JERK SMOKED TURKEY! Give your Thanksgiving turkey a little island flavor.
Rub your turkey with some homemade Jamaican style jerk marinade, fire up the grill and celebrate the holiday with a little Island style. Jerk smoked turkey gets some heat from Scotch bonnet peppers, a VERY hot pepper with fruity flavor. Scotch bonnet peppers are quite a bit hotter than jalapeños add them with care if you want to keep your taste buds intact.
If you are using a frozen turkey thaw it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days before you are ready to cook it. I’m using a small turkey it’s only 9 ½ pounds, so it thawed in the refrigerator in just 2 days.
Start by making your jerk marinade
I make my jerk marinade in a food processor, it’s a real time savor. Just combine scallions, Scotch bonnet peppers, garlic, fresh thyme, crushed allspice, salt and pepper with 2 tablespoons of apple juice in the bowl of the food processor and let it rip.
Spatchcock the turkey
I like to remove the backbone of the turkey and press the breast bone down to flatten the turkey, this helps it cook so much faster than when the bird is left in tact. It’s easy to do on a turkey this small but I wouldn’t recommend this for a larger turkey. Save the back bone and simmer it with the neck and gizzard (not the liver) for turkey stock.
Rub the turkey on all sides with the jerk marinade. Let the turkey sit in the refrigerator covered for a few hours for the flavors to seep in or grill it right away, it’s totally up to you.
Fire up the grill
I like to create a two zone fire on my grill, a hot side with coals and a “cool” side with no coals. The coals should be placed opposite of the smoke stack so the smoke is drawn across the turkey. Start over indirect heat, place the turkey on the “cool” side of the grill with no coals and place a pan of water under the turkey to produce moisture and steam inside the grill. This will allow the turkey to smoke without burning.
I served this with Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread. Get the recipe HERE
Sweet and Sour Braised Rainbow Swiss Chard goes great with this too! Get the recipe HERE:
Place the turkey legs near the hotter part of the cool side of the grill, closer to the fire since they take longer to cook.
Baste the turkey occasionally with a mixture of apple juice and vegetable or canola oil to keep the turkey from drying out.
Since this turkey was small it only took about 2 ½ hours to cook. Use a digital thermometer to check that the temperature is between 165 and 170 degrees in the thigh. Let the turkey rest for 15-20 minutes before carving
Jerk Smoked Turkey Celebrate Thanksgiving Island Style
- one 10 pound turkey
- 4 scallions
- 1-2 Scotch bonnet peppers
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 6 whole allspice crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons apple juice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Spatchcock (remove the backbone from) the turkey
- Make the jerk marinade. In a food processor grind the scallions, Scotch bonnet peppers, garlic, allspice, salt, pepper and apple juice into a paste
- Rub both sides of the turkey with the jerk marinade
- Smoke the turkey at 300 degrees as directed above for about 2 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 165- 170 degrees in the thigh
- Mix the remaining apple juice and vegetable oil in a container and baste the turkey with this mixture every 45 minutes
- Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving