J and I received this smoker for Christmas last year.  We decided to try it out this weekend on a whole turkey. 

This was our first time ever smoking anything, so it was kind of experimental.  We did some research, read a few different pages with tips and tricks, then we went for it.

All carved up for lunch!

We started out brining the turkey in a basic brine of:
4 gallons water (we doubled the recipe because we used a cooler since we wouldn’t have had fridge space)4 cups kosher salt
2 cups sugar
Just boil it all together until the salt and sugar dissolve completely, then let it cool completely.  We lined our cooler with a clean garbage bag, placed a small bag of ice under the garbage bag, filled it with the brine, then set in the turkey.  We left it overnight – total about 12 hours.

In the morning we took the turkey out of the brine, rinsed it, dried it, then set it in the fridge until ready to cook.

We heated the grill in the side firebox using charcoal.  We let that heat until the coals turned red.  While the grill heated, we rubbed the turkey with a simple rub of:
4 T garlic salt
4 T onion salt
1 T cayenne
1 T black pepper

We made sure to get underneath the skin for lots of flavor, then we held the skin down with some toothpicks, to help keep the turkey moist.

Just before we put the turkey on the grill, we added some hickory wood chips that we had soaked in water for about 20 minutes, then we placed the turkey on the grill, breast side up.

It took about 4 hours for the turkey to cook through – the breast should be at 160 and the thighs at 170.  The breasts seemed to reach the temp much more quickly than the thighs, so we put some foil over the breasts to hopefully help them not to dry out.

During the cooking time – we definitely had some problems keeping the temperature regulated.  We also realized that even though the chips had been soaked, they still burned way too fast.  About an hour into cooking J took a quick trip to Home Depot to larger hickory pieces that would last longer.  That definitely made a difference.

Even with that – we had to check the thermometer every half hour or so and try to get the temp higher or lower by opening/closing the vents or adding more hickory.
If anyone has any tips on regulating the temperature, I’d love to hear them!!
Once the turkey was done we set it on the counter to cool.  We actually made it to use in our lunches this week so we carved it and placed it into containers, one of which we froze for next week. But of course we both had a little taste!  And it was delicious!  Slightly salty – I think we can cut down on the salt and the brine, and don’t really need any salt, or very little, in the rub.  But it wasn’t over-powering and the smoky flavor is really delicious!
Straight off the smoker!  I know it looks burnt, but it’s just the skin. The meat was tender and delicious!
I’m excited to see how the brisket and chicken turn out this weekend.  Any tips?

Recipes from skinnytaste.com

These were very good, moist, easy to make meatballs.  Instead of cooking them in a skillet I decided to bake them.  Only because when I made these, I had too much going on with the stove top as it was.  🙂

I served these on whole wheat sandwich thins (cut the meatballs in half to make it easier to eat) with some tomatoes and tzatziki sauce.  I made them a couple days ahead, then just reheated them in a small pot when we were ready to eat.

1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
1 c zucchini, grated and squeezed to remove excess liquid
2 slices whole wheat bread
1/4 c bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1 large egg
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c red onion, finely minced
1 1/2 t dry oregano
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1 t dried mint
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Wet bread with water and squeeze dry.  Break into small pieces and place in a medium bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients until just mixed.

Form into small meatballs – about 1″ in diameter.  I made about 18 meatballs.

Place on lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning once, until internal temperature reaches 165.

Recipe from SparkRecipes

Delicious, easy and very messy!! These take about 20 minutes start to finish and all you really have to do is toss stuff into a pan. 🙂

1.5 lbs turkey
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
One medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 6 ou can tomato paste
12 ou tomato juice
1 t paprika
2 t chili powder
1 14 ou can tomato and green chilies
1/4 t salt
1 t onion and herb seasoning

Brown the turkey until cooked through and drain the fat.  (I added the onion with the turkey when it was about 1/2 done, to make sure it was cooked and tender.)  Mix in remaining ingredients and stir occasionally until heated through. Serve on whole wheat bread or buns.

Remember the Turkey Meatball and Spicy Tomato Sauce I made earlier in the week.  Well – it made plenty of leftovers, so I used them for Meatball Hoagies!

I just reheated the turkey and sauce in a saucepan on the stove.  Then put about 6 meatballs per hoagie roll and topped with Provolone cheese.  I stuck them under the broiler to allow the cheese to melt and the hoagie roll to warm up.  That’s it!  A great, quick meal that I served with a small side salad. 🙂

Recipe from Ellie Krieger

I love recipes that can be used for multiple meals.  I made this over pasta for dinner last night, and I plan to make meatball hoagies later in the week with the leftovers. 🙂

J and I both thought this was great.  The meatballs were really flavorful and the sauce had just enough spice without being overpowering.  I made this in advance on Sunday, so all I had to do last night was reheat it and cook the noodles.

This recipe called for fresh herbs, but I didn’t want to buy them just for a tablespoon or less, so I just used dry.

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T tomato paste
1 (28-ou can) fire roasted diced tomatos
1 t finely minced canned chipotle in adobo
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried rosemary
1 T dried basil
(note: I also added in some water at the end, as it was a bit too thick for my tastes)

1 lb ground turkey
1/2 c bread crumbs
1/4 c grated Parmesan
1/2 c finely grated carrot
1/2 c finely chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 t dried parsley
1 t dried thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t salt

For the sauce, in a large saucepan heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions until translucent, then add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until liquid has evaporated slightly.

For the meatballs – preheat the broiler and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Combine turkey with all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Form the turkey into 1-inch balls (the recipe says 2 1/2-inch, but I wanted mine smaller – this made about 24 meatballs) and place on the cookie sheet.

Broil for about 7-8 minutes, turning once, until browned and almost cooked through.  Remove from the oven and place in the sauce.  Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve over pasta (or however you wish to eat it.) 🙂

Recipe from Netts Nook

This was a really good, easy recipe to throw together for a weeknight meal.

12 ou uncooked fettuccine
3/4 c skim milk
4 ou fat free cream cheese, cube
1/2 c reduced fat garlic-herb spread (I used 4 wedges laughing cow)
2 c cubed cooked turkey breast
10 ou broccoli
1/2 c roasted red peppers, chopped
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 t pepper

Cook fettuccini according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine milk, cream cheese and herb-garlic spread.  Cook and stir over medium heat until cheeses are melted.  Add the turkey, broccoli, peppers, 1/4 c Parm, and the pepper and heat through.

Add the noodles to the cheese/turkey mixture.  Mix well.  Top each serving with a bit of Parmesan cheese.

Recipe from recipezaar.com

J and I both loved this stew!!  You’ll be seeing a lot of slow cooker recipes from me now that the weather is getting cooler.  Especially soups and stews. 🙂 

To save time in the morning – I cooked the turkey the night before and also chopped all of the veggies.  So in the morning – I just had to throw it together.

Serve this with some fresh, crusty bread.  YUM!

My changes: I skipped the green beans and carrots and used turnips and parsnips instead.

1 lb ground turkey
1 c chopped celery
1 1/2 c chopped parsnip
1 1/2 c chopped turnip
2 1/2 c tomato juice (next time I may go up to 3 cups – I would’ve liked just a bit more broth)
1 c mushrooms, sliced 1/4 in thick
1/2 c chopped tomato
1 T dried onion flakes
1 1/2 t Worcestershire
1 t dried basil
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t garlic powder (didn’t have any so I threw in 3 cloves minced garlic)
1/2 t sugar
1/4 t pepper
1 bay leaf

In a large skillet, cook the turkey, celery, parsnips and turnips until turkey is no longer pink and veggies are soft.  Add to 4 quart slow cooker (I wouldn’t go any smaller than this – mine was pretty full.)

Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Remove bay leaf and serve.