Monday, November 15, 2004

Smoked Turkey Recipe (for real)

I’ve been doing this for many years… I thought I’d pass it on.


One Turkey (or more if you’re really hungry and you have a huge grill)
More butter than you’ve ever used at one time (four boxes, minimum)
Salt, Pepper and whatever other spices you like on poor deceased Tom
One package of Cheesecloth
Two bags of charcoal (or a full tank of gas for you short-cutters)
Couple or three pieces of oak or hickory
Two disposable turkey pans (if you use the fancy one you got for a wedding gift, you'll be sorry)
Two disposable 9” round pie pans
A big baster (you try looking it up… I couldn’t figure out how to spell it)
One live chicken


1. Pull the guts out of the turkey and save for gravy/dressing.
2. Stick two full sticks of butter in cavity (take the wrapping off first)
3. Salt/Pepper/Spice turkey as desired
4. Put Turkey in double pan (one inside the other)
5. Cut 4 lengths of cheesecloth a little longer than turkey.
6. Place the cheesecloth over the turkey so that:
A) The entire turkey is covered (except bottom)
B) Avoid folds in the cheesecloth (should be smooth)
C) Avoid air cavities between cheesecloth and turkey (tuck into coutours)
D) You end up with about eight layers (four pieces folded over)
E) If you have a button turkey, make a cutout for the button after covering.
7. Start the fire. Use a full bag a charcoal (more than you usually use)
8. Melt a minimum of eight sticks of butter and pour over the cheeseclothed turkey. The object is to end up with a fully wetted turkey. Do Not leave any cheesecloth dry.
9. Arrange charcoal so there’s a 9” hole in the middle. Place the doubled up pie tin in the hole and fill with water. If, during cooking, the water evaporates, replenish.
10. Put some oak or hickory in the fire to supply smoke.
11. Let the chicken out of the coop (mine is called “Butterscotch”) for company while cooking.
12. Put turkey on grill. Baste every 10 minutes or so. You must keep cheesecloth from drying out. It will brown, but should never get hot enough to turn brittle and black.
13. Most charcoal doesn’t last long enough to fully cook a turkey. You’ll have to replenish at some point.
14. Replenish butter if necessary.
15. Cook until button pops out or check temp with a meat thermometer and follow poultry guidelines. Generally this method takes much longer than frying, but shorter than oven cooking… around three hours or so.
16. Thank the chicken for keeping you entertained.
17. Remove cheesecloth. Skin should be browned and turkey extremely moist.
18. Eat!
19. Watch Football, take nap.


Oh... the reason for the double turkey pans? Twofold...
1. You ever dump a dozen sticks of butter on a hot fire? Not good for you or the turkey!
2. When you're done, take the turkey inside in the inside pan and leave the outside one on the grill. Your wife will love you more.

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