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Cavemen AND Cowboys Smoke Their Turkey — Part I

Posted by on December 9, 2012

Ok, I didn’t make my turkey on Thanksgiving because we went to a friend’s house. Mrs. RocksandLogs made these Maple-Bourbon Sweet Potatoes and they were great with all the other fixins!

Thanksgiving leftovers are fantastic so I still had to make a turkey.  I did two last year, and I’ll likely do a couple more this year — including one for Christmas.   My recipe is from BBQ U and it’s THE PERFECT THANKSKGIVING TURKEY.

So how to do it? First you brine it the night before.  10:36 in my case.

Stirring the pot

The turkey in the brine

I put the turkey in the bag in the pot to keep it submerged in the brine.  The tub is so if the bag has a pinhole, the brine will not make a mess.  Sure enough, in the morning there was brine in the bottom of the tub from some small hole

The next day, I was a little short on time, so I had to use the gas grill with the smoker box. I wanted to use charcoal, but gas is faster… oh well next time.

The nice thing about grilling outside on a 79°F/26°C day in December is that it doesn’t heat up the house.   It’s even more of an issue in the summer — it drives me nuts to think I’m burning natural gas to heat the oven only to buy electricity to take the heat out with the air conditioner.  Outside kitchens are definitely caveman and cowboy!

So anyways, I have the turkey rack to keep the meat off the black grates which are beyond cleaning.  Porcelain-coated iron grates have not been user-friendly for me. And they’re EXPENSIVE to replace, so I just got a stainless steel replacement grate to rest on top.

When you break it down, barbecuing a turkey is really just roasting it in a smoky oven.  I set the outside burners so 350°F was maintained and filled the smoker box with mesquite chips.

After brushing on melted butter, I let it sit in the heat and smoke and pretty soon (after checking it several times and brushing on butter each time), it was done.

The Formula:  This 

 plus this ↓

Turns the turkey into that ↓

Here’s last year’s turkey — it was a little bigger and darker because it spent more time in the smoke

Some notes:

    • I left the themometer probe that came with the turkey in the meat to see how it did compared to my digital thermometer. My digital themometer was reading 190ºF/88ºC right next to the probe (the red dot on top of the turkey) and the thing hadn’t popped out reaffirming for me that a good digital readout is worth the money.
    • Cooking time was 1:45 minutes this time.  Last year I had a 22 pound (10 kg) bird done in 2:05
    • You need a drip pan or an empty grease trap.  Last year, I was cooking the 2nd turkey and I noticed this by the grill:  When I opened the door I saw this: And then I figured it out.  It came from this — the greasetrap runneth over:  So I cleaned it up and put a bucket to catch the continued drips until the turkey was done and the grill cooled off.  That’s a lot of grease…
    • And plenty of grease drips under the turkey and doesn’t make it to the grease trap: 
    • Which looks like this when you turn the center burners on:


And you should know it tastes great! Smoky, salty, tender and worth the effort. Next time I’ll make sure I have enough time to use the charcoal grill and there are some differences I want to point out in Part II.

Lastly, here’s my project pile of logs.  These will be transformed soon!  Be sure to check out Rocks and Logs over at facebook


2 Responses to Cavemen AND Cowboys Smoke Their Turkey — Part I

  1. Anisa

    Looks good! I will have to get Rick to give it a try one of these days. Thanks for the backlink.

    • RocksandLogs

      Rick needs to get on it! I’m sure you could do a chicken if you wanted to as well ;) Yes, the potatoes were worth linking to!

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