Today we are, once again, taking on Smoked Turkey Big Green Egg style. It seems like only yesteryear that we posted our original take on Smoked Turkey on the Big Green Egg. We’ve included our original take on turkey below. One thing is for sure: time sure flies when you’re having fun! One of the things we love about the Big Green Egg is the journey of improving upon great finds. We love trying to understand a recipe and iterate to find better ways of doing it. Since our original smoked turkey post we’ve tried our hand at a few other Smoked Turkey recipes on the BGE. We’ve experienced a broad range of results including amazing results and utter failures.
Today we are happy to report on one of our successes. We are certainly delighted with one recipe in particular that stood out. This post is an homage to the Killer Hogs and the smoked turkey on the Big Green Egg as published by Malcom Reed in November of 2015.
One recipe in particular that stood out as a delicious bird with fantastic flavor was provided via YouTube and Malcom Reed. One Mr. Malcom Reed has a website and You Tube Channel called How To BBQ Right – chock full of really good finds for your grill and smoker. On Nov. 19, 2015 Malcom posted a video titled Smoked Turkey on Big Green Egg. Everything from the brine through the entire method was straightforward and the final smoked turkey looks amazing. (Seriously – don’t watch if you are hungry.) So we are presenting an adaptation of Malcom Reed’s Big Green Egg turkey here and we hope you enjoy it. If this looks good you should be sure to check out Malcom’s online store Killer Hog Products and back yourself with some award winning assurances that you are making the best turkey on the block.
Smoked Turkey Big Green Egg
So with a quality recipe in tow it’s time to fire up the Big Green Egg and see what we can do here as we revisit our smoked turkey on the Big Green Egg.
This recipe can be broken down into two major parts: The brine and the smoking/grilling.
For the Brine
There are two reasons we love brining turkeys. The first being that the turkey will have all it needs to battle the drying out process while cooking on the grill. Eating a dry turkey is like flossing during your meal. Nothing against flossing of course. But through the brining process the turkey will be set up for maximum moisture retention. The second reason we love brining is the fact that you are straight up marinating your bird in the flavors of your choice. What better way to set yourself up for success then to put the exact ingredients in the same bag as your turkey and let them dance together in the fridge overnight?
2 gallons water
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
¼ Cup Creole Seasoning
3 sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
4 sprigs of Fresh Sage
3 sprigs of Fresh Thyme
2 Lemons halved
2 Bay leaves
4-5 Garlic Cloves
1.5 TBS Whole Black Pepper Corns
2 Small Onions quartered
Mix all of the ingredients and pour over the bird into a sealable plastic bag. Be sure to lock out all of the air and store in the refrigerator overnight for up to 24 hours. After brining be sure to fully rinse off the turkey and pat dry.
Turkey rub a dub dub
Here comes that magical moment between the long soak in the brine and the long cook on the grill. The seasoning and spices you elect to use on the bird to go on the grill will have huge ramifications on flavor in the long run. Tread lightly here my friends. For this portion of the recipe we are hugging close to the curb and sticking with Malcom Reed’s approach.
- 1 Tbl. Kosher Salt
- 1 Tbl. Fresh Ground Pepper
- 1 Tbl. Creole Seasoning
- 1 Tbl. Granulated Garlic
Stuffing – Not Your Grandma’s Stuffing
This was an interesting turn going through this recipe. The stuffing used in this recipe is for more utility than anything else. The primary purpose of the stuffing is to ‘prop up’ the chest cavity of the turkey and ensure a consistent cook. The secondary purpose to the stuffing was to provide a beautiful plating and visually pleasing cooking experience. Very little emphasis was placed on flavors and taste when selecting stuffing for the bird. So as we scrape together our utility stuffing be sure to include some of the following:
- Celery Stalks
- Fresh rosemary
- Quartered Apples
- Quartered Onions
Don’t stress too much over the stuffing. Really the goal is to get the bird to lay with the chest cavity full to enable an even cooking.
Time to hit the grill
Congratulations! Most of the work is behind you at this point. You’ve hit the home stretch! Fire up your Big Green Egg and let it come up to 300 degrees. If you are looking to add smoking wood we would suggest something more subtle for turkey like pecan, apple or cherry.
One thing we would advise before putting the turkey on the grill is to tuck the turkey wings behind the neck before putting on the grill. This helps with both consistency of cook and presentation. Steve Andrews has a great You Tube Video showing exactly how to do it. Thanks Steve!
Once your Big Green Egg stabilizes at the 300 degree mark and your smoke is blue and whispy you are in good shape to but your turkey in. Within 3 or 4 hours you should check for doneness with a meat thermometer. Poultry is considered done when you hit 165 degrees in the breast and 175 degrees in the thigh.
Viola. You are the Thanksgiving hero. Thanks for all you do Hero!
And now the original take on turkey in the Big Green Egg
As promised here is the original take on turkey
Earlier this month Big Green Egg published four ways to prepare a turkey. Tis the season when so much emphasis is placed on food, friends and family and there is no better time to employ your Big Green Egg. Let the gobbling begin. These gatherings of friends and families are fertile grounds for excellent food experiences. Smoking a turkey in a kamado style grill will spark conversation, relieve the kitchen, and provide a delicious main course. An added bonus: cleanup is snap as the dishes will practically clean themselves.
For this video we have adapted Kevin Rathbun’s recipe which features a rosemary/onion/garlic brine and a sage/thyme/potato stuffing. The result is a succulent feast sure to please the palates of everyone gathered at your table this season.
And on with the show:
- 16 cups (1 gallon) water
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- Rind of 1 orange
- 5 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 3 yellow onions, quartered (separated)
- 1 garlic head (halved)
- 1 (12-pound) turkey (thawed)
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 10 sprigs thyme
- 10 sprigs sage
- 1 large potato chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic powder
Brining a bird is a fantastic way to impart flavor and moisture before the smoke. Turkeys are lean and the leaner the meat the less forgiveness they will show in the battle against dryness. Brining a Turkey will increase the moisture of the meat ahead of the smoke and bring balance back the battle. Brine also serves as a vehicle by which to infuse flavor into the bird. Kevin’s brine recipe calls on the basic brine ingredients one would expect (water, salt & sugar) but also leans on flavorful ingredients that seek to enhance the overall taste including Rosemary, Onions and Garlic.
In a large bowl add the orange rind, rosemary, brown sugar, salt and 1 of the quartered onions and 1 half of the garlic head. After having rinsed off the turkey and discarding the giblets place the turkey in a 2½ gallon resealable plastic bag. Pour the brine over the turkey and remove most of the air from the bag before sealing it. Mix well with your hands and ensure the brine is completely covering all of the turkey. Refrigerate overnight or 12 hours, turning occasionally.
Mix together in a large bowl the lemon quarters, remaining garlic head, onion, thyme, sage and chopped potato.
- Remove the turkey from the plastic bag and discard the brine solution and brine ingredients.
- Rinse the turkey well and pat dry with paper towels.
- Stuff the turkey with the stuffing ensuring to get as much of the stuffing into the cavity of the bird as possible.
- Brush the entire turkey with olive oil and season with fresh ground pepper and garlic powder.
Prepare the Egg
- Set the egg for an indirect cook with the platesetter legs up and preheat to 350 degrees.
- Add several hickory chunks just prior to placing the turkey in the grill.
- Place the turkey in a v-rack and place in a drip pan.
- Put spacers on the platesetter, such as rolled up aluminum foil to avoid direct contact between the drip pan and the platesetter.
Place the drip pan with the turkey on top of the aluminum foil spacers on top of the platesetter in the Big Green Egg and smoke for 2.5 hours (12 minutes per pound).
Pull the turkey once an instant read thermometer registers 165ºF and allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
Carve immediately and serve hot.