Tuesday, November 28, 2023

2023 Thanksgiving Turkey

If you've been following along on my blog, you already knew that ...

1) I was going to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving

2) I was planning on Spatchcocking and halving it on my weber kettle

3) I was going to use Crack as my spicing.

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and I did indeed smoke a spatchcocked turkey on my Weber kettle and spiced it with Crack.

Since 2018, which was the year I started becoming obsessed with BBQ, I've been in charge of making the Thanksgiving turkey outside on my smoker.

I think the main thing my wife likes about me cooking the turkey is that it frees up the oven for the rest of the things she and the kids make for the holiday meal.

The logistics around what goes in the oven and when it has to go in is considerably simplified when we don't have to worry about the bird to be part of that process.

Plus ... when I make the bird, it is significantly more flavorful than what it would be if we made it in the oven.

I tend to spice it up more, and the fruit (usually cherry) wood adds another layer of flavor. I just think the turkey tastes better cooked outside.

Every Thanksgiving, I've cooked the turkeys just a bit different. Usually it has been on my bigger offset smoker, because I needed the space for the bird.

My Weber kettle is easier to control the heat, so I've been thinking about how to get a turkey cooked on it.

Recently, I've been cooking whole chickens spatchcocked and halved, and I thought that technique would be the key to being able to fit a turkey on the kettle.

So, this year, that is how I decided to cook the bird.

Just like in previous years, I brined the turkey overnight, and prepped the bird early Thanksgiving morning. 

I cut the backbone out, cut the bird in half, and then generously applied Crack seasoning on both sides.

I let that sit with the seasoning while I prepared the grill and waited until it was time to put the bird on.

I had the halved turkey on the kettle a little before 9:30am with the intension of being done around 1pm. 

I probably could have waited a little to get the bird on. 

Honestly, it took a little while for the kettle to get up to temperature; it was probably below 250 for the first hour or so.

Around 11:00 am, I flipped the bird over so that the meaty side was against the grate.

I let it cook like that for about an hour and then flipped it back over to finish up.

A little after noon, I made some gravy on my other kettle.

Ideally, I think I would have pulled the bird off a little sooner, but it is probably better to keep in on a little long than pull it off too early.

For some reason, cutting up the bird was just a bit awkward. Getting the breast and thigh off to be sliced just was not as smooth as when the bird is whole.

It turn out fine, though.

I thought the spice and smoke character was about perfect. As I mentioned, I could have taken the bird off the heat a little sooner, which would have made the meat a bit juicier, but it was in acceptable levels of tenderness and juiciness.

My wife and kids did a great job on all the "sides" and we had a wonderful holiday meal.

Leftovers were also great later that night and for lunches.

I do think that this is how I'll do next year's turkey as well, but we'll have to see how I feel next year. Last year at this time, I wasn't even considering this cooking technique, so who know what new crazy idea I'll have at around Thanksgiving time next year.

Chances are ... I'll let you know. See Sheppy's Blog: Thanksgiving and you'll see.

As always, stay tuned on the regular SheppyBrew Channels to see what is happening with beer and other things: SheppyBrew's Facebook PageSheppy's Twitter FeedSheppyBrew's Instagram Page; and SheppyBrew's Website.

Go Blackhawks!

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