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Orange-Marinated Brined Smoked Turkey



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Wild Turkey Males Displaying, Texas, USA
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Orange-Marinated Brined Smoked Turkey

By Judy Walker
Times-Picayune, New Orleans

“A reader from Jackson, MS wrote to request a turkey brining recipe
that was published in The Times-Picayune in November 1996. This
smashing recipe originated with Chef Jeff Starr of Stags’ Leap
Winery in California’s Napa Valley.”

Serves 12 to 15
[Begin preparation 3 days in advance!]

1 gallon orange juice
2 cups rice wine vinegar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup dark brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1⁄4 cup sliced fresh ginger
1 bunch green onions, sliced
2 bunches cilantro, chopped
12 whole star anise
2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 cup kosher salt
1 turkey, 12 to 15 pounds,
giblets removed, liver and
neck reserved
Wine barrel or orange wood chips
(about 2 pounds; grapevine cuttings
or hickory chips may be substituted)
Olive oil, as needed
Salt and pepper

Combine orange juice, vinegars, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, green onions, cilantro, star anise, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, cloves, peppercorns and
salt in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45
minutes. Let cool.
Rinse and dry turkey inside and out. Place in a large plastic, glass or earthenware container that is not much wider than the diameter of the
turkey and deep enough so that the brine will cover the bird completely.
Pour in the brine; make sure it covers the turkey. Cover and refrigerate
for three days. If the brine doesn’t completely cover the bird, turn the
bird every 12 hours.
About four hours before serving, soak wood chips (wine-barrel chips,
orange wood or hickory) in water for at least 30 minutes
Remove turkey from the brine and pat dry; truss and place on roasting
rack. Rub with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place a drip pan on the fire grate of a kettle-type grill. Place 20 or 30
charcoal briquettes on either side of the drip pan. Light and let burn
until coated with white ash, about 30 minutes.
Place turkey in the center of the grill over the drip pan. Place small
handfuls of wet wood chips on the briquettes. Cover the kettle with
the lid. Partially open vents. Check every 45 minutes and add about
10 briquettes each time with additional wood chips.
If turkey skin gets too dark, cover with foil. Maintain about an inch of
water at all times in the drip pan. Smoke turkey for 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours, or
until a meat thermometer in thickest part of breast reaches 165 to 170
degrees F. Transfer turkey to platter and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

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