Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Smokin' Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving smoked a lot of meat. I did two turkeys, a 20lb and a 15lb, an elk roast, venison steaks, three pork butts, venison ribs and a partridge in a pear-tree. Ok, I didn't real smoke a partridge or a pear-tree, but I did cook the rest.

Wednesday night before Thanksgiving I was exhausted. In had been up all night helping to cook 250 turkeys for needy families in our area. When I got home I needed to make the brine for the turkeys and a marinade for the elk and venison steak. It was a difficult task to do as I kept forgetting what I was doing. But I made it.

I don't remember falling asleep but I do remember waking up at 5 am thinking,"I need to get the fire going for the turkeys."

We were planing to eat at 1:30 so it gave me a good seven hours to make sure the meat was cooked properly to 160+ degrees.

By six I had the turkeys on and by ten I had the elk on. The elk only took about two hours to cook to 140-145 degrees.

I ended up grilling the venison right before we went to my sisters so they would be fresh. I used my Texas grill to cook everything on so once the turkey and elk was done I added some wood and heated up the grill to grilling temp and put the steaks on.

The other meat I listed I actually cooked on Friday for a party that night.

The venison ribs I smoked for 2 hours, wrapped them in foil with Strongbow apple cider for an hour and then glazed them with some BBQ sauce and put them on the cooker for another 45 minutes.

Everyone enjoyed the flavors of each of the meats.

The brine for the turkey is as follows:
1 gallon of water
2 cups salt
1 Woodchuck apple cider (I use Granny Smith)
1 Tablespoon pepper
1 Tablespoon favorite rub
1/2 cup brown sugar

I don't use a brining bag as they are expensive but I do use either a roasting bag or a garbage bag to hold the liquid and the turkey and stick them in a cooler with some ice for at least 12 hours. I get the cooker to about 275 to cook the turkeys.

The marinade for the elk was:
2 cups red wine (if you wouldn't drink it don't cook with it)
Half a large onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic crushed
2 Bay leaves
1teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons favorite rub

I let the elk roast and venison steaks marinade in this mixture for 12 hours also. Since the elk is lean I made a bacon lattice to wrap it in. I put it on the cooker with the turkeys for about two hours (140-145 degrees).

Here are the finished products.