Smoked, Cajun spiced Turkey on the Barbeque

Though she decided she didn't want to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving, two days later Valerie decided that turkey should be on the menu.

We usually cook just the Turkey breast, but for $8 I bought a whole turkey and decided to cook it non-traditionally. I removed the thighs, drumsticks and wings, and coated them with oil and a Cajun spice rub made for poultry I had in the spice drawer. I then mixed that same spice with a tablespoon or so of honey and some oil to make a paste, and then rubbed my Turkey breast in preparation for the smoker (be sure to get under the skin when you rub!).

I smoked the Turkey at approximately 250 until the internal temp reached 160 (about 4 hours), and also placed the other pieces on the grill (all on indirect heat). Apple and cherry woods were used for the smoke. When the Turkey breast reached abbout 140 I wrapped it in foil until done.

Taste was fantastic (and I have recieved the edict that all turkeys henceforth shall be smoked).This method gave me much more smokey flavor than roasting or smoking the whole bird.  This is important, because the leftovers of the pieces will then be removed from the bone and simmered with spices to make turkey tacos or burritos (more about that in a later post).

To go with the turkey, I made Whipped Potatoes with Cilantro Pesto, and a cauliflower-broccoli-carrot gratin. The garnish, instead of the traditional cranberries, was Black Currant preserves.

Whipped Potatoes with Cilantro Pesto
(Recipe Courtesy Bobby Flay)

This recipe is fairly simple to make if you have a simple food processor.

Mashed potatoes: Peel and boil the potatoes until fork tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, take
1C packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 C fresh parseley
1 coarse chopped garlic clove
2 TBS pine nuts
 and process them till smooth.
 1/4 C parmesan cheese
 and some olive oil (till emulsified)
salt and pepper to taste.

Add butter to the potatoes as you mash them, and then and milk or cream and whip with a mixer until fluffy. Fold, do not mix, the pesto into the potatoes... finished look should be marbled rather than blended smooth.

For the Cauliflower-Goat Cheese Gratin:
 (Recipe Courtesy Bobby Flay)

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 bu. broccolli, cut into florets
2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated (cooks note: I used Pepper Jack)
2 cups grated Parmesan
6 ounces goat cheese, cut into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Layer the cauliflower, heavy cream, and the 3 cheeses in a large casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft and the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


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