Stuart two weeks ago told me he was ready to cook a whole turkey that he had been hiding away in his refrigerator for around five months. He apparently got it on sale for 50 cents per pound way back in March. I hadn’t any meat planned for the weekend (and I’m a bit low on barbecue funds) so I figured, why not.
I usually write about military and security affairs at my day job, so I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised when Google tried to auto-fill “turkey artillery” when I was searching for recipes. For the rest of the day I was stuck with the mental image of Turkish troops shooting poultry over the border to oust Islamic State fighters from Syrian border towns.
It could have worked, if militants find raw poultry to be as absolutely gross as I do.
To get the Turkey to fit onto by grill and to speed up cooking, we opted to spatchcock the bird. That involves cutting out the spines and then flattening from the breast side. Most of the recipes recommend using poultry shears. I didn’t have any of those, so Stuart had to hack out the spine using one of my knives. It was pretty gross. Stuart also broke off one of the legs.
While he was working on that, I mixed spices according to a rub from amazingribs.com. It involves roughly equal amounts of parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, bay leaf, black pepper and sugar. We didn’t have sage at home, so I skipped it. The bird had been sitting in up to an 8 percent salt solution so there was no need to add extra salt.
The turkey was able to sit pretty comfortable on the grill grate without reaching over the direct heat. We used mesquite for the wood chunks. For the white meat, we aimed for 165 degrees and around 175 degrees for dark meat. It only took about three to four hours to reach the required temp.
We then set about carving all of it up (as I not-so-sneakily ate random chunks of meat).
There appeared to be some variance in the doneness throughout the turkey, with some parts being moister than others. That may have been either due to temperature differences or just the bird itself.
Overall, it turned out quite fine. I had a healthy amount for some meals over the week, putting the turkey over rice and with a side of broccoli. Lemon doesn’t go as well with turkey as it does with chicken though, which is bit disappointing. Oh well.
I haven’t had all that much energy to do any long cooks recently, partly because Jennifer keeps enabling me to drink alcohol. I’m thinking maybe I could find some way to improvise a method to make Korean barbeque.