This Thanksgiving I tried some new things. If you can’t experiment on friends and family who can you experiment on? I planned to cook two turkeys and was trying for a crispy skin. In the past my turkey skin, while tasty, has been rubbery. Two ways I tried to fix this were by drying the turkey after brining and cooking hotter than I normally do. I also cooked a leg of venison. This was something new for me. I have smoked smaller cuts of venison before but never a whole leg.
I did some research on the web to find out the best ways to achieve my turkey cooking goals and to cook the venison. I then planned it out and created a schedule of what I needed to do when. It made the whole process and cooking go much easier. Below is all the information on what I did.
My brother-in-laws asked me to roast a leg of venison for Thanksgiving. This was a new experience for me. I did some searching around the web for a good recipe and came across one on the Field & Stream site here: Roast venison Leg.
I have also copied it below.
MAKE THE RUB: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, thyme, garlic, rosemary, juniper berries, salt, and pepper until it resembles a coarse paste. (Add a little more olive oil, if needed, to make it goopy enough to spread.) Rub this mixture onto the venison, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Remove the leg from the refrigerator several hours before cooking. It should be at room temperature when it goes into the oven.
|The leg of venison (I trimmed the bit that was poking out off).|
|The leg rubbed.|
PREHEAT THE OVEN (in our case the smoker) to 350 degrees. Drizzle the meat with the vegetable oil, patting it lightly with your fingers to coat evenly, and place the leg on the rack of a large roasting pan. Roast, undisturbed, for 1 hour.
HEAT THE STOCK to a low simmer on the stovetop. Turn the meat. Using a baster or ladle, baste the meat with about half of the hot stock, and roast for another hour.
TURN THE ROAST a second time, and repeat the basting. After about 15 minutes, check the meat in its thickest part with an instant-read meat thermometer. The cooking time will depend on the size of the roast. Remove the roast when the thermometer reads 120° for rare, or 126° for medium rare. (The meat will keep cooking after it's removed.)
REMOVE THE ROAST to a large cutting board and allow it to rest, tented with a few sheets of aluminum foil, for about 20 minutes. Carve and serve.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup rosemary, roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp. juniper berries, crushed
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup cracked black peppercorns
- 1 whole venison hind leg, bone-in (12-15 lb.)
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 4 cups game or beef stock
|Ready to carve.|
|Carving the leg.|
|Ready to serve after cooking in the oven for a bit.|
I was going to try a new way to do the turkey that I found on Amazingribs.com and try to get the skin crispy. Below is most of the recipe with alterations I made and without the science about cooking the turkey. One of the things they do on Amazing Ribs is put the turkey over the gravy mixture. As I was loading the cooker Thanksgiving Day I discovered my cooker wasn’t tall enough. I ended up putting the gravy pan on the grill and let it cook with the rest of the meat. It came out great and the turkeys were awesome as usual.
Remove the turkey from the package and save turkey juices from the store bag for gravy.
- 1 gallon water
- 1 1/2 cups salt (kosher)
- 1 woodchuck apple cider
- 1 table spoon favorite rub
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Bunch of little red peppers
|Putting the bird in the brine.|
|Swim turkey, swim.|
|In a garbage bag so they don't leak all over the cooler.|
|Iced and ready to sit for the day.|
Take turkey out of brine and pat dry.
Set in pan and into the fridge over night to dry the skin. Do not cover.
- 4 tbls Q rub
- 4 tbls olive oil
- Onion - quartered
- 3 cloves of garlic chopped
|Ready for the cooker.|
- 3 quarts water - chicken stock, vegetable stock or white wine
- 1 bottle hard cider
- 2 onions
- 2 carrots
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 tbls dried sage
- 2 whole bay leaves
|Everything cooking including the gravy.|
|Cooked and ready to carve.|
|Wednesday||Dry||Rub and wrap|
|8:00||Start cooker |
|9:00||Put on cooker||Put on cooker|
|10:00||Check water pan||Flip and baste|
|11:00 - check temps||Check water pan||Flip and baste|
|11:30||Check temp||Check temp|
|12:00||Meat off and resting (This is approximate as the meat may not be done. Check it and double check it)|
|1:30||Eat and enjoy|
All the meat was very flavorful and I will definitely cook this way again. Give it a try for Christmas or let me know how you cook your turkey and venison.