Mesquite-Smoked Grilled Turkey Pairs with a Brazilian Sparkler

Mesquite-Smoked Grilled Turkey Pairs with a Brazilian Sparkler

Looking for inspiration this Thanksgiving? Wine Enthusiast turned to celebrity chefs for this feast, featuring a Southwestern-style brined, smoked turkey from Rick Bayless served with a side of pickled cabbage by Marcus Samuelsson and smashed potatoes with Meyer lemon-accented greens. Recipes courtesy of The Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook (Book Kitchen; 2011).

1 fresh whole turkey (12–14 pounds)
2 gallons plus 1 cup water, divided
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup salt
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bunch fresh marjoram sprigs or 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
10–12 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil

Brine the turkey
Remove metal clamps on turkey legs. Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity and reserve for another use. Rinse the bird well and pat dry with paper towels. Place 2 large food-safe plastic bags, one inside the other, in a large, deep dishpan or plastic bucket. Add 1 gallon of water, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir to dissolve sugar and add another gallon of water. Place the turkey, breast side down, in the dishpan, making sure it is completely immersed in the brine. Squeeze the air out of the bags and close them securely. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to overnight.

Prepare the turkey for the grill
Remove turkey and discard the brine. Pat thoroughly dry with paper towels and rub the turkey cavity with crushed garlic. Stuff the herbs and bay leaves in the cavity, then tie the legs together with cotton string. Pull the skin over the neck opening and secure with a small skewer. Set the turkey on a roasting rack set inside a heavy-gauge aluminum pan. Brush the turkey lightly with the olive oil.

Grill the turkey
Soak 2 cups of mesquite chips in water for 30 minutes. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high, or light a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn just until the coals are covered with gray ash and very hot. Reduce heat in gas grill to medium-low, or bank the coals to the sides of the charcoal grill before adding wood chips (for a gas grill, place the chips in a smoker box or wrap them in foil and poke holes in the foil). For a charcoal grill, set the grill grate in place and set the turkey in the pan on the grill grate away from the fire. Pour the remaining 1 cup water into the pan, and cover the grill. To maintain an even temperature with a charcoal grill, add more coals regularly (usually a few pieces every 30 minutes or so). Continually add wood chips to maintain smokiness.

Check the turkey periodically. If desired, cover with foil to prevent the skin from getting too brown. Estimate 12–14 minutes per pound, or 2½ to 3 hours for a 12- to 14-pound turkey. The turkey is done if, when a thigh joint is pierced, the juices run clear, or when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 160˚F. When ready, remove turkey from grill, cover loosely with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. (The temperature will rise 5–10 degrees while the turkey is resting.)

Carve the turkey and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve with the warm Red Chili Adobo Sauce and the Jicama-Cranberry Relish. Serves 8.

Wine Recommendation:

Pair this dish with the NV Casa Valduga Gran Reserva Brut 130 from Brazil. Its elegant, spicy character and lively acidity will complement and balance the spice and intricacy of the meal.

Try these great recipes from an array of chefs!

Recipes courtesy of The Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook, (Book Kitchen; October, 2011)

Red Chili Adobo Sauce

By Rick Bayless, of Frontera Grill in Chicago

⅓ cup vegetable oil
12 medium (about 6 ounces) dried ancho chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into flat pieces
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon freshly ground cumin
¼ teaspoon freshly ground cloves
½ cup cider vinegar
4 cups hot water
4 cups chicken or turkey broth (if desired, use the turkey neck and giblets from the grilled turkey for making the broth)
Salt, to taste
2–3 tablespoons sugar

To make adobo purée: In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the chilies, 1 or 2 pieces at a time, and oil-toast them for a few seconds on each side. When all of the chili pieces are toasted, place them aside and reserve oil from the skillet. Add the hot water to the chilies, place a small plate on top to keep the chilies submerged and let rehydrate for about 20 minutes. Combine garlic, oregano, pepper, cumin, cloves and vinegar into a blender or food processor. Pour in the rehydrated chilies and oil. Process the mixture to a smooth purée. Press through a medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl.

To finish the sauce: Set the chili-frying skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the adobo purée and cook, stirring, until the purée is reduced to the thickness of tomato paste, about 10 minutes. Stir in the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or so. The finished sauce should have a light texture. (Note: A good test is to pour a little on a plate and watch it spread. If it flows evenly, it’s just right. If it doesn’t flow much and water begins separating around the edges, it’s too thick.) Season with salt and sugar to taste. Serve warm. Makes about 5 cups.

Pickled Cabbage

By Marcus Samuelsson, of Red Rooster in Harlem, New York

2 grapefruits
1 cup white wine vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons harissa (North African hot sauce)
1 head (about 16 cups) napa cabbage, cored and shredded
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped
4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of each grapefruit to reveal the flesh. Place 1 grapefruit upright on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, follow the contour of the fruit, cut downward to remove the peel and pith. Holding the peeled grapefruit over a bowl, cut along both sides of each segment to free it from the membrane, catching the segments and any juice in the bowl. Repeat with the remaining grapefruit. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, water and sugar, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

Add the onion, garlic, peanuts, peanut oil and harissa to the cooled vinegar mixture and mix well. Put the cabbage in a deep baking dish or a large bowl and pour the cooled peanut-onion mixture over the top. Toss to combine.

Cover and let stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Drain the cabbage mixture in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Add the grapefruit segments and juice, basil, cilantro and ginger, and toss gently to mix well. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

By Cat Cora, of Kouzzina in Orlando, Florida

3 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large baking potatoes, about 4 pounds total
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
⅔ cup whole milk
⅔ cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fill a large pot ¾ full with water and bring to a boil over high heat with 2 teaspoons of salt. While the water is heating, peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook until fork tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, in a skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter over low heat; reserve the remaining 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and cook until it starts to color, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

When the potatoes are ready, drain them in a colander and return them to the pot off the heat; the residual heat from the cooking pot will help to evaporate the excess water, which will make your potatoes light and fluffy. Pass the potatoes through a ricer held over a bowl, or mash them in the bowl with a potato masher. Gradually add the milk and cream, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Stir in the butter and garlic mixture and season with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Transfer the potatoes to a warmed serving bowl or platter. Cut the reserved 2 tablespoons butter into bits and dot them over the surface of the potatoes. Serve right away. Serves 6 to 8.

Sautéed Greens with Meyer Lemon and Garlic

Courtesy of Cat Cora, of Kouzzina in Orlando, Florida

4 pounds Swiss chard or kale, tough stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to season as desired
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6–8 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice (from 3 to 4 lemons)
Freshly cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the greens and salt. Bring the water back to a gentle boil, cover the pot partially, and cook until the greens are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Place a large colander in the sink. Drain the greens in the colander and let them sit to drain and cool for about 10 minutes. Once the greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze all the excess moisture from them with your hands. (Up to this point, the recipe can be completed up to several hours in advance. Set the greens aside at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or refrigerate if longer.)

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the greens and sauté until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add half of the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss well.

Taste again and adjust the seasoning with more lemon juice, salt and pepper if needed. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl or platter and serve right away. Serves 6 to 8.

Published on September 6, 2011
Topics: Food Recipes, Hosting Tips
About the Author
Alexis Korman

Currently based in New Orleans, Korman has been authoring trends-driven travel, wine, cocktail and food content for over a decade, including work for publications like New York Magazine,, The Travel Channel, Premier Traveler, Time Out New York, Chicago Tribune and amNY.

The latest wine reviews, trends and recipes plus special offers on wine storage and accessories