I had a wonderful "International Thanksgiving" this year. Our friend Sybille was visiting from Germany and had never had a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. And my wife and I also invited a young couple that was unable to make their family get together. "Saucy" Sarah (see her homemade apple sauce recipe) and husband Abdel … who is from Morocco … joined Yvonne, myself, Sybille and … of course the French boy Henri … for dinner.
Since I smoked a turkey on my Weber Grill I suppose this wasn't entirely traditional. But we had all the trimmings … and then some. Yams, dressing, olives (some stuffed with blue cheese … others with garlic cloves), cranberries … you know the drill. And we watched the bad morning parade followed by the bad footballs games. Ahh Tradition.
Anyway … I only eat turkey once … maybe twice a year so I make a fuss. Get a good, organic, free range, fresh turkey if you can … and most of you can. DO NOT STUFF IT!!! Instead remove the giblets (nicey nice for guts)…boil them and give them to your dog. If you don't have a dog throw them away. They're ugly anyway and it just keeps reminding you that you are about to eat dead idiot bird. Instead stuff the turkey with one onion chopped in fourths, and some whole stalks of fresh herbs to keep it moist and add flavor.
My wife cooks the T-bird in the oven for a couple hours. This way you don't have to worry about actually cooking it exclusively on the BBQ. I mean if you want to knock your self out. But I merely want to finish the job and give it a smoky flavor. And it frees the oven up so that other dishes can be more easily prepared. Cook at 325 degrees for two to two & 1/2 hours depending on the turkey size.
Start your fire a half hour before the turkey is to be removed from the oven. I use wood based charcoal…or bagged wood itself. Have about 1/2 a bag of large mesquite wood (that's been soaked in water overnight) to put on top of the heat. I also add an entire bag of "chips"… you know the little sliver things … after I've got everything going. And use the indirect cooking method. By that I mean don't have any heat directly under the turkey but surround it with coals. It's also a good idea to use two aluminum-roasting pans … one inside the other.
So once you've got the fire, soaked mesquite wood, and wood chips in, place the grill screen over them and put the turkey in the middle of the grill. Now comes the hardest part for any man who grills. DO NOT LOOK AT THE T-BIRD FOR AT LEAST AN HOUR!!! We men LOVE to look at the food we're grilling … like every 37 seconds … just to make sure it's … well … doin' okay. After an hour remove the grill cover and baste. You may or may not have to either stir the fire or add more wood. Cover again and DO NOT LOOK …at least for a little while. If the turkey is getting too brown cover it with foil. But make sure the bird is exposed for a considerable amount of time so that it gets smoky. Once it reaches the required temperature (185 -use a meat thermometer) remove from the grill and let "rest" for about 20 minutes or so before slicing.