With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I thought it would be appropriate to start a Thanksgiving recipe thread. From the traditional to the exotic, share your best recipes!
We usually make two birds at our house. One is a very traditional, oven-roasted turkey with gravy made from pan drippings. The other is totally experimental. This year, it's going to be a mezcal and lime brined, adobo-rubbed smoked turkey, with smokey adobo gravy made from the pan drippings.
Here are the brine and rub recipes (note: these recipes are for a smaller, bourbon red turkey):
1/2 cup mezcal
1/4 cup lime juice (about two limes)
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1 serrano chile, split in half
In a large bowl, whisk the mezcal, lime juice, water, salt, and honey until the salt and honey are dissolved. Add the serrano.
Place turkey in a one-gallon ziplock bag and add the brine. Set the bag in the sink and fill with cold water, within 1 inch of the zipper (8 to 10 cups of water, depending on the water displacement from the volume of the chicken). Press the air out of the bag and seal. Place the bag in a large bowl or on a rimmed baking sheet to catch drips. Allow the turkey to brine for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator, turning the bag once or twice to redistribute the brine.
About an hour before you plan to start cooking, remove the turkey from the brine. Rinse the bird under cool running water and pat dry with paper towels. This removes sugar from the skin and prevent burning during cooking.
Tuck the wings under the body to keep them out of the way during cooking. For a neat appearance, pin the neck skin down to the back using toothpicks or skewers, and tie the legs together using kitchen twine.
Apply a light coat of canola oil or other vegetable oil to the turkey, then sprinkle with the adobo rub.
4 dried guajillo chiles (2 oz), stemmed and seeded
3 dried ancho chiles (1 1/2 oz), stemmed and seeded
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 (1/2-inch) piece cinnamon stick, smashed
2 whole allspice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
Toast chiles until they release their fragrance, being careful not to burn them. Set aside.
Toast the cumin seekd, cinnamon stick, allspice, and clove over medium-high heat, until they become fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside and let cool. When the spices have cooled, grind them in a spice grinder along with the toasted chiles, and transfer to a small bowl. Add the remaining rub ingredients to the bowl and mix well.