Okay, so, now I will tell you the second of my four cooking secrets. (The first is pie crust. The third secret is how to make pizza, which I will tell you at a later date. It’s a GOOD SECRET too. The fourth secret, however, might have to remain secret forever.) This cooking secret is: how to barbecue a Thanksgiving turkey. (Or a turkey for any occasion, but really, how often do you eat turkey?) Because, oh yes, gaze at the majesty of my barbecued turkey above, cooked for Thanksgiving ’04, back when smoking meat was the hot new thing again, for NO apparent reason. Do you know how easy this is? It is SO EASY that you are going to feel sad for even owning an oven. Sort of! I will explain. Equipment required: wood. Asbestos gloves maybe. Aluminum foil. Any sort of grilling thingie. Maybe a gun.
1. Get a turkey. Don’t get one of those nasty turkeys that grew up neck-deep in its own feces. If you live somewhere that is not Los Angeles, just go out and shoot yourself a turkey. The problem with shooting a turkey for Thanksgiving is that you find yourself getting all picky about weight while in the field. (That’s the technical term, “field.”) Your average adult boy turkey that you’re aiming for-the boy turkeys are them brighter-colored ones-weighs a good 20 pounds, so don’t get trigger happy and shoot some tiny useless baby turkey.
2. After you shoot your turkey, you will be really sad when you find out that a single turkey has more than 20,000 feathers. SHOOT THE TURKEY A LONG TIME BEFORE THANKSGIVING, UNHAPPY PLUCKER.
3. Also you can get a turkey at the store, I guess.
4. The day before Thanksgiving, whenever you wake up, go dig out that big lobster pot you never use. Fill it 2/3rds of the way with cold water, a handful of pepper corns, maybe some bay leaves, and some other random stuff from the kitchen. Like maybe some tarragon. Put in an onion! Or some stock cubes! A handful of bacon maybe? Just whatever feels right. DO NOT USE TURMERIC or it will taste like pickles. Also no Indian spices. Most important: stir in like a bunch of salt. Like two big handfuls. Maybe three.
5. IMPORTANT: Then put the turkey in the brine. DO NOT FORGET THIS PART. You will have a bunch of annoying people in your house most probably and they will be distracting you.
6. Put the pot with the turkey in it outside if its 45 degrees or colder, and-VERY IMPORTANT-put like a cement block on top of the pot or the raccoons will come eat your turkey.
6.5 Alternately I guess you could put this in the fridge? But who has room?
7. Wake up on Thanksgiving without killing any relatives.
8. Soak a bunch of wood chips in water. It really doesn’t matter what wood you use! You don’t need to buy fancy cherry chips or nothing. Hickory is fine, or wander around and find some scraps of cedar from a torn-down building. IT’S CEDAR. (Cedar is usually a nice shiny grey if it’s been on the side of someone’s house.) Just don’t use plywood, or treated wood. (That’s the gross yellow-green pressurized stuff.) Because then you’ll have arsenic turkey.
9. Open the vents on the bottom of the grill. Start a huge bunch of coals in your grill. Then push the coals to the sides of the grill. Put a baking tray in the bottom of the grill, between the coals. THEN put a big box of baking soda nearby, and also maybe a bucket of water.
10. Throw in some of your wet wood chips after stuff is all hot.
11. Put the rack on the top of the grill, throw your turkey on, over the baking tray/drip pan and put the lid on the grill.
12. Replenish coals and then wood chips like once every hour.
13. Watch your turkey burst into flames every time you open the lid. This drip pan you put in the bottom? That is some serious bullshit. Nothing will stop the turkey inferno.
13. This is where the baking soda and water comes in handy, because sooner or later the insane grease fire that is your turkey will spread from the grill to nearby trees or structures.
14. At some point your turkey will be done! You have no idea what temperature your grill is, so you have no idea how long it takes to cook! You just have to be like, “Damn, this turkey cannot take any more cooking! I guess we should eat it?” You could stick a quick-read thermometer in it regularly. Pretty much it should hit like 160 degrees (F) deep inside its most private parts. I mean, really, more like 155? Cuz it’ll keep cooking? But it depends on really how much of a wuss you are about food-borne diseases. In any event, it will probably be dark out by now, or close to it, and everyone will be super pissy.
15. Shove the thing on the table. Let it sit there smoldering for 20 minutes. Make someone cut it. The outermost inch of the turkey will taste like BACON. It will taste like eating a wood fire-go figure! It will be like biting down on the forests of Chernobyl. You will pretty much regret ever having done this.