Confessions of a Rocket Scientist
Monday, November 28, 2005
  Barbecuing a Turkey for Thanksgiving

I’m in kind of a holding pattern at work right now. There is a software release due out at the end of the week and the testers are as busy as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. Consequently, they don’t have a lot of time to devote to holding the new guy by the hand and showing him the ropes. I am left to discover stuff for myself.

I have taken advantage of this time to brush up on my knowledge of xml. I got a review book and I am plowing through the lessons. Not all of it will be applicable, but it will be helpful when I finally get useful.

Right now I’m taking a break from my lessons and posting some stuff on my blog.

We got together at my sister’s place for Thanksgiving this year. Next year we will probably go out for dinner. But this year just to be different we gathered for dinner. My wife made her yams, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. I made my cranberry sauce and I barbecued a turkey. That’s right, I barbecued a turkey.

I have a Weber kettle grill that lets me do stuff like this. I put a drip pan in the center of the charcoal grate and stack my charcoal on either side of it. I put about a half inch of apple cider in the drip pan. I light the coals and wait for them to ash over evenly, and then I put the bird on the grill just over the drip pan. The bird has been brushed with olive oil and rubbed with poultry seasoning and just a hint of black pepper. I also put a foil pouch full of Jack Daniels grilling chips on the coals. I set the bottom drafts about halfway open and put the cover on the grill. The cover drafts are fully open.

Then I wait for the turkey timer to pop.

Every 15 minutes or so I brush the bird with some olive oil. This keeps the meat moist and makes the skin crispy and brown. I cooked a 12-pound turkey. It took about three hours, which was just about right.

After two hours I needed to add charcoal to the fire. This was not a problem. The grill has hinged sections that swing up just so you can add charcoal. The key is not to add too much, since we are going for a slow cooking process.

The result is a superb bird with a delectable smoky flavor only charcoal grilling can produce. The white meat was moist and flavorful and the dark meat was delicious.

The only bad part about this is that I couldn’t make gravy. Maybe I could have used the drippings in the pan, but it was unfortunately contaminated with charcoal ash. So we had to use the canned stuff for the potatoes and stuffing.

The meal was good. We are still enjoying the leftovers. It’s a shame that the Pilgrims didn’t have Weber grills to cook their turkey on that first Thanksgiving.

Hope your Thanksgiving was good.

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"The first cup of coffee in the morning recapitulates Phylogeny." -J. Pournelle

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Location: Quakertown, Pennsylvania, United States

Two time cancer survivor, happily married, LaSalle Alumnus

July 2004 / August 2004 / November 2004 / December 2004 / January 2005 / April 2005 / August 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / February 2006 / April 2007 / August 2007 /

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