Festive holidays bring friends and family together. In my household, holidays also mean feasts. Below is a recipe I used for cooking turkey. This past weekend, we did a unique twist to the recipe and smoked the meat as well. You can do this recipe easily in the oven, if you don’t want to smoke it, but smoking it adds to the flavor. Below is the recipe from this weekend and I hope you enjoy it.
begin soaking the wood chips in the water overnight. While they soak, zest two of the six oranges and reserve the zest. Pierce the skin of the unzested oranges with the cloves. They should look like pomanders or Christmas decorations when done. Place in the refrigerator until the next day.
The next day, make sure the turkey is thawed and its body cavity is rinsed out and clean. Cut the two of the four cloved oranges in half and place in to the turkey’s cavity. All four halves should fit, if not, push them in more forcibly and sew the bird shut.
If smoking the bird, place the wet wood chips into the cast iron pot with the ring insert above the wood chips. Before placing the bird on top of the ring, sprinkle the cinnamon and garam masala spices onto the exterior of the bird. Lay the bird, breast side down in the pot and place the last of the oranges outside of the bird in the pot and cover. Once covered, place the pot on direct heat.
Check every twenty minutes and add about a cup of water to the wood (do not pour it on the bird). The water will create a steamy smoke that will help season the bird and keep it moist. The bird should reach an internal temperature of 175 degrees. At festival, this took 3.5 hours for a 14 lb turkey.
If you choose not to smoke the bird, use the ring, to keep the bird off the direct heat of the pot. In the oven, cook at 400 degrees until the turkey reaches 175 degrees internally.
Pull the oranges out (do not serve) and let sit the meat set for 5 minutes before carving.