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Barbecue by ted_major
Barbecue, a photo by ted_major on Flickr.

A few weeks ago, I fired up the smoker to cook a Boston butt, a few turkey breasts, and a slab of ribs. I usually use the Chez Panisse brine recipe to smoke turkey, but I did a search to see about brining a Boston butt. I found that butts are commonly brined, and even found brine recipe from Alton Brown. I decided to do one brine for everything, and gave Alton’s recipe a shot. It was great for the Boston butt, but the turkey was a bit too salty, and the ribs were WAY too salty. Live & learn.


  • 4 gallons water
  • 48 oz. salt
  • 1 pint molasses

I put all the meat and the brine into a cooler with some reusable ice packs, which kept it at aroung 40F overnight.

The next day, I rubbed the butt with a rub made of roughly equal parts dried parsley, black pepper, garlic, and paprika, and put it and the turkey breasts on to smoke early in the morning. I don’t usually use a rub for turkey. After about 8 hours, I took the turkey off. Then I rubbed the ribs with a mix of paprika, cumin, ancho chile powder, allspice, garlic, and enough olive oil to make a paste and put them on for a couple of hours.

I smoked the butt until it reached an internal temp of 190F, which took about 16 hours.

I seved the pork with some slaw and some Cholula chipotle hot sauce for a barbecue sauce. (N.B., I like a hot, vinegary sauce, and can’t stand thick, sweet, tomatoey sauce; YMMV.)

  • 1 onions chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/3 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup crushed tomato
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in oil over medium heat until onions are soft. Add turkey and cook until lightly browned. Add spices (except the bay leaf) and continue to cook for another minute or two, still stirring. Add bay leaf, water, crushed tomato, vinegar, and molasses.

Simmer, uncovered, for one hour, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary, keeping the meat barely covered; chili should be thickened but still soupy enough to be ladled. Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

Serve over spaghetti with grated cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, and kidney beans.