The Great Turkey Adventure!

Before I explain my great turkey adventure I had today I need to explain my new found passion that made the adventure possible.Grill Pro Charcoal Smoker For my graduation my parents bought me a smoker.  It took me some time to decide which one I wanted and whether or not I wanted charcoal, electric or propane but I finally decided on a cheap charcoal  model I picked up from Menards.  I didn’t want to go for a big extravagant smoker when I tend to sometimes have A.D.D and go through many short-lived phases.  I told myself that if I played with this smoker enough then I can buy a new pretty one next summer.  I did my research and everything pointed to charcoal so I needed to be the best and I got me a charcoal smoker!  It has been my best friend all summer long!  I have smoked a lot of pork and experimented with some beef but I never had moved onto poultry.  So this is where the adventure begins!

I had seen a recipe in a grilling magazine I had picked up for a turkey breast that was stuffed with sausage and figs.  I knew I really wanted to make it but on the other hand I really was eager to smoke poultry more than I wanted to grill it.  Then I had a revelation – I never follow recipes.  Why should I be restricted from smoking this?  I went out an bought a hefty turkey breast, some fresh figs and some mild Italian sausage.  Today I woke up ready and eager to get outside to my smoker.  I figured a smarter idea would be to look up some tips about smoking turkey.  I did a face palm when I noticed every site mentioned I should have brined it first.  Why didn’t I think of that? Oh well you live and learn right?  I did create a brine and let my turkey sit in the fridge for about 3-4 hours.  I did a concoction of cherry juice, simply apple, brown sugar, canning salt, white pepper and ginger.  I soaked some apple wood chips and waited patiently crossing my fingers that the minimal amount of brining would still result in a moist turkey breast.

A few hours later I sauteed off some onions along with the bulk sausage while re-hydrating my figs in        some simply apple.  I chopped up the figs pretty fine and added to the onions and sausage to let the flavors get all happy.  The recipe didn’t call for anything to bind this mixture together so I tossed some panko bread crumbs in the juices rendered from the sausage and added two eggs and combined it with the sausage mixture.  I proceeded to stuff the turkey breast with the mixture and tied it closed with some twine.  I started up some coals and waited for my smoker to get an internal temperate of 300º.  For those of you with a charcoal/liquid smoker – I did not use the water pan since using that makes your smoker stay between 225-250º.  Taking out the water pan allows it to go to a higher temp.  I then added the turkey to the top rack and let it go!

I did leave the skin on the turkey which i’m very glad I did because it basted my turkey during the 3 hours it was in the smoker.  I was concerned about leaving the water tray out since it tends to help with keeping the meat moist but the skin did just as good of a job.  After an hour and a half I turned the breast over for even cooking.  After three hours I took the turkey out and wrapped it in foil to let it rest for about 20 minutes.  This was the end result.

It was so moist and delicious.  I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did.  When it comes to lunch meats I tend to stray away from smoked turkey and chicken.  This turkey was so tasty that I would definitely make it again but maybe in a more natural way and not stuffed with sausage.  Don’t get me wrong, sausage is my favorite thing in the world but sometimes things don’t need to be stuffed with sausage to be tasty.