“Smoked Turkey Rubbed with Turmeric Buffalo Ghee” by Rehan Jaffrey

This was the lone non-chicken entry in our poultry competition.  Rehan’s intricate recipe resulted in one of the most beautiful turkeys I’ve ever seen. Not just did it look good, the judges loved the flavor and felt it was “cooked to perfection.”

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As part of our ongoing series interviewing the competitors, below are Rehan’s answers and his outstanding recipe.

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What type of grill/smoker do you have?

Kamado Big JoeIMG_0864 2

What grills/smokers have you had in the past?

SmokinIT Number 2, Electric smoker, Weber charcoal grill, Cajun Big Easy Oilless frier (this is like a dutch oven that cooks, chicken, turkey and I have even cooked a whole leg of lamb in it.  Various other gas based grills. 

What is the favorite grill/smoker you’ve ever had and why?

I liked the ease of the SmokinIT Electric smoker just set to temp and forget about it, but nothing beats the smokey flavor, bark and smoke rings from the Kamado Big Joe. Also cooking over a flame brings out the primordial in me.

At what age did you start grilling/smoking meat? (provide details/circumstances if possible)

Been an avid cook since I was 10, used to make spicy eggs with garlic/ginger, Turmeric and Red chili amongst other things.  Also have spent a lot of time perfecting Hyderabadi cuisine.

I Started grilling about 14 years ago quickly realizing that butter is your best friend when grilling straight under the flame.  Didn’t start smoking until 3 years ago.  Made a brisket in an electric smoker and never looked back.  I much prefer cooking under indirect heat rather than direct heat.

What do you enjoy the most about grilling/smoking?
The results.  I don’t mind doing the planning and prep work, but its seeing people enjoy what I made that is the main motivator for me.  Additionally, the whole process is very soothing and relaxing for me.

What’s your signature dish?

Brisket. 

Give us one tip/hack to make improve our grilling/BBQ skills.

People underestimate the effects of an equilibrium brine.  Equal parts salt and sugar really tenderize the meat and keep it most while it cooks.  I mainly do brines for turkey and brisket, not really ribs or steaks.

 

Recipe for my Turkey

I used the Aaron Franklin method, who happens to be one of my favorite BBQ Chef’s.  I did however deviate by changing the rub a little.

Ingredients:

  •  Whole Turkey

Rub:

  • Buffalo Milk Ghee with Turmeric and spices – 5 table spoons (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • Black Pepper – liberal amounts
  • Kosher Salt – liberal amounts
  • Powdered Garlic
  • Paprika – 1 tea spoon
  • Thyme – 1 tea soon
  • Butter – 3 sticks

 Equilibrium Brine:

  • Water – enough to cover turkey in large pot
  • Salt – ¾ cup
  • Sugar – ¾ cup
  • Homemade Brisket Seasoning (Brown sugar, chilli powder, coriander, garlic powder, black pepper, salt) – 2 table spoons

 Gravy:

  • Stock from Turkey Neck and innards cooked on low heat with water for about 1 to 2 hours
  • All Purpose Flour – 1/3rd cup
  • Oil from drippings – 1/3rd cup
  • Salt – to taste
  • Pepper – to taste

 

Method

Brine:

  1. Wash turkey and pull out the neck and the bag of internal organs.
  2. In small pan boil water with salt, sugar and optional brisket seasoning. Once everything has dissolved put ice in the pan to bring water temperature down.
  3. In large pot pour approximately 20 cups of water and mixed with brine mixture. Do not put turkey in warm water.
  4. Leave Turkey in brine solution for at least 1 day.

 Rub:

  1. After removing from brine, wash turkey and thoroughly and dry.
  2. Smother ghee all over turkey.
  3. Coat turkey liberally with all the other dry rub ingredients.

The Smoke:

  1. Set big Joe to 300 and smoked for about 4 hours in total.
  2. Smoke with Post Oak lump charcoal and a couple of pieces of post oak wood chunks
  3. When the turkey reaches 155 degrees internal temperatures layer with 3 sticks of butter cut in to small pieces all over the top of the bird and put in a foil pan and covered in a foil tent until done. 
  4. Turkey should be pulled out at 165 degrees.

Gravy:

  1. Using the oil from the drippings and equal amount of flour put in pot, use a whisk to constantly stir roux under low heat for about 15 mins until it was the color of chocolate. 
  2. Then added stock from the turkey neck and internal organs that had been previously cooking for over an hour and bought to boil. 
  3. Once mixture boils turn off heat and let it rest and season with salt & pepper.

 

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