CHAPTER 4 "IT'S TURKEY TIME AGAIN"
Contributed Courtesy Of One Of America's
Top Pitmasters, Wyndell "Fergy" Ferguson
It's getting close to turkey day again. How strange we are to
ignore a tasty, economical source of protein ten months out of
the year. Unlike chicken, which we consume year round, we
reserve turkey for that period between Thanksgiving and
Christmas. Surely our tradition drives the turkey producers up
Besides tradition, turkeys present a few differences from chicken
that make some folks hesitate. Their large size puts off some
people. Even if they have a large oven and time, not many
enjoy turkey seven days in a row.
Then there are those who have a terminal case of over cook
when it comes to turkeys. They consistently turn out turkey
breast as dry as a dust devil's breath. To head off such
disasters, they use elaborate schemes involving aluminum foil,
roasting bags and even boiling.
Here is another place where a good grill and a little organized
laziness comes to the rescue. These days it is relatively easy
to buy smaller turkeys or even turkey breasts or thighs, year
Therefore there is no need to cook so much that you get sick of
it before it is gone. Surprise yourself several times a year with
a tasty turkey dish. The cooking part is easier than taking a
Select a turkey that fits your needs - fresh, if available. I find
the cheaper brands as good as the premium. If it is frozen,
carefully follow the directions for thawing. Trim excess fat and
skin and pat dry.
Fire up the grill for roasting - about 350 degrees. Build a good,
large bed of coals and reduce the heat by closing down the air
supply. Collect a small amount - 3 to 4 pounds of green fruit
wood, white oak and hickory.
Sprinkle the turkey inside and out with a mixture of:
Garlic powder 1 teaspoon
Onion powder 1 teaspoon
Celery seed, ground 1 teaspoon
Sage 1 Tablespoon
Thyme 1 Tablespoon
Fresh ground black pepper 1 Tablespoon
Salt 1 Tablespoon
Place turkey on the grill, opposite the coals, breast up. Close
the grill and go away for about an hour.
Check the temperature of the exhaust, look over the coals and
put on a few pieces of green wood. If you must use chips or
dried wood, soak in water for at least thirty minutes.
Maintain the temperature between 300 - 350 degrees with a
gentle smoke floating from the exhaust. Tidy up, close the grill
and go rest from your labors.
Check back in about an hour later and insert your handy
thermometer in the center of the thickest part of the bird. When
it reads 165 degrees, time is up. It is done. Remove and let it
sit for about 20 minutes before carving.
It should be as juicy as the latest gossip and tender as a baby's