Pastrami Turkey Breast to Cure What Ails You

You don't have to wait a whole year to make this turkey breast for Thanksgiving. Pastrami turkey is great for sandwiches, kicking up your minestrone or seriously, snacking on when you're wrapped up in your blanket watching Netflix. The brine was adapted from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie

Things you'll need:
5-pound turkey breast

1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander seed
1 dried chili pepper
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 whole cloves
2 tsp fresh ginger
1 cup of honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 garlic cloves
For the butter:
1 stick of softened butter
1 bunch of chives
2 cloves of garlic

For the rub:
1 tbl black peppercorn
1 tbl coriander seed

For smoking:
2 handfuls of maple wood chips (or pecan)
1 chimney of coals
1 fennel bulb

Make sure you have a container and lid large enough to fit and submerge the turkey breast. Unwrap the turkey and remove any organs from inside the neck or breast cavity. Pat it dry with paper towels and let it come to room temperature. Wash your hands.

Soak the wood chips in water and set aside.

Heat a quart of water in a pot and whisk in the salt, honey and brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and make sure to stir the salt and sugar until they dissolve. Turn the heat off and add the rest of the brine ingredients. Let the spices steep for 10 minutes as it cools. 

Add the brine and the turkey to your container. Add enough ice to cover the turkey. Cover and store in the fridge for up to two days. Check that the meat is submerged, add cold water if the ice wasn't enough.

While you wait make the butter. Leave a stick of butter on the counter for a couple of hours to soften or if it's rock hard, use a grater to quicken the process. Chop chives finely with the garlic and fold into the butter. If you want a less chunky and bright green butter to go under the turkey skin, pass the butter through a couple pulses of the food processor (but not necessary).

If you have a dedicated spice grinder, pulse the peppercorn and coriander until you don't see whole seeds anymore. I like it coarse but if you prefer you can make it fine. If there be no spice grinder in your kitchen, simply crush the seeds with the handle of a wooden spoon, bash a ziplock bag or even empty your pepper grinder and pass the seeds through--though I understand that might take a while to grind out. 

Once the turkey is brined, drain the container and dry the meat with paper towels. Take the butter out of the fridge to soften. 

On a cutting board, carefully lift up the turkey's skin and run your hands as best as you can underneath it. Like, get in there but don't rip it. Spread 2 to 4 tablespoons of chive butter under the skin. If you can't get it to distribute evenly, at least prioritize the top because the butter will melt and cascade down. Sprinkle the rub all over the turkey breast and place on a pan that will fit in your grill or smoker. Stuff the fennel bulb into the empty cavity.

Prepare a chimney of charcoal until they turn gray. Turn them out on one side of the grill and place the turkey on the cold side of the grill. Throw a small handful of wet wood chips on the coals and cover the grill with the lid. Make sure the vents are open. Smoke for 1 hour and turn the breast 180 degrees before you throw more wood chips onto the coals. Continue for another hour and baste with the remaining chive butter. Do not brush it on, but drizzle so you don't wipe off the pepper crust.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Once the turkey is done smoking, roast it for an hour until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F. Let it cool out of the oven for 15 minutes.

Slice it up and store in the fridge all week for sandwiches. 

Don't know what to do with the turkey carcass? I've got some ideas on my guest post for Dear Kate..

Going to try this recipe? Let me know by tagging @Randwiches on Instagram or Twitter. I want to know how to improve it.