Wine Smoked Turkey

Submitted by HBeachlady


Prep and cook time: About 3 hours

Makes: 10 to 12 servings, with leftovers

4 to 6 cups wine-infused wood chips or shavings, lightly packed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons dried sage
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 turkey, 16 to 18 pounds
1 Golden Delicious apple (about 8 oz.)
1 onion (about 6 oz.)
Sprigs of fresh sage and marjoram

1. Soak wine-infused chips or shavings in water at least 20 minutes; set aside.  If you are unable to find infused chips, soak mesquite or apple wood chips in equal parts red wine and water instead.

2. Mix oil with minced sage, parsley, marjoram, and pepper; set aside.

3. To prepare turkey, remove and discard leg truss. Pull off and discard lumps of fat and remove giblets. Rinse bird inside and out; pat dry. Rinse giblets, drain, and reserve for gravy (recipe follows). Insert a meat thermometer straight down through the thickest part of the breast to the bone (if using an instant-read thermometer, insert later). Brush turkey all over with 2 tablespoons oil mixture. Cut apple and onion into 1-inch chunks, and mix with remaining oil mixture; place mixture in turkey cavity.

4. On a large charcoal barbecue with a lid. Mound and ignite 40 charcoal briquets on firegrate. When coals are spotted with gray ash, in about 20 minutes, push equal portions to opposite sides of firegrate. Place a metal drip pan between coals. To each mound of coals, add 5 briquets and 1/2 cup soaked wood chips or shavings now and every 30 minutes while cooking. Set grill 4 to 6 inches above coals. Set turkey, breast side up, on grill over drip pan.

On a gas barbecue. Turn gas heat to high. Place 1 cup wood chips in the barbecue's metal smoking box or in a small, shallow foil pan set directly on heat in a corner. Close lid until barbecue is hot, about 10 minutes. Adjust gas for indirect cooking (no heat down center) and set a metal drip pan in center. Add another cup of wood chips or shavings if first ones have burned away. Set grill in place. Set turkey, breast side up, on grill over drip pan. When chips have burned up, add another cup of chips (sprinkle through grill spaces, or lift grill to add shavings) to pan, about every hour.

5. Cover barbecue (open vents for charcoal) and cook turkey until thermometer registers 160 [degrees], 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Because temperature, heat control, and size and shape of the bird all can vary, start checking doneness after 2 hours. If parts of the turkey begin to get dark before the bird is done, drape those areas with foil.

6. Drain juices, apple, and onion from cavity; reserve for gravy. Place turkey on large platter; let rest 15 to 30 minutes. Remove drip pan from barbecue; skim and discard fat from juices. Reserve juices for gravy; if burned, discard.

Zinfandel Gravy
Prep and cook time: About 2 hours
Makes: About 4 1/2 cups
Giblets and neck from a 16- to 18-pound turkey 2 onions (about 3/4 lb. total), quartered
2 carrots (about 1/2 lb. total), cut into chunks
3/4 cup sliced celery
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups Zinfandel
2 strips (each 3 in.) orange peel (orange part only)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup cornstarch

1. Rinse giblets and neck. Reserve liver for another use. In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine giblets, neck, onions, carrots, celery, and 1/2 cup broth. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat 20 minutes. Uncover; cook over high heat, stirring often as liquid evaporates, until giblets and vegetables are browned and browned bits stick to pan, about 5 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup broth; stir to loosen browned bits. Repeat cooking and browning, uncovered, as before.

2. Add remaining broth, 1 1/2 cups Zinfandel, peel, and pepper to pan. Cover; simmer gently over low heat 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (If making ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to 1 day. Reheat to simmering.) Add reserved turkey pan juices (if juices are burned, omit) and apple mixture from cavity; bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Pour broth mixture through a fine strainer into a bowl; reserve giblets for another use and discard remaining contents of strainer. Measure broth; if needed, add water to make 4 cups. In pan, mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water until smooth. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup wine and broth mixture. Stir over high heat until boiling, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.