Smoked Turkey with a Bacon Blanket

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So you want to smoke a turkey wrapped in bacon. Great!

This recipe will need to be started at least 1 day before you want to cook the turkey as it accounts for making a brine and soaking for approximately 6-8 hours.

Sorry for the lack of pictures but I will get some this weekend when we go through this ourselves – look for pictures either Saturday or Sunday.

Step 1: Making the brine

We made a 20lb turkey, so this is a lot of brine but you can cut the recipe down. You just want to make sure the whole turkey will be covered in the brine.

Combine :

  • 20 cups water
  • 2 cups table or kosher salt anything will work
  • 1 cup soy sauce 
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons pickling spice

Once combined bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes and take off the heat. Allow to cool for several hour, it takes a long time. Don’t put hot brine on your turkey it will end badly.

To divide recipe for every four cups of water add 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp pickling spice, 1/4 cup soy sauce.

Step 2: Brine the Turkey

Because our turkey looks like some prehistoric dinosaur we used large plastic bags to brine it we just put the turkey in the bag and poured the cooled brine over top. You need to get all the air out of the bag to get as much brine in contact with the turkey as possible. put it in another bag just in case it leaks. Put it in the fridge and forget about it for a 6 to 8 hours. When your turkey is done in the brine give it a rinse under cold water to get off all the excess salt. pat it down with paper towel and move onto rubbing down your bird.

 

Step 3:  Prep the Turkey

  • Using your hand, gently separate the skin from the meat, starting from the flap around the neck of the bird – be careful not to tear the skin
  • Give a light rub with olive oil under the skin – this will help the rub spread in
  • Liberally rub the bird down with your favorite poultry seasoning – we use a very generic “holiday turkey seasoning” – be sure to get some on and under the skin

 Step 4: The Bacon Weave

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It is now time to make your turkey a delicious blanket of bacon.

lay out a piece of saran wrap on top of this you are going to lay down pieces of bacon vertically until they are as wide as a piece of bacon is long.

Take every other piece of bacon and fold it upwards laying another piece of bacon horizontally over the strips left unfolded.

unfold the pieces that where folded up, then take the ones you had left straight the first time and fold them up, lay another piece of bacon horizontally.

You are going to repeat this until you get to the bottom of the vertical pieces of bacon. It should look like the lattice of a fence or the top of a pie when you are done.

when you are done use the saran wrap to help you lay the bacon blanket over your turkey.

Step 5: Cook the Turkey

Get smoker or cooker set to 225-275

run your favorite wood chips. We enjoy lighter flavors of maple and cherry.

Cooking time varies depending on the size of the turkey approximately 1/2 hour per pound.

When your turkey has nice color don’t let it get to dark, Wrap it with tinfoil. This will keep your turkey from getting to dark.

When it reaches 180 degrees. take it off the smoker.

Step 6: Rest and Serve

Take the turkey off the smoker let it rest for 20 minutes.

wrap in tin foil and then saran wrap. Wrap it up in towels and let it rest in a cooler for about 2 hours. This lets the juices redistribute in the meat.

Once your meat has rested it’s time to carve it up and serve!

Meatballs in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Mike’s Meatballs in Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This is a great recipe to use up all of the meat trimmings you may have saved from the bbq season. I usually save all of the rib, shoulder and brisket trimmings and freeze them. When I have a significant amount, I grind them up and use the ground pork or ground beef for everyday cooking. I usually also incorporate the fat into the grind to the finished product has tons of flavour.

Meatballs
1 1/2 lb Ground Pork
1 1/2 lb Ground Beef
3 Shallots (minced)
2 Tbs Garlic (minced)
2 Orange/Red Bell Peppers (minced)
2 Tbs Dill (minced)
1 Tbs Fish Sauce
1 1/2 Cups Corn Flakes (crushed)
2 Eggs
1 Tbs Salt
1 Tbs Pepper
1 Tbs Chili Flakes (ground)

Sauce
1 Can Mushroom Soup
2 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Dill
2 Cups Mushrooms (Your favorites will work here)
2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Water

Fire up your smoker to 250F. I generally use a hickory/apple wood but you can use whatever you prefer.

Mix all of the meatball ingredients by hand in a large bowl until everything incorporated evenly.
Form meatballs about 1″ in diameter (You can go bigger if you like but the cooking times will be slightly different)

Formed Meatballs

Put on a smoker that is running 250F for 1 hour.
Turn the meatballs and cook for an additional 30 minutes on until the meatballs reach internal temperature of 165F.

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In a small fry pan, saute the mushrooms on medium heat in the butter/lemon juice/water until they are cooked.
Add in the mushroom soup and dill and cook on medium heat until it reaches a boil then remove from heat.

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Combine the meatballs and sauce and serve.

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Basic Rubs | Pork and Chicken | Overview

Basic Pork and Chicken Rubs | Tranquil Carnivores A spice rub on BBQ meats is a definite must. It allows and extra depth of flavour, while encouraging a flavourful bark to form of the meat. Almost everyone has there own special rub that they use on various types of meat. Here is a good base and some ingredient alternatives that will let you develop your rub to how you enjoy it. Usually you will want to pair your rub with you finishing sauces so that they work harmoniously to create BBQ goodness :)

Basic Pork and Chicken Rub

  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar (Helps to form the bark. You may want to remove this if you are cooking on higher heat as it will burn)
  • 1 Cup Paprika (Some peppery flavour but mainly used for the red colour)
  • 2 TBS Black Pepper (Peppery heat)
  • 2 TBS Salt (One of the 5 taste sensations)
  • 1 TBS Garlic Powder (pungent and sometime adds heat)
  • 1 TBS Onion Powder (tangy and sweet)
  • 1 TBS Chili Powder (adds some heat and colour)
Here are some optional items you can add to change the flavor. I would experiment with adding a tablespoon of perhaps 1 or 2 of these at a time and build your own recipe to how you like it:
  • White Pepper – a hotter pepper flavour but with less depth. White colour can hide in the rub if you do not want black specks.
  • Ground Ginger – a different kind of bite with a sweet woody aroma
  • Oregano – Aromatic that has a peppery bitter flavour.
  • Thyme – lemony and peppery taste
  • Dried Coriander/Cilantro – warm nutty citrus taste
  • Allspice – taste combo of cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves
  • Mustard Powder – a little mustardy tang with a bit of heat
  • Celery Powder – acidic, tart & tangy celery flavor
  • Chili Power – add varying heat and peppery taste
  • Ground Dill – aromatic with a highly unique flavour
  • Cumin – earthy, woody, smokey flavour prevalent in texmex cuisine
  • Ground Coffee – Bitter, nutty, floral
  • MSG – Umami taste booster

Although we highlighted this as a basic Chicken and Pork rub, it works well in other applications as well so feel free to experiment! Thanks to Michael Mann for sharing this info with us.

Happy grilling! 

5 Steps to cook awesome side ribs

Hopefully the summer weather sticks around but we have one last long weekend blow out coming up this weekend. We’ll be cooking up a storm for an anniversary party and coming up with some ideas for Oinktoberfest.

So what are we cooking this weekend? Approximately this is the bill :

  • 20 racks of side ribs
  • 2 large pork shoulders
  • 2 beef briskets
  • Much beer to be consumed by cooks

Want some quick tips on cooking some great ribs? Follow these steps for great ribs! This follows the 3-2-1 cooking method and works great every time.

1) Get your cooker up to 225-250° F. If you are using a grill instead of a smoker, set up your heat on the side as far away from your meat as possible to allow for indirect cooking.

2) Season your ribs with a liberal amount of your favorite rub.

3) Cook for 3 hours uncovered. If you are using a smoker, this is when you really want to make sure you have wood chips, chunks or dust going fairly steady. Hickory or apple work great, but there are lots of options. Spritz about once per hour with apple juice for a boost in flavor and the acidity of the juice will help tenderize the meat as well.

4) After 3 hours, wrap the ribs in tinfoil. Pour a bit of apple juice in with the ribs here as well. Do not add too much as you do not want your ribs swimming in juice and washing off the tasty rub that is going to form the “bark”. Cook for 2 hours.

5) Once the 2 hours are up, remove from the tin foil and place the ribs back on the cooker. The ribs will cook for 1 final hour like this. If you are going to sauce your ribs, do this with 10-15 minutes to go and increase the heat slightly – maybe to 300-350 – to help caramelize the sauce.

Let us know if you have any questions! Happy grilling/smoking!

Oktoberfest

Here’s how we roll for oktoberfest.  It’s cold,  but no reason to not cook!

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Basecamp

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ribs, chicken, squash and sweet potatoes in the Bradley

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brisket, pork loins and sausage on the Traegar with chicken leg lollipops joining shortly

More to come!

Thanksgiving

Great day for brisket,  turkey and beer cupcakes (with beer).

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yes, that is a bacon weave blanket, the turkey looked cold.

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beer flavored cup cakes. mmmmm

Meat Pie

Check out the meat pie Mike made for himself for his daughters birthday.  Curried pork on the bottom,  ground turkey in the middle and Mexican spiced beef on the bottom.

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