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Smoked Turkey with BBQ Gravy

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 15 hr 55 min
  • Prep: 35 min
  • Inactive: 7 hr 20 min
  • Cook: 8 hr
  • Yield: 12 servings
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2 tablespoons salt

1 1/2 tablespoons ground sage

1 1/2 tablespoons thyme

1/2 tablespoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon Neely's Seasoning, recipe follows

Turkey Brine:

1 gallon water

2 cups salt

3 cups apple juice

1 cup bourbon

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1/2 cup light brown sugar

One 22-pound turkey

Olive oil

BBQ Gravy, recipe follows

Neely's Seasoning:

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups paprika

3 3/4 tablespoons onion powder

BBQ Gravy:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Drumstick, from turkey

Neck, from turkey

1 large onion, sliced

8 cups turkey stock or chicken stock

1/4 cup BBQ sauce (recommended: Neely's BBQ Sauce, recipe follows)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Neely's BBQ Sauce:

2 cups ketchup

1 cup water

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

5 tablespoons light brown sugar

5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon ground mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Special equipment:
4 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 60 minutes
  1. For the rub:
  2. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and reserve.
  3. For the brine:
  4. Mix the water, salt, apple juice, bourbon, peppercorn, and sugar into a 5-gallon bucket lined with a resealable bag. Stir until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Add the turkey into the bag with the brine. In a garbage bag-lined ice chest filled with ice, place the bucket in and surround with ice. Keep in a cool place and let brine 6 hours or overnight. Turn the turkey after 3 hours. Remove turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Rub the turkey with olive oil and massage the rub onto the Turkey.
  6. Soak wood chips for 1 hour prior to cooking the turkey and drain well. Fill the chimney starter with charcoal and light. Burn until they ash over. Place the burned coals to 1 side of the grill. Place wood chips on top of coals. Line a standard size loaf pan with aluminum foil and fill 2/3 with water. Place in the grill opposite the coals.
  7. Take the turkey and place on the grill over the pan of water. Insert a probe thermometer in the thigh to keep a check on the temperature as it cooks. Place the lid on the grill with the vent open.
  8. The temperature should remain constant at 225 degrees F. You may need to add more coals and chips every few hours.
  9. After 1 hour check the turkey, if the skin is golden brown cover with foil. Continue cooking for 4 to 6 more hours or until a probe thermometer reaches 160 degrees F.
  10. Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before you carve. Serve with BBQ Gravy.

Neely's Seasoning:

  1. Mix ingredients together and store in an air tight container for up to 6 months.

BBQ Gravy:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the drumstick and neck and sear until brown. Remove from pan and reserve.
  2. Lower heat and saute the onions. Add the stock, scrapping up the fond on the bottom of the pan. Add the drumstick and neck into the saucepan. Cover and let simmer until it comes to a boil; about 1 hour. Sauce will reduce down greatly. Remove turkey parts. Add BBQ Sauce to pan and whisk together. Gravy will thicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Neely's BBQ Sauce:

Yield: 3 1/2 cups
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.