This year, I decided to try something different - spatchcocking. Spatchcocking is the art of removing the bird's spine and cracking the ribs so the bird can lay flat. This allows for faster cooking because of the larger surface area, and can make for a moister, more flavorful bird.
Removing the spine is fairly straightforward. Take a serrated knife or bone saw and cut down each side of the spine. There were a couple of bones that were a little stubborn, but all in all it came out pretty easily. You then turn the bird over and apply pressure to the breasts to crack the ribs.
I added the spine to the broth mixture, along with the throat and excess skin trimmings. Along with that went some onion, carrots and celery, rosemary, parsley, coriander, white pepper, sea salt and basil. These items went into a large pan that sat under the smoker.
The turkey was rubbed down with olive oil, and rubbed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. I cracked some black peppercorns for the rub as well. As this bird was buttered/flavored in bag, I didn't add any salt.
The smoker was primed to 180 degrees using mesquite charcoals. I placed the drip pan underneath the grills and placed the turkey, skin up, on top. It smoked for 2.5 hours on a mixture of Applewood and Jack Daniel's oak barrel chips. I then bumped it up to 325 for another hour until internal temperature on both breasts reached 180. As the turkey cooked, the drippings went into the pan. As the pan heated, the flavors wafted up straight into the meat.
I let the bird rest for 20 minutes. This turned out to be the most succulent, decadent bird I have ever had the joy of eating! The meat was moist and tender. The flavors from the drip pan, which were used to make gravy in the end, permeated the entire bird. I highly recommend spatchcocking your bird next time! You can do this with any fowl.