Smoking The Bird
Nothing is quite so fine, on a cool Thanksgiving Day morning, than walking out onto your patio to see the wood smoke gently curling from your cooker, and the aroma of sizzling bird neath the dark, black, lid. Once you smoke your Thanksgiving turkey, your not likely ever to return to your old ways. Brethren of the smoke know, some things are just better that way. And this is one of them.
Here is how to give your family and friends the bird, or at least how I like to do it.
Ingredients for your mop:
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup salad oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon-1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Whilst your pit is warming up, mix together this stuff, and brush it all over your bird. Then light dash it with a little salt and pepper. A little garlic salt is nice too.
Place gobbler on grill over indirect heat. If your doing a true smoke here, be expecting 6 to 8 hours for a 12 pound turkey at 225 degrees. Or until the internal temp is at a minimum of 165 degrees, less you be running for the little pit boys room all too frequently. If you don’t have a smoker, no worries, it can be done on a traditional grill almost as poetically, but even faster. For example, your standard back yard Weber is going run much hotter than a smoker, and your turkey will probably be done in about 3 hours. Simply bank the coals to either side of your grill, and put on the bird indirect . Indirect placement, people, is a signature move of a seasoned pit master. Never under estimate it, and do it often.
For smoke wood in this application, I am a big fan of pecan wood. It seems to have that subtle smokey taste that just works with poultry. The pecan smoke also blends magically with the soy sauce and pretty much rocks your turkey to a new level. I prefer the baseball sized chunks of pecan wood that you can pick up at some box stores, or find online. Or if your one of those lucky schmucks who actually has a pecan tree growing in your yard, you are at once my envy, and we should be friends. Many stores sell chips too, which work so long as you soak them good before the smoke. Anyways, place your wood directly on your coals, put the lid back on your grill, and go watch some football. Return to grill on occasion and mop the bird. Remove and rest the bird when internal temp exceeds 165. And don’t forget your drip pan to collect the drippings, as it makes a smokey gravy that will have your ancestors slobbering. Proceed to give your people the bird.
A Small Cut of Meat Poetry
The grill is doing most of the work here, thus freeing you up for the highly important business of loitering in your recliner, or if the day is adequate, your Adirondack chair out by the pit. Be encouraged to slow your day down, and repair quietly with your favorite beverage, pit-side, watching the smoke waft upwards into a beautiful, November sky. And know that for a while the world will spin without you, and that your OK with that. For grilling proper harbors no haste. Life ebbs by fast enough as it is, so let not our grills, nor our time there, know any such swiftness. Indeed, we seek to extend the moment for the moment’s sake, and in that alone, it is well with our soul.