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Molasses Brine and Pecan Smoked Turkey

Posted by Wes Mickel on 11th Nov 2021

Molasses Brine and Pecan Smoked Turkey

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Smoked turkey usually gets lots of traffic around the holidays. This one, however, is a proven year round crowd pleaser versatile enough for a pick-three meat spread, to turkey sandwiches on par with any deli turkey and everything in between.

Smoked turkey usually gets lots of traffic around the holidays. This one, however, is a proven year round crowd pleaser versatile enough for a pick-three meat spread, to turkey sandwiches on par with any deli turkey and everything in between.

Quick Tips:

Wood selection is really dealers’ choice here. Chunks are perfect based on burn rate to turkey.

Avoid blackstrap molasses, as it is much more bitter.

Sugar source can be substituted. Great options are frozen apple juice concentrate (used in conjunction with apple wood), brown sugar, maple syrup, honey or just straight cane sugar.

If doing a whole bird, max size would be 10-12# for a nice, even cook-time for white and dark meat. If going bigger, debone the breast and remove quarters. This allows for cook to remove white and dark meat at the appropriate internal temps.

Recipe for a 10-12 lb turkey:

One 10-12 lb turkey, neck and giblets removed

Prep the turkey by trimming any excess fat from the cavity. Remove the wishbone if desired. Truss, or fold wings behind back and thread drumsticks together (one incision between bone and back drumstick tendon, pushing opposite drumstick end through). Rinse cavity and exterior, then pat dry.

Ingredients:
4 qt water
8 qt ice water
1.5 cups (432g) kosher salt
8 fl oz double black soy sauce
16 fl oz molasses (not blackstrap)

Instructions:

Combine 2 qt water, salt, soy and molasses in a sauce pot. Heat to a rolling boil, stirring until all salt has dissolved. Once dissolved, combine salt/molasses mixture with ice water.

Place brine in a container tight enough to accommodate the turkey. Place turkey in the container, then submerge the turkey in brine. Place bird and brine in the fridge, and allow to brine for 12-18 hours.

Prep PK for indirect heat. Once the coal bed is ready add pecan chunks. Make sure to place a drip pan beneath where the turkey will be placed on the grill. Remove turkey from brine, pat dry, and allow to rest at room temp for about 30 min to air dry a bit.* Once the grill is preheated to between 200-250 degrees and pumping out some beautiful blue smoke, place the bird (legs pointing toward the heat source) on your PK.**

Maintain heat, and cook until a desired internal temp is met. Carry over cooking should raise between 5-10 degrees, so don’t forget when deciding when to remove the bird.

*Not too worried about air drying the turkey as we are not looking for crispy skin. If you were roasting the bird…different story.

**A foil shield placed between the tail and coals can be used to help direct some of the indirect heat. By placing the turkey in this position, the legs and thighs will cook to a slightly higher temp than the breast portion. This ensures a bird cooked through on the leg portions, without drying the white meat.