A Smokin' Thanksgiving

If you are the owner of a smoker, like the Saffire or the Fornetto Wood Fired Oven Smoker you have got to make use of your smoker to have the most smokin' Thanksgiving ever.

If you have been thinking about adding a smoker to your outdoor kitchen, now is the time to do it! Just because it's fall doesn't mean you won't use it. My husband uses his Saffire Grill/Smoker more in the fall than he does in the summer. Those crisp evenings lend themselves to outdoor grilling and smoking, bonfires, burning leaves; its all part of the experience.

You can also use your gas grill to smoke meat, utilizing a smoker box, or the built-in smoker box if your grill happens to have one.

Smokers are ideal for turkey; the taste and texture of turkey lends itself to smoking, as do many other meats and poultry items. If turkey isn't to your taste, think about instituting a new tradition with smoked Cornish game hens or wood smoked trout! According to the Smithsonian Magazine, although turkey was present at that first Thanksgiving, it probably wasn't the centerpiece of the meal. Records and research indicate that they served waterfowl, wild turkeys, venison, passenger pigeons, eels and shellfish. That first feast also lasted three days! I love my extended family, but, wow, three days? Maybe Benjamin Franklin was thinking of the first Thanksgiving when he said "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days."

Here are some smoker recipes from Saffire and Fornetto and allrecipes.com to try this Thanksgiving or anytime at all.

SMOKIN' TURKEY

Brine
  • 1 Gallon water or stock
  • 1 c. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 T peppercorns
  • 1.5 t allspice
  • 1.5 t ginger
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
Combine all ingredients in large pot; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature and chill in refrigerator. Pour into food safe 4 gallon bucket. Place  rinsed and drained turkey in brine and keep cold overnight.

Rub
  • 1.25 stick of salted butter
  • 2 T chicken seasoning
  • 1/2 t sage powder
  • 1/2 t rosemary flakes
  • Mix together, place in pockets under the skin of the turkey. Rub the rest over the bird.
  • Aromatics:
  • Place inside the turkey:
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1/2 sliced onion
  • 1 t sage powder
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Get smoker ready with charcoal and wood chunks; pecan, maple and apple are good for turkey. Heat smoker to 250 degrees then add turkey .Turn up heat to 500 degrees for 30 minutes to crisp skin. Turn down heat to 325 to finish smoking. Smoke for about 2 hours or when internal breast temperature reaches 160 degrees.

                                    

SMOKED  CORNISH GAME HENS

  • 2 Cornish Game Hens
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dry Rub
  • 2 T paprika
  • 1 T poultry seasoning
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1.2 t fresh cracked pepper

Rinse and dry the birds inside and out.With a fork, punch holes around the lemon then cut in half. Mix paprika, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Rub the inside and outside of the birds with it. Push lemon and bay leaf inside the cavity of each bird. Prep the grill for indirect medium heat (350° F) using the heat deflector. Consider using a rack for the birds & placing a drip pan beneath the grate to catch drippings. Add cherry or apple wood chips when the grill temp reaches 250F.  Place the Cornish Game Hen on the rack and you’re ready. Increase Grill Temp to 375F by adjusting the bottom and top temperature controls to finish cooking. Remove the Cornish Game Hen when the internal temp reaches 165F degrees. Let the Cornish Game Hen to rest for five minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute you’ll have a juicy bird. Discard the lemon and Bay leaf from the inside of the bird. Plate and serve.

                             

SMOKED SALMON

  • 2 pounds steelhead trout fillets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 cup sugar-based curing mixture (such as Morton(R) Tender Quick(R))
  • 1 quart water
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound alder wood chips, soaked in water or wine

Directions

  • Rinse the fish fillets and place them in a shallow glass baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the fish and season with garlic and rosemary. Rub the seasonings into the fish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Dissolve the curing salt in the water and pour into the dish with the fish. Let it marinate for 15 minutes per half inch of thickness.
  • Meanwhile, prepare your smoker for a four hour slow burn using charcoal. The temperature should be at 150 degrees F (65 degrees C) before you get started.
  • Remove the fish from the brine and discard leftover liquid. Place each piece of fish onto a small piece of aluminum foil - just big enough to hold the fillet, and season with pepper to taste. Place them on the rack in the smoker. Sprinkle a handful of the soaked wood chips over the coals or place in a heat box. Cover and allow fish to smoke for 2 hours, adding more wood chips as needed.
  • Increase the heat in the smoker (add more charcoal) to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and let the fish smoke until the internal temperature of the fillets reaches 165 degrees F (72 degrees C). Remove from the smoker and let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

                         



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