Cookin' With Leo
BBQ'n A Turkey
(Outside On The Grill, That Is)
If ya' never done this before now is a good time for all you more experienced outside cookin' enthusiasts to get out there and do somethin' with that expensive gizmo ya'll paid big bucks fer and have only been fryin' dogs and burgers on. Me 'n my good buddy, Charlie the ironworker, done this one afternoon while the rest of the neighbors watched in amazement. And just to amaze them more, a few weekends later we done a whole Bologna too. But, that's another story so be watchin' for that one too.
First of all that expensive outdoor BBQ equipment needs to have an electric revolving spit, they call them things a rotisserie, that fits above the grillin' area. It might even have a variable speed control on it too, and that needs to be set to slow so it revolves about once every 10 to 12 seconds. If you got all that, then the rest is easy. But, be prepared to stay with the operation several hours, so a few cases of Colorado Kool Aid (we preferred Mich or Bud) will take care of you and your cookin' buddy, while you are keeping an eye on the proceedings.
As long as you are going to do this, you might as well get a big enough bird to do it right and take care of your long lost relatives, in-laws, and out-laws what only come to visit for wakes and weddings. So an 18 to 20 pound turkey that is not frozen, is what you need.
To prepare the turkey, the first thing is to look inside for a bag of parts, like liver, gizzard, heart, etc. Remove them and place in a pot of water and cook them on the stove. Next flush out the inside of the bird with lots of clean, cold salt water. Make sure it is nice and clean inside.
Rub a couple of spoons of salt all around the inside. And, then rub plenty of butter on the inside too, needs to be really buttery.
Now you can thread the bird on your spit and clamp it tight. Also use some cotton twine to wrap up the loose parts like wings and legs. We don't want them floppin' around while the spit is turning. And now set the spit in place on the grill. Check it out by turning it on for a few minutes to see that nothing is dragging on the grill wires or the sides. If so, adjust the spit higher or lower as the case might be. Ok now? Good, let's do some more prep:
Melt a pound of butter with about 8 or 10 crushed cloves of garlic in it and keep warm but not hot, and stir in six cans of warm Bud to that. That is your baste for now, and if you are thinkin' margarine or lite beer then forget about the whole thing.
If you have a gas grill, keep the fire medium low, we are not going to close the cover this time. For charcoal, prepare a good hot bed but it should never flame up. Use a spray bottle with water to kill the flames. The drippings from the bird will cause flames but spray them out as fast as they pop up. And, for charcoal grills you will have to add from time to time, so add a few coals at a time from the sides and move them toward the center as they catch fire. If your coals are on a grate, the spent coals and ash should drop through.
As the spitted-bird is turning and the turkey begins to cook you want to be sure to keep it well basted with the beer and butter mix. As the bird turns the juice from the baste should be running down the sides of the bird and should glisten Keep it moist, and look for dry spots. Need to keep the bird wet and basted well, just see that it glistens as it turns, that's important. Also, as the bird cooks, be sure it is not cooking too fast. If the skin is getting brown too fast, you may need to lower the heat or raise the rotisserie higher away from the heat. The skin of the bird should stay moist and light colored throughout the cooking process. There is plenty of time to brown the skin when the bird is almost done.
For an 18 to 20 pound bird it is going to take the best part of about 8 hours to get it done, so be sure you have plenty of baste to keep it moist. Butter, Bud, and Garlic are the secret ingredients here so have plenty of it. As I said at the beginning, a pound of butter, at least 8 good sized cloves of garlic, crushed, and a six pack of Bud should be enough. If you need more baste, add the juice from the cooked innards to the baste. And, of course, the innards you salvaged from the cavity will be used to make a nice dressing. Chop them all up with some celery and onions and get a box or two of Stove Top Dressing and mix and cook according to the directions on the box.
To Check the bird as to doneness use a toothpick, just push it into the meaty part of the breast. It should push in real easy and come out clean. If it takes effort to push in a toothpick, your bird is not done yet. When the bird is done and you want a browner skin, up the heat a bit and baste it well, turn off the rotisserie and turn by hand as the skin darkens. Watch that it browns evenly and that there are no hot spots on the skin.
There, you did it, get your bunch of friends and relatives together and have them enjoy the best BBQ'd turkey ever.
The dressing and a salad should top it all off fine, and if there is any baste and juice from the innards left, then mash up a mess of potatoes and use that for the gravy. Beer, Butter, Garlic, and Gizzard soup makes good gravy, try it - you'll like it.
Ya'll have fun with your BBQ, ya'heah