Terra Turkey Recipe

As my husband likes to say, “this could change the way you do Thanksgiving!”

1) Get a good quality turkey. Local, free range, organic– it may cost you your first-born; but it’s only once a year, right? Mix up the brine in something large. We use our stock pot. Wash your bird & put ‘er in.

This is the drawing my husband, Scott, did in our recipe book to remember how to do this operation.

Andy Sanchez’s marinade (brine): 2 cups apple juice, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup salt, 3 tbsp minced garlic, 2 tsp peppercorns, 5 bay leaves

Mix with hot water & submerge turkey. Add more water if necessary to cover. Put in a cold place for 8 hours.

Sometimes we put him outside overnight, covered & weighted to keep animals out. The basement or garage may work for you.

2) Wrap your turkey in 6 layers of aluminum foil, or 3-4 layers of heavy duty foil. Then wrap the bird in about a yard of wet burlap. He’s ready to go in…

3) Now the really fun part! You may start with the fire, or the hole. The first year, it took us a long time to dig because our ground is really hard & dry. In any case, you now need a hole about 2-3 feet in diameter, & about 3-4 feet deep. You will need to have it deep enough to be able to cover the whole mess with 2 feet of earth when you’re done.

Everyone Dig!

Teenagers can’t stay out of a big hole.

4) You also need a good fire, and some large rocks. We use rocks we have for landscaping. They’re about 7-9 inches across. We use about 25-30 of these. Once your fire is going, you can put the rocks in the fire to get good & hot.

5) Now, you need some tin. You will need to have a piece large enough to cover the bird on top & another piece to cover the bottom. When your rocks are hot, place about half of them in the bottom of your hole. One year, Scott added some wood & actually started a fire in the hole, too, because the big fire was going out & nothing seemed hot enough; but usually it’s just the rocks in the hole. Now place the first piece of tin over the rocks.

6) Bird in the hole! Place him on the tin, then cover him up with the other piece of tin. Now you can put all the rest of the rocks on top of the tin. Scott usually shovels a bunch of hot embers over the whole thing at this point, just to be sure there’s enough heat.

7) Now cover the whole pile with the dirt that you just dug out. It should be piled up about 2 feet or a little more over the turkey, tin, & rocks. Now, I know it doesn’t feel quite right; but you have to leave it alone for a while. 8 hours seems about right for ours.

8) Dig again! The turkey will probably look pale. The first time we did it, we could not believe it was done, but it totally was! Unwrap & enjoy.

Best turkey EVER!

I’d love to hear about your adventure if you try this at home!


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