Thanksgiving Turkey and Sausage Stuffing
For the turkey:
- 1 (15 lb) turkey
- Sweetwater Spice Classic Holiday Turkey Bath
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- Cattleman’s Grill Ranchero Seasoning
For the turkey stock:
- 1 turkey neck
- 1 turkey back bone
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 bunch parsley stems
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns
For the Sausage Stuffing:
- 2 lb french bread, cubed
- 1 lb country pork sausage
- 1 cup leeks, halved, sliced 1/4” thick
- 1/2 cup carrots, peeled, diced
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp fresh sage, minced
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 quart turkey stock
- 2 eggs, beaten
Spatchcock the turkey. To take the backbone out, place the bird breast side down. Cut along both sides of the backbone with kitchen shears, from one opening of the cavity to the other.
Place the spatchcocked turkey in a large Briner Bucket. Pour the Sweetwater Spice Classic Holiday Turkey Bath over the bird along with two cups water. Dissolve the kosher salt into one quart of cold water. Pour the mixture over the turkey. Add up to one gallon of water to the buck to cover the turkey. Lock the brining plate in place to keep the bird submerged. Refrigerate the turkey in the brine, one pound per hour.
While the turkey is brining, prepare the stock. Cut the backbone into 3 pieces. Preheat a stock pot over high heat. Put a couple of tablespoons of oil in the stock pot. Sear the neck and back bone pieces in the hot oil, turning until browned on all sides. Remove from the pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook until all of the browned fond on the bottom of the pot is released from the pot. Add the neck and back bone back to the pot, along with the remaining ingredients. Cover with one gallon of cold water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until reduced by half. Strain the stock through a cheesecloth lined strainer. Discard the solids. Refrigerate the liquid.
Remove the turkey from the brine. Pat the bird dry with paper towels. Pull the skin away from the meat, but leave it attached. Using the Cattleman’s Grill Ranchero Seasoning, season the meat under the skin for maximum flavor absorption.
Preheat your Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet grill to 350ºF. Lay the bird flat on a foil lined sheet pan and place the pan in the cooker. Cook the turkey until the breast meat has reached an internal temperature of 155ºF. It is likely that the legs will cook a bit faster than the breasts. That is fine. However, do NOT cook the breasts past 165ºF. We recommend using an instant read thermometer like the Maverick PT-75.
To make the stuffing, set your grill to 250ºF. Place the cubed bread on a sheet pan. Cook until dried out, about 1 hour. Set aside.
Brown the sausage in a Lodge 12” cast iron skillet. Remove the sausage from the skillet when cooked through, but leave behind the rendered fat. Add the leeks and carrots and cook until the carrots are tender. Add the garlic, thyme, sage, rosemary and chili flakes and cook another minute, stirring. Add the wine to deglaze. Cook until the wine is almost completely reduced down.
In a mixing bowl, combine the dried bread and sausage mixture. Mix well. Slowly add the turkey stock until the stuffing is completely moistened, but the bread cubes still hold their form. Add the eggs and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a Lodge 12” cast iron skillet. Bake at 375ºF until a light crust is formed on top, about 1 hour.