Simplistic in preparation. Elementary in execution. Perfection on the plate and among my very favorite of main courses to serve for a crowd, particularly during the holidays. This smoked & blackened heritage turkey is paired with a rustic sourdough-apple and roasted pistachio stuffing, winter kale & fresh fig salad, charred root vegetables & a gorgeous bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
I ordered the bird 2 weeks in advance of the big day, from our local butcher, then thawed for 3 days before brining overnight in a solution of salt, sugar, fresh bay leaves, rosemary and thyme sprigs. Drained, patted dry & refrigerated uncovered for 2 hours to tighten the skin. Then wrapped air tight in plastic and rested at room temperature for 4hrs before preparing to smoke. Unwrapped and seasoned simply, but liberally with salt, ground peppercorn, garlic, and a garden of fresh herbs, both inside and out. Then stuffed and massaged knobs of herb butter between the skin & breast meat. Smoked over a water pan and a combination of cherry and pecan wood at 275F, basting intermittently with olive oil, until 164F in the thickest portion of the leg. Finally & maybe most importantly, rested and constantly basted the bird in it’s own juices over a cutting board for 20min, then carved, served and devoured.