Sometimes I wonder if we take the time to consider the cost of what we are eating, I mean for a lot of people go to the grocery store, pick out their food and run.  If you do take the time to consider the cost you probably focus on getting a good deal or think that you are doing well to support the employees of the store and the people who took a part in getting the food to the store.  However there are some people who do not have any idea where their food came from or that it was once living.  Well the turkey we smoked, I know was once living, in the wild and was shot by a friend of mine during turkey season here in Michigan.

So with all that in mind, it was my goal to cook up one heck of a turkey and not let the story of this bird end with a bad plate of turkey.  With the exception of the legs it turned out great, it was unlike any turkey I have ever eaten before.  Each bite was a bit different than the last and all of them were pretty incredible.

I used the same brine as I had used when I smoked my turkey breast for our Thanksgiving potluck and brined it overnight in a 5 gallon bucket overnight in the garage, it was colder than the fridge.  We were forced to remove its legs to fit it into the brining bucket and the smoker.  This morning after a hasty breakfast of eggs, bacon and sausage we pulled the turkey out of the brine, brushed it with cajun butter and rubbed it with cajun spice.

We then loaded the smoker and set it up to smoke over hickory and apple wood and smoked it for 6 hours, basting with apple juice and white wine about every half hour.  After a days work and about 30 games of Halo, the turkey was done and resting on the counter covered by a thick blanket.  After allowing the juices to redistribute, we began to carve and eat.  It was worth the effort.

Carved smoked wild turkey

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Well I have officially smoked my first turkey breast and I am not sure if there is any better way to cook a turkey.  A couple weeks ago my father had smoked up a turkey breast and it was tasty, with our Thanksgiving potluck coming up tomorrow at work I decided I shall bring a smoked turkey breast and thus what started my journey.

Thankfully and as is typical the week of Thanksgiving turkey breast was on sale at my local supermarket.  I picked up a fairly sized 7 lb turkey breast and began to thaw it Sunday morning.  Once thawed I brewed up a brine to soak the meat in.  The recipe is as follows:

7  c water (cold, filtered, non-chlorinated)
3 tbsp salt
3tbsp dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp cajun spice (I used Penzey’s Cajun Spice)
3/4 tsp celery seed
Fresh sage, Basil, Cayenne to taste

Mix until all salt and sugar has dissolved.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

From there I washed my turkey breast and and placed it in a 1 gallon zip lock freezer bag.  Once the brine had properly cooled and had a chance to mature a bit in the fridge I poured it all in the zip lock with the turkey breast and put it back in the fridge to brine over night and while I was at work the next day (about 18 hours).  Just in case the structural integrity of the zip lock was compromised I placed the zip lock in a large bowl and placed the large bowl in a pie plate, to contain the spillage should the worst occur.

Upon arriving home this evening I got the smoker fired up (used the Afterburner on the Charcoal unit, I had cheese to smoke too!), and prepared the solution to sit in the water pan consisting of a bit of apple juice, a small bit of white wine and water to fill the pan about an inch from the top, I also had a similar solution to fill the pan as needed throughout the duration of the smoke.

With the smoker heating up, I washed the meat and patted it dry with some paper towel, I then brushed it with Olive Oil and rubbed it sparingly with Penzey’s Cajun Seasoning (this is some good stuff).  Once the smoker was heated to 275ºF (I was in a hurry)  in went the turkey breast and a chunk of hickory wood and a handful of cherry chips.  I did add an additional chunk of hickory during this nearly 4 hour smoke.  Once the temperature of the thickest part of the breast reached 165ºF, I pulled it and set it to rest, covered with aluminum foil and a thick towel quadrupled over for about 10 minutes.

Smoked Turkey BreastNext came the best part, slicing this masterpiece up and taste testing it.  While slicing it I knew it would be good, almost too good to let go.   It looked incredible and tasted about the same, the cajun spice gave the skin a nice kick while the inside had a hint of smoke and was almost dripping wet it was so juicy, it was tasty.  The wife agreed, although she did not care for the cajun seasoning, said it was too spicy.

Sliced smoked turkey breastSmoking this was really pretty easy with the propane maintaining the heat and the flavor, texture and moisture were spot on.  If it weren’t for stuffing I am not sure why anyone would ever do a turkey in the oven again, I know I wouldn’t.  After this I am excited to do my next turkey, whole.

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