Oolong Tea-Smoked Whole Turkey with a Citrus-Tamarind Glaze
1 gallon hot water
2 quarts vegetable broth
1 cup kosher salt
2¼ cups brown sugar, divided
1½ cups oolong tea leaves, divided
1 7-lb. bag ice
1 bunch green onions, roughly chopped
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 lemons, halved
2 oranges, halved
5 garlic cloves, smashed
9 whole star anise, divided
2 cinnamon sticks
4 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger, divided
3 Tbsp. crushed Szechwan peppercorns, divided
1 14- to 15-lb. turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 cup uncooked rice
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp. tamarind paste
1 Tbsp. hot Chinese mustard
Special equipment: a clean 13½-gallon cooler (or larger)
• Day 1: Combine the vegetable stock, hot water, salt, 1 ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup oolong tea leaves in a clean 13½-gallon cooler and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Stir in the ice, the green onions, 1 cup soy sauce, the lemons, oranges, garlic, 4 whole star anise, cinnamon sticks, 3 tablespoons ginger and 2 tablespoons peppercorns. Place the turkey breast-side up in the brine, close the cooler and brine 12 to 24 hours.
• Day 2: Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Refrigerate, uncovered, 8 to 12 hours before cooking.
• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, indirect heat or preheat a gas grill to 400 degrees for indirect heat. Rub the turkey all over with vegetable oil.
• Place 2 large sheets of heavy-duty foil on top of each other and place the tea leaves, the remaining 5 star anise, rice, the remaining 1 tablespoon peppercorns and ¼ cup brown sugar in the center. Fold up the edges to make a small bowl to hold the smoking mixture. Place the foil bowl directly on the charcoal or, if using a gas grill, on the metal bar over the gas flame.
• Place the turkey over indirect heat, cover and smoke 1 hour.
• Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by whisking together the chicken broth, orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, lemon zest, the remaining ½ cup brown sugar, butter, tamarind paste, the remaining 1 tablespoon ginger, mustard and the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
• After 1 hour, baste the turkey with the glaze. Cover and continue to smoke, basting everything 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 160 degrees. If the turkey is getting too dark, tent it loosely with heavy-duty foil.
• Cover the turkey with foil and let rest 1 hour before carving.