turkey tips2004

Allred's Restaurant
Gondola Station, St. Sophia
c/o 565 Mountain
Village Blvd.
Telluride, Colorado 81435

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Smoked Turkey with Braised Legs and Hard Cider Reduction
Chef Ross Martin of Allred’s Restaurant at Telluride Ski Resort – Telluride, CO
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 4-6 Servings


  • 1 (10-13 pound) turkey, broken down*
  • 4 cups applewood chips
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • About 4 Tablespoons grape seed oil or duck fat
  • ¼ cup carrots, small dice
  • ¼ cup celery, small dice
  • ¼ cup onion, small dice
  • 4 cups roasted turkey stock (recipe follows)
  • 3 cups pepitas
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup hard cider
  • 1 cup cider beer
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 ounces fresh thyme
  • Dried cranberries, for garnish

    * This is something your butcher can do for you. The carcass, the leg and thigh should stay connected to each other, and the skin should remain intact on each breast.

  • Smoked turkey stock:
  • 1 smoked turkey carcass, plus giblets and wings
  • 2 Tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1 bottle cider beer
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 white onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek (white and light green part only), halved lengthwise, washed, and roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
    Special equipment:
  • Smoker or gas grill
  • Smoking basket or disposable aluminum pie tin**

    ** If you don’t have a smoking basket, a pie tin works great. Use a fork to poke as many holes as possible through the pie tin to allow smoke to flow through.

To smoke turkey:

Tie turkey breasts with butcher’s twine, making sure meat is as even as possible and keeping the skin stretched over the meat. This will allow for even cooking. Set aside breasts, legs, thighs, carcass and giblets.

Soak applewood chips in water. Place soaked chips in perforated pie tin. Place pie tin in fully fired grill, directly on heat source and heat until smoke starts to bellow. Once smoke is going heavy, turn off heat and place all turkey parts on the grill. Close grill and let smoke for 1 ½ hours. If smoke dies out, refire heat source, replace chips and repeat.

Remove smoked turkey parts. Use giblets and carcass for stock. Set legs and thighs aside to braise, and refrigerate breast until time to sear and roast. The turkey parts can be smoked 3 days in advance.

For stock:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Take cold smoked turkey carcass and giblets, toss with grape seed oil and place in roasting pan. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until carcass and giblets take on golden brown color. Place carcass and giblets in a stock pot. Discard fat from roasting pan. Deglaze pan with cider beer, loosening the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Add deglazed liquid to stock pot. Add bay leaf, thyme, and pepper.

Toss carrots, onions, celery and leek with olive oil and spread on sheet tray. Roast in 400-degree oven for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables take on light caramel color. Toss vegetables with tomato paste, return to oven, and roast 5 minutes longer. Remove vegetables from oven and place in stock pot with turkey carcass. Add enough water to the pot so it covers 1-2 inches above the bones. Bring stock to boil. Once the stock reaches a boil, turn down and simmer softly about 6-8 hours, skimming fat every 15 minutes. You may have to add a little water periodically, depending on how hard the simmer is. Once the stock has cooked for 6-8 hours, strain through chinois or a fine mesh sieve. Reserve for braising turkey legs, moistening stuffing and preparing gravy.

For turkey legs:
Preheat oven to 350F°. Heat ovenproof sauté pan to medium-high heat. Season legs with salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of the pan with grape seed oil or duck fat, about 2 Tablespoons. Sear both sides of legs until golden brown. Once legs are well seared, remove and set aside. In the same pan, sauté carrots, celery and onion until golden brown.

Return legs back to pan with the vegetables and pour enough stock into pan to come ¾ of the way up the turkey legs. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cover. Transfer pan to oven and braise for 1- 1½ hours, basting every 20 minutes. Rotate chicken half-way through cooking time. Turkey legs are done when internal temperature is 175°F and meat is almost falling off bone.

Remove legs and strain off braising liquid, making sure to reserve the liquid to make the sauce. Allow turkey legs to rest, keeping warm.

For breast:
Toast pepitas in a dry pan, tossing every few seconds in order not to burn. Toast until seeds become golden brown and puffed up a little. Remove from pan and let cool completely. Reserve some pepitas to garnish the turkey. Place the rest in a food processor with the flour and grind until smooth - the mixture should resemble bread crumbs.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Tie both breasts with butcher’s twine if not already done. Season with salt and pepper on all sides. Spread pumpkin seed crust out on sheet tray and roll breast in mixture coating all sides of breast completely. Set aside.

Heat large sauté pan to medium-high heat. Coat bottom of pan with grape seed oil or duck fat, , about 2 Tablespoons, and sauté all sides of breast until golden brown. Remove breast from pan, place on roasting rack and roast in oven until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove and rest 8-10 minutes, and slice.

For gravy:
While legs are braising, combine hard cider, cider beer, and cider vinegar in a small sauce pan and reduce by two thirds. Once turkey legs are done braising, add strained braising liquid to reduced ciders and bring to a boil. Reduce mixture by half, skimming fat every few minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of fresh picked thyme leaves.

To serve:
Arrange braised legs on both ends of platter. Place sliced turkey breast in the middle of the platter and then flash-heat platter in a hot oven to ensure the meat is served warm. Spoon gravy over all turkey, reserving some for gravy boat to pass at the table. Garnish with toasted pepitas, dried cranberries and thyme.

Wine Pairing:
A big Pinot Gris such as the Chalk Hill 2000 Estate Vineyard Selection Pinot Gris from California

..Published: November 2004