I posted a comment yesterday on one of my FAVORITE blogs, Owlhaven, (look for it in the column on the right side of your screen). Mary is mom to many and a fabulous Godly woman who writes about her amazing adventures in motherhood. Well, she did Frugal Friday and that's where my comment comes in. I mentioned ways that I save money. One of the ways that our family saves money is by smoking a frozen turkey.
Now, many families only eat turkey once a year: Thanksgiving. While living in Alaska, my husband and I discovered the true versatility of a turkey. At this time of year, you can buy a HUGE frozen turkey for about $10, give or take a few bucks. I am talking a good sized one, 15# or so. We try and buy 6-8 turkies during the holiday season. At Thanksgicing, even though we only 5 people in our small house, I still make TWO turkies: one smoked and one oven-baked. One turkey goes a long, long way....Two go even further.
Alas, I digress......it was in Alaska that we truly learned to love smoked turkey. It was in the True North that we honed in our skills AND learned what a blessing to our budget a turkey can be. One 15# bird renders A LOT of meat. A LOT people...I'm talking 40 meals worth of meat. from one turkey. Makes me thankful that we have a HUGE freezer.
How do I smoke a turkey? Well, here's what you need (followed by what we use):
* electric smoker (I don't do charcoal anything)
* wood chips (hickory is what we use)
* heavy duty aluminum foil (Reynolds large roll)
* salt, pepper, Tony Chachere's, and whatever spices you like..
* about 3 chopped onions, about 5 Granny Smith apples and one CAN of Coke
* large bowl to soak wood chips and water.
Before smoking turkey, soak your wood chips so that they have absorbed LOTS of water. This is critical because it will be what makes the smoke....Usually takes us about an hour to thouroughly soak all of our chips. We don't open our smoker at all during cooking. We rely solely on those chips and our filled water pan.
1. Defrost bird completely. Do the sink soak thing if not completely defrosted. Clean it up, removed gizzard and the yuck that's inside. I don't so anything with that stuff. Might be wasteful, sure, but the innards completely gross me out.
2. Chop your opinions and cut your apples up into 2" chunks. Save the peels, too. Open up your one can of Coke and drink half of it (or pour it out, but KEEP HALF).
3. Lay out huge sheets of aluminum foil. Enough foil that it will wrap around your bird completely. (One box of foil usually last us for 3 turkies.) Lay your cleaned turkey across these sheets so you can wrap the turkey so that the foil meets together up top.
4. Mix some of your spices with the chopped onions and apples and set aside.
5. After your bird is clean, stuff the cavity with the spiced onions and the apples. Leave enough room to stick the HALF-FILLED can of coke so that it sort of stands up.
6. Season the outside of the bird with your spices. Throw a few pieces of apple around the edges of the turkey. When you feel like your bird is seasoned to your liking, fold the foil up top so that the crease is across the top of the bird.
7. After you've filled your water bowl and placed your chips in the smoker, GENTLY set your bird in the smoker. Be very careful not to nick the foil as this is what seals the juices in. If you nick that, the juices escapes, leaving your bird DRY.
Now, cook according to your smokers instructions. Important factors to consider: weight of bird, outdoor temps, if you've opened the lid during cooking, etc. Smoking takes place at low temps so opening the lid causes massive heat loss and will extend your cooking time.
I love smoked turkey. It's also one of the meals that my husband cooks better than I do. I have pretty much surrendered the smoker to him. He's the Pro now.....
Our favorite recipe using smoked turkey? Well, sandwiches is obvious. We also like TORTILLA WRAPS. Homemade tortillas (we only eat HOMEMADE in this house, I am a major tortilla snob) with wild rice, corn, smoked turkey and a very small amount of gravy. All mixed together and stuffed in a tortilla........YUM!!
Enjoy! Be cheap and eat well!!