We love autumn in our family. The weather gets cooler. Halloween is still a favourite even though our children are grown and starting families of their own. We look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas and family get togethers. And that always involves at least one traditional sit down meal. Every time we get together I ask the same question. 'What should we have for dinner?' And lately, I get exactly the same answer and it's not even anything I cook. They want Peter's brined and smoked turkey breast. And don't forget the special sauce, Mum.
For quite a few years Peter has been honing his outdoor cooking skills. He has as many grills as I have kilns! Stephen Reichland of BBQ University was quite the inspiration for him. I think he owns all of Reichland's cookbooks. He may even own more cookbooks than I do, and all of them are grilling books.
For the Brine:
½ cup hot espresso (or strong coffee)
½ cup molasses
6 T coarse salt (kosher or sea)
3 T Dijon mustard
1 T black peppercorns
For the Turkey:
1 bone-in turkey breast (about 5 lbs)
Espresso barbecue sauce (optional)
1 cup wood chips/chunks (preferably sassafras or hickory), soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained.
1) Make the brine: Combine espresso, molasses, salt, mustard, and peppercorns with 6 cups water in a large bowl and whisk until the salt dissolves. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
2) Rinse the turkey breast under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Lay the turkey breast, skin side down, on a cutting board. Cut out the breastbone and cut the breast in half. Using poultry shears or large knife, trim off & discard any ribs, flaps of skin, or excess fat. Place the breast halves in a large heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and add the brine. Seal the bag and place it in a large deep bowl in the refrigerator. Let the breast brine for 16-24 hours.
3) Set up the grill for indirect cooking and preheat to medium.
4) When ready to cook, drain the brine from the turkey and discard the brine. Place the breast halves, skin side up, in the center of the grill grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the turkey until cooked through, about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. To test for doneness, use an instant-read meat thermometer; the internal temperature should be about 170 F. With a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals to each side after an hour.
5) Transfer the breast halves to a cutting board and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Carve hot or let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until serving. Serve with the Espresso Molasses Barbecue Sauce.
Don't forget the special sauce!
Espresso Molasses Barbecue Sauce
¾ cup espresso or strong brewed coffee
¾ cup ketchup
6 T heavy (whipping) cream
½ cup honey
½ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar, or more to taste
3 T cider vinegar, or more to taste.
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce, or more (or less) to taste
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Makes about 3 ¼ cups
1) Combine the espresso, ketchup, cream, honey, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce with 3 T water in a large, heavy, nonreactive saucepan. Gradually bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2) Reduce the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer gently until thick and richly flavored, 6-10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding more brown sugar, vinegar and/or Tabasco as needed, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, add a little more water to thin and mellow the sauce. The sauce can be served hot or at room temperature and may be refrigerated, covered, for up to a week. Bring it up to room temperature and stir to recombine before serving.
This really is a very yummy recipe. We just add sides like garlic mashed potatoes, home made bread, corn bread stuffing, salad, green beans. And we gather round the grill while it's cooking and share time together.
I hope you all have a wonderful autumn with your family and friends. This is such a special time of year to share surrounded by the people you love.