Smoked Turkey Vegetable Soup with Orzo Pasta
After enjoying a feast of smoked spatchcock turkey with all the trimmings, grazing on leftovers, relishing the delicious smoked turkey tetrazzini casserole, vacuum sealing/freezing a smoked turkey breast for future use, there is but one other meal of leftover turkey to relish - The traditional turkey noodle soup! But this time I chose to put a different twist on the soup ... Sometimes known as my 'kitchen sink' soup, this is my 'Smoked Turkey Vegetable Soup with Orzo Pasta'.
When I spatchcocked a 14 lb turkey which I smoked, I set aside the backbone and neck to boil with the carcass for the soup stock. Added everything I could find in the refrigerator and pantry to the stock for the soup - celery, onion, carrots, mushrooms, green beans, peas, diced red potatoes, 14 oz can of diced stewed tomatoes, diced smoked turkey dark meat, garlic, black pepper, and chicken bouillon. Brought everything to a boil before turning the soup down to a medium simmer until all the vegetables are Al Dante. In the last 10 minutes, I added a half cup of orzo pasta. The best thing about orzo pasta is that it doesn't add a starchy taste to the soup.
Smoked Turkey Tetrazzini with Fresh Broccoli
If you do an internet search on "Smoked Turkey Tetrazzini" you'll get about 181,000 results. All of them put their own little spin on the recipe but basically, it's an American dish made with diced smoked turkey and mushroom in a butter/cream and cheese sauce. It's served hot using various types of pasta (e.g. spaghetti, linguine, egg noodles, or my personal favorite - angel hair pasta) prepared as a baked casserole. The dish is named after the Italian opera star Luisa Tetrazzini.
Good Housekeeping published the first reference to turkey tetrazzini in October 1908. The recipe that I have used for years comes from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook published in 1973. It was a present to SWMBO from her Mother after our wedding in 1972. The original recipe that I adapted to leftover turkey from that cookbook is actually a "Chicken Tetrazzini" recipe. The cookbook still serves as a great source for delicious recipes.
If you want to try your hand using my scrumptious smoked turkey tetrazzini then you can find the original Chicken Tetrazzini recipe which I adapted at https://www.smokinpetebbq.com/wordpress/smoked-chicken-tetrazzini/. Modify this recipe to meet your preferences or pick one of the thousands of recipes online. Either way, it's a great way to use up turkey leftovers or maybe a rotisserie chicken from Costco or your local grocery store.
I served my Smoked Turkey Terazzini with a side of freshly steamed Broccoli from my garden. This is my first year at a winter garden and being able to harvest fresh broccoli from the garden to steam Al Dante for dinner is priceless. It's also delicious - observe those succulent florets and that deep green color!!
Smoked Spatchcock 14 lb Turkey
Ever since I stopped stuffing my turkeys and/or all poultry products (e.g. turkeys, chickens, Cornish hens) I've chosen to spatchcock them before smoking and cooking them low-and-slow. The stuffing issue comes down to safety concerns which have to do with salmonella and other bacteria. Salmonella can come from eggs in stuffing or from the interior surface of the turkey's cavity. If the bird is removed from the wood pellet grill before the stuffing reaches 165°F, some bacteria could remain alive and make diners sick. Actually, if you cook the stuffing outside the turkey it's no longer "stuffing" - it's "dressing". These days, I like to simplify my sides by using 'Stove Top Stuffing' - Easy Peasy!
A spatchcocked turkey is fantastic for even and fast cooking. By removing the backbone, the turkey is smoked flat, increasing the surface area of exposed meat this speeding up the smoking/cooking time. It makes it much easier to cook the white and dark meat evenly - meaning the breast will stay juicy.
Rubbed roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil under/on the skin before seasoning under/on the skin with Jan's Original Dry Rub (page 168 of my cookbook, The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook). Wrap the spatchcocked turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
A spatchcock turkey can't physically fit on my Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled Davy Crockett so I used my MAK 2 Star wood pellet smoker grill. Preheat your wood pellet smoker grill to 180°F using CookinPellets.com Premium Perfect Mix wood pellets. Smoke the turkey for 2½ hours before increasing the grill temp to 325°F. Finish cooking the spatchcock turkey until the internal temperature reaches 170°F at the thickest part of the breast. Rest the turkey loosely under a foil tent for 20 minutes before carving ... for planning purposes only - It took about 5 hours to smoke/cook the turkey (30 min preheat / 2½ hours smoke / 2 hours @ 325°F / 20 min rest) ...
Served some smoked turkey dark meat with all the trimmings - Gravy, mashed taters, stove top stuffing, corn, and of course peas with pearl onions.
Smoked Meatloaf Pizza Style
Two of the best comfort foods on my list are Meatloaf and Pizza so what better way to enjoy a Veteran's Day dinner than combining the two into a Smoked Meatloaf Pizza Style. No, I wasn't able to actually combine a pizza crust and all the cheese, sauce, & toppings with a pound of Costco 88% lean beef hamburger with a pound of Jimmy Dean pork sausage so I did the second best. I chose to substitute my normal meatloaf tomato sauce ingredient with Extra Flavorful Ragú Homemade Style Pizza Sauce. That one change made all the difference in the recipe and gave the meatloaf that added pizza pizazz I was seeking to achieve. Give it a try ... I think you'll enjoy the results!
Ingredients: 1 lb 88/12% Costco Hamburger, 1 lb Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage, medium diced red onion, 2 eggs, 1 to 1½ cup Italian breadcrumbs, 1 tsp granulated garlic, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp black pepper, and 1½ cups Extra Flavorful Ragú Homemade Style Pizza Sauce.
Instructions: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, separate mixture evenly into 2 meatloaves. Reserve ½ cup of the pizza sauce for later use to top the smoked meatloaves. Preheat your wood pellet smoker grill or a Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled Davy Crockett to 180ºF using CookinPellets.com Premium Perfect Mix hard wood pellets. Smoke the meatloaves at 180ºF for an hour before bumping the Davy Crockett pit temperature to 350ºF to finish the cook until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF. During the last 5 minutes of the cook, top the meatloaves with the pizza sauce. Rest the meatloaves loosely under a foil tent for 10 minutes before serving.
Served a couple delectable slices of the Smoked Meatloaf Pizza Style with a side of Potatoes Au Gratin and green beans. Turned out wonderful and will be on list of items to smoke again ...
Hickory Smoked Pork Tenderloins
Amazing how time flies when you're having fun! I couldn't believe that the last time I smoked a couple of Pork Tenderloins was at the end of May. I've cooked/smoked so many other items and spent weeks on the road in our RV that it was time to enjoy a couple more Pork Tenderloins again. When the COVID-19 first showed it's ugly head I visited Costco to stock up on as much varieties of meat as my freezer could accommodate. I even bought another stand up freezer and stocked it also. Got really lucky when I called Lowe's and found out they had 2 freezers left in stock. Try and find a freezer today. You'll soon learn that you're probably going to be out of luck for quite a while. Then my governor locked down the state, large shortages of everything starting occurring and I was very glad I stocked my freezers. Hopefully, the shortages won't occur again.
Trim excess fat and silver skin from the Pork Tenderloins. Rub all sides of the Tenderloins with roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil and season them liberally using my Pork Dry Rub (page 169 of my cookbook, The Wood Pellet Smoker and Grill Cookbook). Wrap the Pork Tenderloins in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat your wood pellet smoker grill or a Green Mountain Grills WiFi Controlled Davy Crockett to 225ºF using CookinPellets.com Hickory hard wood pellets. Use a teflon grill mat to prevent the Pork Tenderloins from sticking to the grill grates. Smoke the Pork Tenderloins for 2 hours at 225ºF until the internal temperature of the Pork Tenderloins, at the thickest part, reach 145ºF. Rest the Smoked Pork Tenderloins loosely under a foil tent for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving.