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Bacon Wrapped, Hot Link Stuffed Turkey Thigh

It can't be a big secret that I love anything BBQ'd. I love smoky flavors, I love playing with fire, I love tender meats and anything dripping with sauce.

Many years ago, I used to eat at a Seattle restaurant known as "Dixie's BBQ". It was an interesting place and the food was AMAZING. It is here that I discovered the "hot link". I would order a pound of BBQ'd beef brisket, with a hot link and a side of "The Man" (a north west sauce famous for its originator, as much as it will burn your face off).

A "Hot Link" is really just a fancy term for "Andouille" sausage, which is a spicy pork sausage brought to the US south, by French immigrants. It's usually smoked and generally has a bit of a kick. It's quite common in Cajun circles.

In the case of THIS recipe, I was aiming to take a relatively inexpensive cut of meat (a turkey thigh) and transform it into the kind of dish that could potentially bring world peace. It's really got all the parts! Pork, in two different ways, hot spices, turkey thighs, BBQ sauce and smoky goodness!

Note: When shopping for the sausage, you want raw "Louisiana Hot Link" or "Andouille" sausage, in bulk, if you can find it. If you can't buy it by the pound, you can also buy raw sausage links, where you can snip the end off of them, then squeeze the meat out of the casing, like a big tube of toothpaste.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 579.42625kcal
Author: DJ Foodie

Ingredients

  • 2 approx. 1-lb each turkey thighs
  • 16 slices raw bacon
  • 2 lbs raw "hot link" or andouille sausage
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Prepare your smoker. Pre-heat to between 250 F and 275 F (this can be done in an oven without smoke, and still tastes great, but ... loses that smoky quality). Depending on your approach to the smoking process, you can also soak some hickory, or other aromatic wood chips in some water at this point. Finally, put a drip pan filled with water on the rack beneath where the turkey will go. Even if this is done on a pan in an oven, include a pan of water somewhere inside the oven.
  • Place a boneless turkey thigh in between two sheets of plastic wrap.
  • With the bottom of a pan, the back of your knife, or a meat mallet, whack your turkey thigh until it's about 1/2-inch thick and spread out evenly. Different thighs will spread in different ways, which will result in different shapes and cooking times. Some will be shaped a nice square, while others will be circular, or the US states California or Texas. In a perfect world, we want a shape like Kansas (a fairly clean rectangle).
  • Lightly season both sides of your turkey thigh with salt and pepper.
  • Lay one slice of bacon on the cutting board and then offset a second slice of bacon. The top and bottom should match, but the slice should be next to the original. Continue this process until you have a sheet of bacon slices and have used half of your bacon.
  • Lay your turkey thigh (skin side down) within the sheet of bacon slices.
  • Evenly spread your sausage in a thin layer on top of the turkey thigh.
  • Tightly roll your turkey into a thick log shape, wrapping the bacon around it. There should be a clear seam where each slice meets its other end.
  • Repeat this process for the second thigh.
  • Place your thighs directly on the rack in your smoker, seam side down. Allow them to smoke for several hours, until the internal temperature, at the thickest part, reads about 170 F. It will take between 3 and 6 hours, depending on how thick your turkey is. If you rolled long thin "tubes", the time will be less. During the final hour, you may also baste it with BBQ sauce as you smoke it, if you desire.
  • Once they reach 165 F, remove them and place somewhere covered, to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 8g | Calories: 579.42625kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.50625g | Protein: 45.475g | Fat: 38.1625g | Fiber: 1.335g