In a recipe inspired by California wine country, Sunset magazine's The Great Outdoors Cookbook takes wine-infused wood chips, a heady herbal marinade, apples, and onions to take smoked turkey over the top. Wine shows up in the velvety Zinfandel gravy too!
WINE SMOKED TURKEY
4 to 6 cups lightly packed wine-infused wood chips or shavings*
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. minced fresh sage leaves or 2 tsp. dried sage, plus sage sprigs for garnish
1 tbsp. minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. minced fresh marjoram leaves or 1⁄2 tsp. dried marjoram, plus marjoram sprigs for garnish
1⁄2 tsp. pepper
1 turkey (16 to 18 lbs.)
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored
1 medium onion, peeled
Zinfandel Gravy (recipe follows)
Soak wine-infused chips or shavings in water at least 20 minutes. In a small bowl, mix oil with minced sage, parsley, marjoram, and the pepper.
To prepare turkey, remove and discard leg truss. Remove giblets and neck and set aside for making Zinfandel gravy. Pat turkey dry. Brush turkey all over with 2 tbsp. oil mixture. Cut apple and onion into 1-in. chunks, stir into remaining oil mixture, and spoon apple mixture into body cavity. Put foil caps on drumstick tips and wing tips. Insert a meat thermometer straight down through thickest part of breast to bone (if using an instant-read thermometer, insert later).
Heat a grill to medium-low (about 325°) with the center of the charcoal grate left clear and charcoal banked on either side for indirect cooking. Set a sturdy drip pan between banks of coals and fill pan halfway with warm water. Add 5 briquets and 1⁄2 cup soaked wood chips or shavings to each side now and every 30 minutes while cooking; if needed, keep grill uncovered for a few minutes to help briquets ignite.
Set turkey, breast up, on cooking grate over drip pan and cook, covered, until meat thermometer or an instant-read thermometer inserted straight down through thickest part of breast to bone registers 165°, 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours (thighs should register 170°); during cooking, loosely tent turkey with foil if it starts to get too dark.
Drain juices and remove apple and onion from cavity; reserve for gravy. Place turkey on a platter and let rest 15 to 30 minutes, then carve. Remove drip pan from grill; skim and discard fat from juices. Reserve juices for Zinfandel gravy. Garnish platter with herb sprigs.
*Order wine-infused chips online
Giblets and neck from a 16- to 18-lb. turkey
2 large onions, quartered
2 large carrots, cut into chunks
1 cup sliced celery
4 1⁄2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 3⁄4 cups Zinfandel, divided
2 strips orange zest (3 in. each)
1⁄2 tsp. pepper
Cooked apple mixture and fat-skimmed turkey pan juices from Wine-Smoked Turkey (above)
1⁄2 cup cornstarch
In a large pot, combine giblets, neck, onions, carrots, celery, and 1⁄2 cup broth. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat, 20 minutes. Uncover; cook over high heat, stirring often as liquid evaporates, until giblets and vegetables are browned and browned bits stick to bottom of pot, 5 to 8 minutes. Add another 1⁄2 cup broth and stir to loosen browned bits. Cook and brown, uncovered, as before.
Add remaining 3 1⁄2 cups broth, 2 cups Zinfandel, the zest, and pepper to pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Add apple mixture from turkey cavity; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.
Pour broth mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Discard contents of strainer. Measure broth; if needed, add enough turkey pan juices to make 5 1⁄2 cups. In pot, mix cornstarch with 1⁄4 cup water and remaining 3⁄4 cup wine. Stir in broth mixture and cook, stirring, over high heat until boiling, about 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Recipe courtesy of The Great Outdoors Cookbook from the editors of Sunset magazine