Smoked Bourbon Turkey Hot Browns/Falls City Hipster Repellant/The Glasspack “Bridgeburner”
We were in Kentucky a month ago for our brother’s wedding and picked up a six pack of local beer, Falls City’s Hipster Repellant IPA to be exact, to bring back home with us. Looking for a dish to pair with this beer, we’ve always wanted to try our hand at the iconic Hot Brown that Louisville is famous for, but of course put our own spin on it. Since this is Stoner Rock BBQ, we took to the smoker with the turkey breasts seasoned with Cloak of Feathers then in true Kentucky fashion, spritzed down these birds every so often with a bourbon-centric mist as they were smoking. The finished turkey shredded at the sight of a fork then got piled high on ciabatta rolls then topped with a homemade cheese sauce, smoked bacon and sautéed tomatoes. We decided to stay in the Bluegrass State for the tunes as well, turning back the clock over a decade to crank up the loud southern stoner fuzz of Louisville’s The Glasspack on their sophomore release, “Bridgeburner”.
Smoked Bourbon Turkey Hot Browns – Since the turkey will take a few hours, we can start there. We bought boneless, skinless turkey breasts for this recipe then seasoned them heavily with our Cloak of Feathers Chicken and Wing Rub (other poultry/bbq rubs would work).
Since we’ve got a relatively small order with these turkey breasts, we’re just going to use our Weber kettle as a smoker and bank about a half chimney of coals on one side with a scattering of pecan chips on top. The breasts go over the cool side as we place the lid with the vent holes open and over the turkey breasts.
The turkey will spend about an hour or so smoking away. Too much time to really start on any of the other components at this time, so time to enjoy a beer or two and take in the sights and sounds of the grill mixed with Mother Nature. We’ll check back in an hour…
Wow, that went fast. Time to check the birds. They should have already started to reach a rich mahogany color by this point.
To finish these off on the grill, we’re going to mix up a concoction of 1 cup of apple juice with 1 airplane bottle of Jim Beam honey and put that in a mister. For the next hour we spray the birds roughly every fifteen minutes.
After an hour, the sugar in the cider and whiskey should help the turkey get that perfect smoked dark brown bark. Now we can remove from the grill and pour whatever is left in the mister over the finished turkey breasts.
We wrap the pan in foil and place in a 275 degree oven for another 1-2 hours until the turkey shreds easily then we keep it warm.
Finally we can start on the rest of the components that will make this a Hot Brown starting with the griddled tomatoes. These are simply garden tomatoes sliced to about a medium thickness and seasoned liberally with our Not So Gentle Butcher’s Rub (alternatively salt & pepper) then tossed down on a hot, oiled griddle until soft but not mushy.
Ok, time for the clincher. The all-important cheese sauce. In a medium sauce pan we’re going to make a roux with 4 tablespoon of butter melted that we whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour into.
As we’re whisking the roux and it starts to change to a darker brown color and a nutty aroma overtakes the kitchen we start to whisk in about a pint of heavy cream then we bring the whole thing to a boil and season with salt and pepper.
Now it’s time to add the cheese, 8 ounces of shredded pecorino and provolone, whisking constantly until smooth.
Let’s start making open-face sandwiches, shall we? We stray from tradition again with the bread too, opting for the heartier, tastier ciabatta roll bottoms instead of the traditional white toast. We’re going to need that sturdiness to stand up to the mound of pulled turkey that gets hoisted on top.
Ok, here it comes, the rich cheese sauce gets labeled right over the smoked turkey followed by more shredded provolone and pecorino on top of the cheese sauce.
We pop the whole pan under the broiler for a couple of minutes to get the cheese nice and browned.
All that’s left to do is top each one with a couple strips of crispy bacon, a griddled tomato and sprinkle with parsley. To be honest we’ve never actually had a traditional Hot Brown but after tasting our version, we’re afraid we’d be disappointed now. It was the perfect combo of smoky turkey, salty bacon and rich cheese cut by the sweet/tart tomatoes.
Falls City Hipster Repellant – This is our second go around with a Louisville beer having featured the delicious G-Dub IPA from Goodwood Brewing back in December. Falls City Brewing, at least the name, has been around since the turn of the 20th century. Falls City the craft brewery is a little less than a decade old. It’s an interesting story that’s definitely worth a read on the brewery’s website from prominent beer player for most of the century to its demise in the late 70s and now “reimagined” as a craft brewery. We started with their hilariously titled Hipster Repellent IPA. Ah, what’s in a name? Could it be a direct hit to the modern day, where hipsters have infiltrated just about everything, everywhere, including Louisville. Or is it more of a tongue in cheek stab that this 100+ year brewery, had it weathered the storm, these hipsters would be swilling their classic American lager instead of PBR. In any case, we’ve probably spent too much time on this already, let’s get to the beer already. This IPA pours a clear amber color with a minimal head. The aroma is mild and slightly sweet which translates to a super easy-drinking, relatively lightly hopped IPA. Normally it’s the hoppier the better for us when it comes to IPAs, but tonight with these rich Hot Browns, the lighter beer was the perfect compliment to cut through all of the heavy flavors in the sandwich.
The Glasspack “Bridgeburner” – For the life of us we just can’t remember the online music download site of about decade ago. You paid like $12 a month but could download a boatload of albums in exchange. It was a great way to test out a bunch of albums then buy the physical copies of the ones you liked a lot. Much of our introduction to some of the more underground stoner rock bands came courtesy of this site and we distinctly remember Kentucky’s The Glasspack as one of those bands. Geographically, these guys might be just south of the Mason/Dixon line but their sound is anything but. A smoky southern drawl soaked in moonshine is the trademark of the band that musically goes from southern sludge to punk and all points in between. The opener “Twenty-Five Cents” had to be the inspiration for the album’s cover of the Starsky & Hutch Ford Gran Torino blazing (quite literally) over a fiery bridge. It’s a high-speed, fuzzed out burner (pardon the pun) of a tune and a heckuva of a way to kick off an album. “Barn Party” revs up the RPMs a little bit more adding some Kyuss-like guitar noodling to go along with the psychobilly stoner rock sounds of say, Gluecifer. The groove is absolutely locked in on “Oil Pan”, a medium paced rocker that still swaggers and gets the heads banging with the best of them. The band throws a Stones cover into the mix with the super loose “Gimme Shelter” giving a different, heavier spin on the classic song. After the quick instrumental “Hydroplane”, “Hairsoup” (which is impossible to write without gagging a little, by the way) pulls the throttles way back to super slow and sludgy territory starting with the brooding and dark bass line that kicks the song off and just barely picks up speed throughout the 7 minute epic. On “Lil Birdy” the fuzz is replaced with a clean guitar sound but the distorted vocals still remain making for a cool, almost haunting contrast. The title track is an instrumental that lets everything out, it’s a full throttle tune full of groove and lightning fast. The album’s closing track is “Peepshow” and is steeped in heavy 70s rock and roll goodness, it’s a Mountain-esque jam to end off a killer album.