A Sporty Thanksgiving

Chef Michael Arcomone of Levy Restaurants puts a new wrinkle on some old Thanksgiving favorites:

• Cedar Plank Turkey and Oyster Stuffing


10 lbs. hormone-free turkey breast, skinless/split
1 gallon smoking brine
½ lb soaked alderwood chips
½ lb signature BBQ spice

Smoking Brine Ingredients:

? cup course sea salt
1 cup BBQ spice
1/4 cup liquid smoke
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 gallon water

Signature BBQ Spice Ingredients:

1 quart paprika
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tbls onion powder
2 tbls cumin
3 tbls chili powder
2 tbls black pepper
2 tbls white pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp oregano

Smoking Brine Preparation: Mix all ingredients together and blend thoroughly.

Preparation of the BBQ Spice: Mix all spices together until they are well blended.


Prepare the smoking brine and place the turkey in the brine for 12 hours. Remove turkey breast from the brine and gently rinse in cool water, pat dry and coat with BBQ spice. Pre-soak alderwood chips in water prior to placing them in the smoker to ensure a long burn. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

• BBQ Mayport Shrimp With Creamy White Cheddar Grits


12 each jumbo Mayport shrimp
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup BBQ spice
¼ pound Tasso ham, diced small
Salt and pepper to taste

• Creamy Grits


? cup grits
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shallots
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

Prepare the Shrimp:

Preheat sauté pan over medium high heat
Season shrimp with BBQ spice, salt and pepper
Add butter to hot pan then the Tasso ham and shrimp, sauté until shrimp is firm and fully cooked, about 5 minutes
Remove from heat
Spoon a ¼ cup of grits onto a plate and top with 2 shrimp, drizzle with the BBQ butter left in the pan

Prepare the Grits:

Heat butter in a saucepot over medium heat, add shallots, and cook until tender
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat
Slowly stir the grits into the boiling stock. Reduce heat, cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes, stir occasionally
Remove from heat and stir in cream and cheese, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
Keep warm until ready to serve

• Sourdough Oyster Stuffing


6 cups sourdough baguette, cut in ¾ inch pieces
24 each oysters, shucked
1 cup leeks, washed and sliced ¼ thick
½ cup carrots, peeled and diced ¼ inch
½ cup celery, washed
1 tablespoons thyme, fresh, stemmed and chopped
1 chive, chopped
1 cup chicken stock or canned chicken broth
6 tablespoons butter
2 tsp or to taste kosher salt
Black pepper, fresh ground, to taste


Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Place the cut sourdough bread on a baking sheet and cook until the bread is toasted on the outside but still a bit soft in the middle. Approximately 10 minutes
In a large saute pan or heavy skillet over medium heat add the butter to melt then add the leeks, carrots and celery to the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes
Add the oysters, fresh thyme and chives to the vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes
Add the chicken stock or chicken broth and simmer for 2 minutes
In a large mixing bowl combine the bread and the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
Add more chicken stock if needed to finish the stuffing
You can either spoon the stuffing into the turkey and roast or, spoon the stuffing into a buttered casserole dish and bake separately
If you bake separately preheat the oven to 325 degrees and bake covered for 30 - 35 minutes

• Brat and Cheese Stuffing


15 cups (2 loaves) cubed bread
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound bratwurst
2 cups diced yellow onions
1 cup diced celery
¼ cup minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
2 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
½ pound butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread until cubes are dry but not hard, about 15 minutes.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brats and sauté until cooked through.
Add onions and celery, sauté until translucent.
Add garlic and thyme.
Sautee for another 10 minutes, transfer mixture to large bowl, add bread, parmesan, cheddar cheese and chicken stock.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and bake in buttered baking dish at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden brown, about another 15 minutes.

• Georgia Peach Chutney

1 lbs Georgia peaches, frozen, cut in large chunks
1 1/3 cups water
1 ½ tbls sugar
1 ½ tbls rice wine vinegar
1 ounce ginger, fresh, peeled and sliced
1 stick cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon salt


In a large heavy sauce pan combine all the ingredients.
Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes or until ¾ of the water evaporates
Let cool and refrigerate.
The Georgia Peach Chutney can be served cold or warmed up slightly before serving with your turkey or ham.