Lance and I both enjoy watching the tv show Bob’s Burgers. And one of Lance’s favourite episodes is the first Thanksgiving episode. In it, Bob gets excited picking out the turkey ready for the feast and he names the turkey “Lance”. So for his birthday this year, Lance was bought a Bob’s Burgers’ themed present – complete with a Lance. Yep. A whole frozen turkey. You may also recall that Lance loves smoking meats, so we knew it was going to be part of his turkey’s future. Lance named his turkey Boblance and he was popped into the freezer until such time as we could spend a whole day smoking a turkey. Lancegiving, as it came to be known, was last weekend. And it was So. Much. Fun.
We invited a few friends and family around to hang out for the day. There was a tv set up outside playing thanksgiving episodes of some of our favourite shows, Brooklyn Nine Nine, How I Met Your Mother, and, of course, Bob’s Burgers. We played beer pong (minus the beer!), we hung out in the spa, we played board games, and we watched the turkey rotisserate in the smoking shed Lance had set up. It smoked for 6 hours, then we moved it into the oven for a further hour and a half of roasting before carving it up and serving it with roast veges and the stuffing.
Given that neither of us had ever cooked a turkey before, we weren’t optimistic about how it was going to turn out. There was lots of gravy on hand, just in case it was tough as old boots. But, it wasn’t really required. The turkey was incredibly succulent, with a fabulous smokey flavour. The only issue with smoking it the way Lance does is that the skin doesn’t crisp up, even with the finishing time in the oven. It tends to stay a slightly unappetising chewiness. But that is a small price to pay for such delicious meat. And as good as the meat was…it was the stuffing that really stole the show. Neither of us are the biggest fan of bread based stuffings, so I did a bit of a google for other recommended fillings. Chestnuts sounded right up my alley, but too much effort to prepare. And tinned chestnuts are hard (not to mention expensive) to come by. There were various sausage ones and mince meat ones, and rice ones. Lance had the idea of throwing some sweet potato into the mix and although he claims it was his idea, we both independently came upon the same answer to easily flavouring the stuffing – Mexican Chorizo. In the absence of some lurking in your freezer (seriously though, you should make it and have some lurking in your freezer), use a few of your favourite spicy sausages, skin removed.You will need to add a diced brown onion to the vegetables you sweat off with the sausage.
Lancegiving Smoked Turkey and Stuffing
300g Mexican chorizo
1 cup black rice
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 sweet red paprika, diced100g cold butter, diced
1/4 cup porcini mushrooms
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Cook the rice to al dente and set aside to cool. It needs to be cooked, but retain some bite as it will be cooked more in the turkey. Cook the sweet potatoes until just barely tender using your favourite method. As I was short on time, I steamed them. Set aside to cool. The rice and sweet potatoes can be cooked ahead of time if needs be.
Place the porcini and cranberries into a mug and just cover with recently boiled water. Cover loosely and set aside to cool.
Heat a frypan to medium high-heat. Add the Mexican chorizo and break up with a wooden spoon. As it starts to brown, add the celery and paprika. Cook until softened, around 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Once everything is cool, mix together in a bowl. Mix in about half of the diced butter.
Spoon as much of the stuffing into the turkey cavity as possible, then sew shut the cavity. Spoon the rest into a casserole container, cover with foil and set aside. Smoosh the remaining butter cubes between the skin and the breast meat of the turkey.
Set up your smoker (or get Lance to) on your barbecue to reach 160C, and insert the rotisserie rod. Alternatively, just set your oven to 160C. Smoke/roast the turkey for around 4 hours, or until the breast meat reaches 130F on a meat thermometer. Preheat the oven to 180C, transfer the turkey from the rotisserie to a baking tray and cook for a further hour, or until the breast meat reaches 165F. You can keep it going on the smoker outside if time permits, but we were getting hungry! As turkey sizes and oven/BBQ temperatures can vary, keep an eye on the meat and check for doneness from around 3 hours. The times I've given here are what our turkey took.
About an hour before the turkey is ready, slide the casserole dish with the stuffing into the oven to cook the remainder of the stuffing, for the last 15 minutes take the foil off. Any additional veges can be roasted now too.
Let the turkey rest for around 15 minutes, then carve. Remove the stuffing from the turkey and mix it with the casserole stuffing. Serve.