Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Cooking

Guam; where Thanksgiving begins for the US. It was dark and early when I started this morning getting the turkey on the grill; I think it was some time around 4:00 AM. The feast with our Chamorro family starts at 1:00 PM today, so I had to start early. The night before, I got the bird all ready and did the same injection that I did the other week. I was tempted to make a little extra and make a beer can chicken, that's a whole other post I will have to do some day. I've been so excited about making this turkey I think we need more days in the year that you are mandated too make turkey. Just a little side note, I do miss making a turkey for our good friends in CA and also for our family back in MI.

I set the grill up for smoking meat, so I had a pan of water under the turkey and the heat source off to the other side of the grill. I used mesquite wood chips for the smoke, a little sweet and nutty flavor with this kind of wood. I keep the temp right at 230-240 for 7 1/2 hrs, and kept the lid on the grill as much as possible. For the last 30 minutes of smoking I put my dry rub on the bird, so it had some time to cure to the skin of the turkey.

From what I tried and what the rest of the family said it turned out to be a great bird. There were still a lot of juices in the meat and the meat just kind of fell apart. It was a good Thanksgiving Day with good food, and good friends. Take care and I hope all your Thanksgiving feasts turned out great also.

Promise, next post will not be about more turkeys!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Grilled Turkey

Today was my first time that I have grilled a turkey; I have been deep frying turkeys for the last 9yrs of my life. I am not turning my back on frying, but I am just exploring new ways of cooking a big bird. This am I spent time on the internet reading about other peoples experiences on grilling turkeys. I toke bits and pieces from each to form my plan of attack on my turkey.

I am cooking a 14lb turkey today, so just a small one. From what I read on mostly all sites is that you don’t want any more than a 15lb turkey. I started off by doing all the normal cleaning things that you do with a turkey. After that I prepared an injection for the turkey, I used butter, and chicken broth for the liquids. For the dry ingredients I used a combination of things that have been called the Wilhoit rub down by our friends back in CA. It consists of brown sugar, black pepper freshly ground, kosher salt, Hungarian paprika, and cayenne pepper to taste. I used two sticks of butter and about 2tbsp of chix broth and 1tbsp of the dry ingredients. I let it simmer for a few min. just enough for the ingredients to dissolve. After letting it cool I injected the turkey with the good stuff. It stayed in the frig for 1 1⁄2 hrs and I toke it out of the frig for another 1⁄2 hour before I put it onto the grill. Right before I put the bird on the grill I brushed it with olive oil. The temp with the grill I tried to keep at 300-350 using both charcoal and mesquite wood chucks. I turned the bird every 40-50 min to get an even cook, total cooking time roughly 3hrs. (that is the time I was hoping for ) The last 15min’s of cooking I put the dry rub over the turkey to finish it off.

Rhianon and I took the bird with us to family dinner that we have every Sunday night. We were only an hour late due to the turkey taking 4hrs to fully cook, the grill was not staying as hot as I hoped. By the time we got there the bird had been sitting for about 15min, so it was good to go to cut into. When I got a piece of the breast meat I was impressed by the tenderness and how much juice was still in the meat. I have to be honest; it ranked right up there with the fried turkey. Everyone liked it so much I will be making another one for Thanks Giving Day. I can’t wait to make it again, it was fun to go through the whole process.

My whole set up on the deck

Ain't she pretty?

Almost time to take it off the grill