sheet pan and put into the smoker.
  8. Smoked the turkey and ham in the RECTEC until a probe thermometer read 185° in a thigh that was about 12:30 PM. Turned off the RECTEC.
  9. 12:30
    1. Put the turkey on a large sheet of aluminum foil sitting on a towel. Using the towel, lifted the turkey into the large cube ice chest and closed the lid. It stayed hot until we carved it about 1:30 PM.
    2. Left the ham in the RECTEC until the turkey was carved.

The bring-a-dish event put this on the table.

  • 18 lb. smoked turkey – By T&M
  • 14 lb. fried turkey – by Jack & Brooks
  • 12 lb. sprial cut, twice smoked, ham
  • sweet potato casserole
  • mashed potatoes and Ina’s gravey with cognac
  • Corn casserole
  • mediterean salad
  • shrimp dip
  • Ina’s Spicy pimento dip
  • pickled okra
  • Desserts
    • Pecan Pie Pound Cake
    • Firstever Mockingbird cake
    • Coke-a-cola cake
    • 2x brownies
    • Small bunt cake

Well in advance we made the plans below based on advice in videos and pages as cited. But, we did not follow the plan. Maybe it will come in handy another day.

  1. Week of Nov. 11-19 buy a 14 lb. frozen fresh turkey
  2. Friday, 11/19, put it into the refer to thaw.
  3. Wednesday morning remove neck and giblet bag, rinse
  4. Brine it like Aron Franklin.
    1. Ingredients
      1. 2C water
      2. 2C kosher Salt
      3. 2C Sugar
      4. 1 C cajun poultry seasoning per George Graham’s Cane-Brined Roast Turkey
    2. Process
      1. Dissolve in a pot of water heated on the stove, Stir over low heat to not let sugar burn.
      2. Pour it over ice in a large pitcher and add water. Pour into the brine bucket adding water to make the total 2 gallons. Submerge the bird in the cold brine water.
      3. Brine overnight in the refer.
  5. Prepare seasoning Wedneday – From George Graham’s Cane-Brined Roast Turkey
    1. Rub/Smear Ingredients
      1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
      2. 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
      3. 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
      4. 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
      5. 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
      6. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
      7. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and Cajun seasoning.
      8. Store in the refer and rewarm to rub on the next day.
    2. Prep Beer n’ Butter Poultry Injection from 5 Turkey Injection Marinades
      1. 1/2 pound butter
      2. 1/2 can beer
      3. 2 tablespoons salt
      4. 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
      5. 2 tablespoons Tabasco
      6. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
      7. 2 teaspoons garlic powder
      8. 2 teaspoons onion powder
  6. Thanksgiving Thursday – Remove the bird from the brine bucket and dry.
    1. Spatchcock it.
    2. Using your hands, lift the skin away and rub the seasoned butter generously underneath and on all sides of the turkey.
    3. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper, 50/50 by volume like Aron Franklin.
    4. Inject seasoning.
  7. Smoke it at 275-300, per Malcolm Reed, with the legs toward Rec Tec center; that is the heat source per Aron Franklin.
    1. Smoke the turkey for 1 hour then baste. Re-heat the butter with the herbs and garlic in a small pot until melted; keep warm. Use a basting brush to drizzle the melted butter mixture over the skin as the turkey cooks.
    2. Cook the turkey until a probe thermometer reads 165° in the breast and 185° in the thighs.
  8. Rest the turkey for 5-10 minutes and cut into desired portions.

Smoked Ham Plans

  1. Buy Spiral-cut ham
  2. Season lightly with Stubb’s Hot Pork Rub
  3. Smoke with the turkey at 225 for the same time.

Smoked Queso

By MeatChurch

Prepare either one in halves with 50% less hot spice in one of them for the girls, et al.

  • 1 (2 lb) block of Velveeta cheese (don’t try to go cheap with a generic alternative)
  • 16 ounces of smoked gouda
  • 2 tubes of HOT breakfast sausage (sub any ground meats you like. We love venison & chorizo)
  • 2 cans of Rotel
  • 1 can of cream of jalapeño soup (the original calls for cream of mushroom. Sub cream of whatever you like. Pablano is great as well. Chicken also works and is more easily found)
  • 1/2 C chopped cilantro
  • 2 T Meat Church Holy Voodoo seasoning (sub Holy Cow)

Alternative Queso On the Rec Tec from Grillin with Red’s Youtube Video.

  • 2lb of Velveeta, cubed
  • 8oz. Pack of Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1 lb of hot country sausage
  • 1 jalapeño (optional)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 white or yellow onion
  • 2 cans of Rotel (original or Fire Roasted depending on preference)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 – 1 1/2 Tblsp of your favorite bbq seasoning
  1. Start at 180, Extreme Smoke, for one hour uncovered.
  2. Smoke uncovered at 225 degrees for 60 minutes.
  3. Raise the temperature to 275 degrees and continue for another 45 – 60 minutes.

Leftover Ideas

Turkey potpie with sweet potato topping

Malcolm Reed’s smoked Texas-style Turkey recipe

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