Thanksgiving is all about tradition, right? Wrong! This year try Thanksgiving with a twist! Don’t get me wrong. Cooking a turkey and all the trimmings is certainly delicious. There is nothing quite like that leftover turkey sandwich the next day. But why not try something different? Think outside the box! Mash it up! And I am not talking about the potatoes. Here are five ways to turn your turkey dinner on it’s tail feather.
1. Smoke It
You have definitely tried roasting your bird in the oven. It is possible that you have even experimented with frying your turkey. But have you tried smoking it? This method is equally delicious as the others, but it is WAY easier. There is no scooping out those nasty turkey gizzards because you can buy a turkey breast instead of the whole turkey. That is the best part anyway!
Here are the steps. Ready? Brine it, rub it, smoke it. Like I said, less mess and less complicated.
- Brine It– I rarely follow a recipe when creating a brine because I basically like to clear out my fridge and pantry. But I like to start with a base of 8-10 cups of water, 3/4 cup of salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar or brown sugar. Then, you can add garlic cloves and whichever seasonings you like. For the turkey, I would add some poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and maybe a splash of apple cider vinegar. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes, before allowing to cool completely. Then, place your turkey breast in the brine for at least 4-6 hours or overnight.
- Rub It– You can buy premade rubs for your turkey or make your own by combining the same seasonings as above and rubbing liberally all over. Or you can try this rub from Food Network.
- Smoke It– There are a ton of smokers on the market, but we own the one below. The Green Egg is amazing, but it is also pricey. Since we live in Las Vegas and do not have to worry about trying to smoke meats in below freezing temperatures, our Weber Smoker is perfect. Depending on the size of your turkey breast, you will want to smoke it at 225-250 degrees for about 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees.
On the Side
I would recommend spicing things up for your side dishes. For example, Bobby Flay’s sweet and spicy Pumpkin Soup with Cinnamon Creme and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds would make a great appetizer. To serve alongside the smoked turkey, try his Sourdough, Wild Mushroom, and Bacon Dressing. His Sweet Potato Gratin is also truly divine. Then, for dessert, continue with the sweet and spicy theme and make Chef Flay’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce.
This meal is perfect if you love tradition, but want to mix things up “just a bit”. The other bonus is that you will still have those amazing turkey sandwiches as leftovers the following day. All that Black Friday shopping required sustenance of the smoked turkey variety! Is your mouth watering yet?