Smoke a Thanksgiving Fatty and
Thanksgiving isn’t something that we do here in Australia: it’s an American and Canadian tradition. My American family members tell me that it’s even more important than Christmas. So for those of us NOT from that continent, what happens on Thanksgiving?
I’ve been to a few ex-pat Thanksgiving celebrations here in Australia and my wife and I have nicknamed it ‘Foodapalooza’ – it is days of prep and cooking followed by a gigantic meal for all and sundry, and you, and all your guests, live off the leftovers for the rest of the week.
However, not everyone has the time to prep an amazing banquet like this, nor the money: last year, my whole turkey cost me just over $70AUD. And so I came up with this recipe: a Thanksgiving Turkey Fatty. It has all the flavours of Thanksgiving, takes a fraction of the prep time and the whole meal can feed four for under $25. Now that’s something to be thankful for!
Despite the fact that this has one of my all-time favourite ingredients, bacon, you’ll have to leave this to later. The stuffing needs to be prepared first. With a medium heat setting, melt some butter in a pan on your side burner and then cook some thinly sliced onion and celery, with some minced garlic, until they start to soften.
Stir in some thyme, salt, pepper, sage, chicken broth and water. Take the pan off the heat. Pour the mixture from the pan into a large bowl. Add some bread crumbs and combine well. This will now take the texture of traditional stuffing.
Now it’s time to play with your bacon. If you don’t know how to make a bacon weave, follow the instructions in this video here. It’s not one of mine, but it’s good! In Australia, our streaky bacon is about half the length of the bacon in the video. To get around this, I overlapped the horizontal pieces, alternating which piece was on top. Don’t forget to use a piece of baking paper – you’ll see why later.
In another large bowl, combine a half kilo of turkey mince with some garlic, onion and fennel powder and salt and pepper. Ensure the spices get evenly mixed through the mince. Now it gets fun!
Take another sheet of baking paper and put your mince mix on it. Put a second piece over the top and then roll it out flat with a rolling pin.
Now repeat this procedure with the stuffing. Make sure that the mince and the stuffing layers are the same thickness. You’ll probably have some stuffing left over. Pop it the fridge. Now things get a little tricky.
You need to peel the top layer off both your stuffing, and your mince. Tip the stuffing over onto the mince.
Once this is done, use two hands and roll reasonably tightly toward the middle. Pay close attention as when you start to feel the paper catch under the roll, you’ll need to pull it out. Continue to do this until you have completely rolled up your mince and stuffing. Tuck in and tidy up the ends to create a tightly packed fatty.
Now pick up this mince log and put it on one end of the bacon weave and carefully roll it up, just like you did before. Fasten the bacon with some tooth picks just to make sure. Put your fatty in the fridge to chill while you prepare the veggies.
Simply cut up whatever veggies you like to roast. I’ve used brown onions, pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots. Using small chunks, put them in a BBQ tray and toss them with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary. Now it’s time to set up your BBQ.
We’re going to use an indirect heat setup and a smoking box. I prefer hickory chips but there are many different types you can try. The smoke will give the food a more authentic BBQ flavour which will really taste amazing with the bacon.
Turn the outside burners to maximum and wait until you start to smell smoke. Then put in your vegetables. Give them a 45 minute head start and then it’s time to smoke your fatty. If you have it, put your fatty on a rack in another tray and put a cup of water in the tray. We’re going to catch the drippings to make gravy and the water will make sure that the drippings don’t burn. Check the chips and add more if you need to. Once the fatty has been smoked for two hours, it will be all done.
Remember that pan of water? It’s ready to be turned into delicious white gravy. Pour the contents into a frypan and put it over a high heat. Once it starts to boil, gently tip in some white flour. Do this slowly and stir it in well with a whisk. Once it reaches the consistency that you like, take it off the heat.
Slice up your Thanksgiving fatty and plate it up with some stuffing, vegetables and gravy. Eat it up, let the tryptophan do its work and enjoy the relaxing drowsiness. Then pat yourself on the back for all the time and money you’ve saved and make a note to do this again BEFORE Thanksgiving next year!