Bourbon Apple Butter Smoked Turkey - Something Edible
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Bourbon Apple Butter Smoked Turkey

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Bourbon Apple Butter Smoked Turkey


Servings: Preparation for a 19.5lb(!) bird.

Prep Time: 2 days

Cook Time: 16 hours


The Bird (and friends)

  • 1 Turkey You'll want it completely thawed if frozen.
  • 1 yellow onion quartered
  • 1 apple quatered
  • 1 celery stick quartered (With the tops!)
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 4-5 gallon food-safe plastic bucket
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper
  • The Brine

  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1 cup Kosher salt (Yes, I said "cup.")
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 1/4 oz pickling spice (This happens to be one tin's worth.)
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 apple quartered
  • 1 celery stalk quartered (Again, with the tops included.)
  • 9 lbs ice
  • The Mop

  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 cup butter (That's a stick.)
  • 2 Tbsps demerara sugar

  • Instructions:

    T-minus 2 days:
    Combine water, salt, brown sugar, pickling spice, black peppercorns, apple, onion, and celery in a 4 quart pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour the brine into your food-safe plastic bucket and stir in the ice. The solution should plummet to 35-40F. Anything hotter than that means you need to get it colder before adding the bird! Once the brine is ready to go, add the turkey (I went legs first, but what the hell do I know?), lid up the bucket, and move it to the refrigerator. Let brine 12 hours before flipping the bird over and brining for another 12 hours.

    T-minus 1 day:
    Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it thoroughly. Discard brine in a responsible manner, and move the turkey to a racked roasting pan. Place the bird-laden roaster in a fridge that's not storing anything open and let it all air out for 24 hours.

    Go Time!:
    Prep your smoking vessel for a indirect heat at a temperature of 225F, adding the smoke wood of your choice according to the manufacturer's directions (I used a 50/50 blend of mesquite and pecan).
    Stuff the turkey's cavity with a quartered onion, apple, celery, and the bundle of fresh sage.
    For the mop, whisk the apple butter, bourbon, butter, and demerara together in a saucepan over medium heat. When it's integrated, cool to room temperature before slathering under the breast skin and over every square centimeter of the turkey's outside. Season the outside with salt and pepper (you probably won't use it all) and move to the smoker. Cook until you hit a finished temperature of 160F (about 16 hours). Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat in a 325F oven in a roasting pan loosely tented with foil until the bird hits 140F.

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