Smoked Turkey Basted with Cascabel Oil

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This simple dish yields a complex taste. Serve the turkey hot with the chile oil and a salsa on the side, or cold on a bolillo roll. You can substitute anchos or pasillas for the cascabels.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 6 cascabel chiles, stems and seeds removed, crushed

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 10-pound turkey


Heat the oil and saute the chiles and garlic until softened. Remove from the heat and add the oregano, salt, and pepper.

Split the turkey in half by cutting in through the breast and backbone. Brush the chile oil over the turkey and marinate for a couple of hours at room temperature.

Place the turkey sections, breast side up, on a grill in a smoker and smoke with indirect heat over an aromatic wood such as pecan, apple, or hickory. Baste the turkey with the oil every half hour until the turkey sections are done, approximately 4 hours.

Cascabel Caramel Turtles

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The word cascabel means rattle in Spanish and this full-flavored dried chile probably received its name due to its shape and the fact that its seeds rattle around when you shake it. These turtles are like no others you’ve tasted before, hot as well as sweet. This recipe is from the book Sweet Heat by Melissa Stock and Dave DeWitt, Ten Speed Press.


  • 24 soft caramels

  • 2 tablespoons frozen whipped topping

  • Butter flavored vegetable cooking spray

  • 72 pecan halves

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

  • 8 cascabel chiles, stems and seeds removed, finely crushed


In a microwave safe mixing bowl, combine the caramels and whipped topping and cook on 50 percent power for 45 seconds. Remove the bowl, stir, and place back in the microwave. Continue this process in 10-second increments until the mixture has melted and is smooth and well blended. Let the mixture cool slightly.

Spray a cookie sheet lightly with the cooking oil. Place the pecan halves on the pan in groups of 3, arranged so that each pecan group forms a “Y” shape. These form the turtle’s head and legs. Carefully spoon the caramel mixture over each, leaving the ends of the pecans showing. Set aside until the caramel has hardened.

Place the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Cook in the microwave on 50 percent power for 45 seconds, remove and stir, and repeat the process in 10-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in the cascabels and let the chocolate mixture to cool slightly.

Spoon the melted chocolate over the caramel, being careful not to cover the exposed ends of the pecans.

Set aside until hard, then store in a covered container in a cool place.