- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 1 13-pound turkey (neck and giblets removed)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 pound sliced applewood-smoked bacon or guanciale
Make the brine: Combine 1 cup salt, the red pepper flakes, garlic, jalapenos and 2 quarts hot water in a large bucket or pot, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the turkey, breast-side down, then add enough cold water so the turkey is fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours. Drain the turkey, rinse and pat dry.
Soak 2 large bags each mesquite and applewood chips in water, 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the spice blend: Combine the chili powder, coriander, cumin, brown sugar, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper in a bowl. Loosen the skin of the turkey breast with your fingers, then rub the mayonnaise under the skin. Rub the spice blend all over the outside of the bird. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a large disposable roasting pan. Lay three-quarters of the bacon over the breast, overlapping the slices, and secure in several spots with toothpicks. Wrap the legs with the remaining bacon, securing it with toothpicks.
Drain the wood chips. Prepare a smoker according to the manufacturer's instructions, using the soaked wood chips; preheat to 210 degrees F. (Or use a grill and put the wood chips in a smoker box under the grates; preheat to low.) Put the turkey in the disposable pan on the smoker or grill grates; cover and cook 6 to 7 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 190 degrees F. Add a few handfuls of soaked wood chips every hour to maintain the smoke. If the bacon is browning too quickly, loosely cover the turkey with foil.
Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes. Remove the bacon and carve the turkey. Chop the bacon and sprinkle on top, if desired.
Photograph by Yunhee Kim