Friday, November 27, 2009

Chez Inspired Lunch & Smoked Turkey

We had a food line for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday with 9 or 10 choices, not counting dessert. When I went thru the line I filled my plate with the items I really like and those we don’t eat often. So for yesterday, it was a little turkey, big servings of mashed potatoes and dressing, all with gravy and a couple of homemade hot rolls. I did go back and got a wee taste of the other stuff and completely passed on dessert. I was two busy to take any pictures – I even smoked a turkey for a friend, took several pics of the initial process, then forgot the finished pics. I decided to post them anyway just to give you the beer can idea. Here are the ingredients, less the olive oil.

I rubbed it with oil and gave it a light coat of rub – Billy Bones said he spills more on his shoes than I put on my meat. I emptied the beer can, cut off the top, put the veggies and herbs in, and returned about 12 ounces of the beer to the can. I cut the excess neck skin off before I decided to do it beer can style so I had to do a little toothpick sewing to close the top hole – this is a must or the flavorful steam you’re creating in the can will just come out the hole rather than go into the meat.

What happened to the rest of the beer? It’s a little early, but Fosters is too good to not use appropriately.

I put it in the smoker about 8:30 am at a temp of about 310*, then ran it up to 325*, but it was cooking too fast so I dropped the pit temp to 275*. I started the process thinking in terms of 15-20 minutes per pound, but it cooked much faster. It finally dawned on me that steaming the inside with the beer can significantly speeded up the process - so think in terms of about 10 minutes per pound at 300*.

While I didn't get any finished pics, it was a darker version of the raw picture. The friend I cooked it for made my day today when she described it as awesome, very moist, best turkey ever.

And now back to lunch. One of my favorite blogs is created by Chef Chez John and one of the things I like is the way he stacks things up to create a meal. So I decided to try it for lunch today using my favorites from yesterdays dinner. I reheated the components individually in the microwave then put down the split-in-half rolls and covered with a thin layer of gravy. I topped with a layer of chopped turkey, a layer of stuffing, the mashed potatoes and then more gravy. Here's the result and I'm having the same thing for dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow.

I grew up eating cooked-in-bird stuffing rather than baked in a pan dressing and I still prefer the moist consistency of it. However, I worry about getting the stuffing to the correct temperature without making the bird dry – which I hate to do. We had this Slow Cooker Chicken Stuffing recipe show up in the newspaper and decided to try it to see if it would have the cooked-in-the-bird moistness. I’m delighted to report it does and it was a big hit with everyone but Bev, who grew up on the baked-in-a-pan kind and likes the crust on top. I will definitely use it again and here’s the recipe.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stuffing
Serves 10

1 whole Chicken, cooked, boned, and chopped
6 oz pkg Cornbread stuffing mix
1 large Onion, chopped
1 cup Celery, chopped
3 ea Eggs, beaten
10 oz can Cream of mushroom soup, reduced fat
2 cups Chicken broth, reduced sodium
1-1 ½ tsp Poultry seasonings
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
2 tbsp Butter, cut into small pieces

1. Grease a 3 ½ to 4 quart slow cooker
2. Combine first 10 ingredients, transfer to slow cooker and top with butter.
3. Cook covered on high for 3 hours – do not remove lid.

What a great Thanksgiving we had with family and friends and words can't describe all I have to be thankful for. Larry


  1. Very nice "MATE"! That looks killer!!!

  2. whooooboy, i'd pay good money for a plate of them leftovers!

  3. Nice looking bird! I've had a sip or two of beer in the morning for the exact same hate to waste 3-4 ounces of perfectly good beer right? ;)

    Glad you guys had a good Thanksgiving.


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