Thursday, November 14, 2013

Killing Two Birds With One Smoked Turkey On An Egg

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and what better time than to practice cooking a turkey...and to clean out the fridge. It is time, sister, to clean that thing out.

Think of all the people without kids who are coming over to your house in two weeks, looking for ice for their drink. I realize that they should be looking in the freezer, not the fridge, but go with me.

You know the kind of people I'm talking about - they have time to work out and clean their refrigerator on a regular basis. But they can't cook worth a bean so the task falls upon you, like you are some sort of expert on cooking the big American heritage meal just because you nursed your children. A little too long, in their opinion, but that is another story.

Here's a recipe that helps you clean out the refrigerator weeks before Thanksgiving and will give you a practice run so you can take Martha Stuart down on the day. I cooked this turkey on my Big Green Egg, but any smoker will do, though I do love the irony of cooking poultry in an egg.

Please don't limit yourself to the ingredient list below - that's what came out of my fridge. And no, I'm not showing you a photo of all the crap I threw out. Jonathan Bloom over at Wasted Food would have my head if he saw that shot. Hopefully this post will balance the scales so to speak. As long as you have the three flavor profiles of sweet, hot and zing, then you can add other bits in your collection of condiments that need to be used up and out.

While you are at it, you might want to take the refrigerator drawers out and clean underneath them. Yeah, those.

Incidentally if you have any spices that are older than ten years, throw them out. Or make a big pot of chili and use them, for gawd sake. I recently found some chili powder in my mom's house that was date stamped 1972. I was four when she bought it for some chili recipe that apparently has never been tried again. The cloves from 1978 were surprisingly still aromatic so she put them back in the drawer. Oi.

Recipe: Condiment Turkey

Some of these could be place in multiple categories, but you get the idea. The intention is not for you to use all of the items listed, but examples of what you could use.

SWEET: Teriyaki, Thai chili sauce, ketchup, roasted pepper soup, honey, jams
HOT: Hot sauces, salsa, wasabi paste (sparingly!)
ZING: Mustard, all varieties, barbecue sauce, tangy marinades, pickled beet juice

One turkey, 10-12 lbs, pre-brined. For info on thawing and brining, look at the blog post directly under this one.

Olive oil, canola or any vinaigrette salad dressing

Salt, pepper

1) Clean out the fridge. Throw away the nasty bits, but any ingredient that isn't growing new life forms or smells putrid can be set aside for your marinade. Use the dregs, the weird buys that you soon regretted, and the duplicate purchases. Be sure you have at least one from every category: SWEET, HOT and ZING.

2) Mix your condiment soup and set aside.
As you can see, before you mix the condiments, you can make a swirly art project first.
3) Rub turkey like a boxer after a match with oil or vinaigrette.
4) Slather on the condiment soup and let the birdy sit in her condiment spa while you make your fire.

5) Make an indirect fire with room for a drip pan in the middle or to one side. Make fire for a hot smoke of about 325 degrees.

6) For the egg, place the indirect plate upside down and place a drip pan inside it\. Once it reaches 325 degrees, place turkey sitting up on grates and put down lid. Leave it. The Egg will do the rest.

7) While the turkey smokes, finish cleaning your refrigerator thoroughly. Pull everything out, get in the nooks and crannies. That way you will only need to give it a quickie clean before Thanksgiving. Aren't you glad we're friends?

8) Also, make stock while the turkey smokes. Use any "fresh" herbs that have cold-dried in your refrigerator or are still miraculously alive in your garden. Save the stock for the soup you will make with the turkey carcass because Martha Stuart can kiss your ass, thank you very much, and you can bring home the bacon and serve up homemade soups without ever having to wear prison orange. Even if it's the new black.

9) Smoke the turkey for approximately three and a half hours until the internal temperature reaches about 155 degrees in the thigh. It will reach the proper 165 degrees while it rests. Let turkey rest for approximately 20 minutes before slicing, because we want to let all those juices hovering at the edges to flow back into the meat.

While the turkey rests, give yourself a pat on the back. No one else is going to, right? Except me. Good job! What used to be all you were supposed to do for your job, cleaning and cooking and taking care of the kids, is now what you do around your money making job, your shift at your daughter's preschool and volunteer days at your son's school. You go to bed at midnight and hit snooze three times on the 6 am alarm.Yep, we've come a long way, baby.

But for now, at this moment, let your family ooh and aah. Enjoy what you've made. When dinner's over, place the leftovers in your sparkly clean fridge. You can make soup tomorrow.


  1. What a fun way to clean out the fridge! Great post.

    I'm smoking a couple of turkey breasts on my BGE this weekend to ship to our daughter this week.

    1. Thanks Chris. And what a great dad you are!