Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we’ve got the perfect smoked turkey recipe to impress your family and friends! Unveiled during a recent cooking demonstration conducted by me and Chris Grove of NibbleMeThis.com at the Taste of Atlanta, this spatchcocked (butterflied) turkey gets a boost of flavor from the sage butter and citrus-herb salt before hitting the smoker or grill for the perfect dose of smoke and flame.
GRILLED TURKEY WITH CITRUS-HERB SALT AND SAGE BUTTER
12-14lb. turkey, thawed (EDITOR'S NOTE: Check the packaging on your turkey before brining as many turkeys are pre-injected with a saline solution and will be overly salty if also brined)
2 gallons water
1 cup Kosher salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup bourbon
Sage compound butter (recipe follows)
3 tbsp. canola oil
Herb and citrus rub (recipe follows)
Place turkey on a large cutting board breast side down and use poultry shears to cut along both sides of the backbone. Flip the turkey over, open it up and push on the breastbone with both hands to flatten the turkey.
Heat the water, Kosher salt, brown sugar, and bourbon in a large pot over medium high heat. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes until the salt, brown sugar have completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature.
Place turkey breast side down in a large stockpot and cover completely with the brine, weighting it down if necessary to ensure it is completely submerged. Refrigerate for approximately 1 hour per pound.
Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well. Discard the brine, place the turkey bone side down on a sheet pan and allow it to air dry in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Prepare smoker or grill for indirect cooking and preheat to 350 degrees. Once the charcoal comes to temperature, add 2-3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for the perfect touch of smoke. Work the sage compound butter under the skin of the turkey then rub the outside of the turkey with the canola oil and season with the herb and citrus salt.
Place a disposable aluminum pan filled halfway with water or turkey broth below the main cooking grate. Replace grate and set the turkey bone-side down above the aluminum pan. Insert a remote temperature gauge into the thickest part of the turkey breast making sure that it isn’t touching bone. Allow the turkey to cook for approximately 15 minutes per pound (3 hours for a 12lb. turkey) until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Remove the turkey from the grill, tent loosely with foil and allow it to rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
SAGE COMPOUND BUTTER
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp. chopped sage
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. ground thyme
Blend all ingredients in a small bowl well and set it aside until ready to use.
HERB AND CITRUS SALT
¼ cup Kosher salt
½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp. chopped rosemary
½ tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. lime zest
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until all of the ingredients are combined.