From August 14-23, residents of and visitors to Huntsville, AL can take advantage of amazing fixed price lunch and dinner menus at over 60 of the city's eateries as part of the annual Hunstville Restaurant Week.
In advance of this year's festival of fine food, I was invited to try out a few of the featured restaurants including our first stop, LawLers Barbecue at 544 Hughes Road (you can read more about our visits to Hildegard’s Biergarten here and Grille 29 here).
Now although LawLers has several locations in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee, this was my first visit to one of their restaurants and I couldn't have asked for a more inviting welcome than the one I received from our LawLers' representative April. April took time from her work to share with me and the other invited bloggers the story of LawLers which began in 1978 when two brothers decided to bring their BBQ to the masses by opening their first location in Pulaski, TN.
The visit was extra special given the fact that this is the Year of Alabama BBQ, a celebration of the state's rich barbecue culture (interesting fact: Alabama has more BBQ restaurants per capita than any other state).
Now while the restaurant is known for their giant "stuffie taters," I am a sucker for a sampler platter so I was able to get a bit of their smoked pork, pulled ham (a first for me as I have only seen sliced ham my whole life), pulled turkey, a quarter slab of ribs and a couple of sides.
Suffice to say that after completing the massive meal I headed straight to my host hotel, Huntsville Marriott (conveniently located next to the US Space & Rocket Center at 5 Tranquility Base), for a much needed nap!
In honor of my hospitable hostess at LawLers and The Year of Alabama BBQ, I am offering up my own recipe for smoked turkey -- a buttermilk marinated whole bone-in turkey breast smoked in the truly remarkable Pit Barrel Cooker.
SMOKED BUTTERMILK MARINATED TURKEY BREAST
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground rosemary
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 quart buttermilk
1 whole bone-in turkey breast
1 tbsp. canola oil
Combine paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a small bowl and blend well. Pour buttermilk into a container large enough to hold the turkey breast and stir in 1 tbsp. of the dry rub mixture, reserving the remaining dry rub for later. Add the turkey breast bone side up and seal the container. Refrigerate the turkey breast for at least 8 hours.
After the turkey breast has fully marinated, preheat Pit Barrel Cooker*. Add 2-3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal at the bottom of the cooker for maximum smokiness. Remove the turkey breast from the marinade, rinse, and pat dry. Rub the turkey breast with canola oil and coat evenly with the remaining dry rub mixture.
Put the turkey breast on two of the Pit Barrel hooks making sure that they go between 2 bones so that the turkey breast will stay on during the cooking process. Hang the turkey breast from the Pit Barrel rods, cover, and allow it to smoke for approximately 2 hours until it is golden brown and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees (we recommend investing in a quality instant read thermometer such as the Super-fast Thermapen).
Remove the turkey from the cooker and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
* If you don't own a Pit Barrel Cooker (which you definitely should check out as they are an amazing live fire cooker!), simply prepare your grill for indirect cooking by either turning off the gas on one side of your gas grill or placing preheated charcoal briquets on one side of a charcoal grill's charcoal grate. Set the turkey breast on the cool side of the grill, cover, and allow it to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.