Grilled Slices of Back Door Smoked Turkey with Yams

By Chef Peter McCarthy


6 c apple cider vinegar

3 c unsulfured molasses

3 c soy sauce

1-3/4 c ketchup

1/3 c Tabasco sauce

2 c light brown sugar

6 c cold water

20-22 lb WHOLE TURKEY, fresh or frozen and thawed, giblets, etc. removed

As needed salt and freshly ground black pepper

As needed vegetable oil

Apple Butter

5 Medium tart apples, peeled, cored & cut into 8 wedges

5 Medium sweet apples, peeled, cored & cut into 8 wedges

1/4 c light brown sugar

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 qt fresh apple cider

Roasted Chipotle Molasses Sauce

1 oz vegetable oil

1 Large sweet onion, peeled and large dice

1-1/2 tbsp minced garlic

8 Medium plum tomatoes, cored and rough chop

3 Medium red peppers, roasted, peeled, trimmed & diced

2 Large chipotle peppers, dried or canned


1/2 c unsulfured molasses

3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 c orange juice

2 tsp kosher salt

1/3 c chopped cilantro

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 c yams, peeled, large dice and blanched

1 c mustard greens, cleaned and dried

As needed fried sage leaves

2 tsp roasted garlic sour cream


Molasses Brine

Combine vinegar, molasses, soy sauce, ketchup, Tabasco sauce and brown sugar. Whisk to blend thoroughly.

Pour brine ingredients into a large foodservice safe bucket and stir in cold water.

Cover and place in refrigerator while boning turkey.


Remove wings by cutting between wing joints. Remove thighs and legs from bird. Separate thighs and legs. Bone the thighs.

Remove breast from the carcass by cutting along the breast bone.

Place breast halves and thighs in cool brine solution. Cover and refrigerate for 12-14 hours.

Use carcass and bones for a rich turkey stock. Use drumsticks and wings for another recipe.

Smoking Turkey

Remove turkey pieces from brine and drain. Tightly wrap breasts in cheesecloth. Pat some brining solution around each turkey bundle.

Smoke turkey pieces in a covered smoker, using water-soaked mesquite or hickory wood chips. Maintain a smoker temperature between 225-300 degrees F.

Turn turkey and continue to smoke until the internal temperature of the turkey pieces reach a minimum of 160 degrees F.

Trim and dice thighs. Hold, covered, in the refrigerator for service.

Unwrap turkey breasts, and slice into 1/3-inch slices. Season with salt and pepper; lightly coat surfaces with vegetable oil. Cover and hold for service.


Apple Butter: In a large stockpot, combine apples with sugar, cinnamon and apple cider to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer and cook until apples are very soft, about 20 minutes. Pass apples through food mill or ricer. Place apples and all liquid into a large pot and return to a low simmer. Reduce by 2/3 or until the apple butter is thick and a rich brown in color.

Roasted Chipotle-Molasses Sauce: In a sauce pot, over medium heat, heat oil, add onions and garlic. Sweat until translucent. Add tomatoes, peppers, turkey stock, molasses, Worcestershire, orange juice and salt. Simmer until vegetables soften. Pass mixture through food mill. Return to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat and add cilantro.


For each portion: in a heavy sauté pan, over high heat, heat oil until very hot. Add 1/2 cup diced yams and 1/2 cup smoked, diced turkey thigh. Brown well. Drain excess oil and add 1 cup mustard greens. Cook until greens are wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

For each portion, grill 3 slices of smoked turkey breast for 2-3 minutes per side or until the internal temperature is 170 degrees F.

Plating and Service

In the center of the dinner plate, place the diced thigh/vegetable mixture.

Top with 3 slices grilled turkey breast.

Ladle 1/4 cup Chipotle-Molasses Sauce atop the breast slices and top with 2 tablespoons apple butter and fried sage leaves .

Garnish the plate with roasted garlic sour cream.