Gobble Gobble boys. It's about that time.
I figure by now, any decent man already has his bird picked out.
What's that? You don't cook your Thanksgiving bird??? You let the woman do it?
You leave something as critical as a Thanksgiving bird.. up to a woman? A woman who you know is going to stick in the oven? That's just sick.
Boys... Let's be perfectly clear on this... When it comes to meat... We're simply better. Now... if you totally suck at cooking, fine... leave it up to your wife... but better advice would be to head out and spend the day with a family member who will have a properly cooked bird.
And just what is the proper way? Excellent question. There are two actually. The bird may be smoked.. or... if you don't have the time... fried. Smoking is by far the preferred method, but sometimes you just don't have a full day to devote to the task. Don't get me wrong... I'll still chastize you for poor planning... but if the bird is well fried, you'll certainly get off the hook.
Let's focus on smoking... because come on.. if you can't fry a Turkey... you need to be guests, not hosts.
So... Smoking a Turkey... The Nate Way:
A Turkey: I got a little 12 pounder this year. Usually I get a 20.
A Boston Butt: A few pounds will do. 4 or 5 or so.
Bacon Grease: You need about a mason jar full. I don't actually know how much is in a mason jar... I just know that I have a mason jar full of bacon grease on the shelf, I will likely use the whole thing. If you don't have access to bacon grease... just stop reading. You clearly have no business near a kitchen.
Bourbon: You knew this was coming.
1 Red Onion: Vadailia is an acceptable substitute.
4 Garlic Cloves
Salt & Pepper
Jack Daniels Wood Chips
Ok lets get started... First things first... you must smoke the bird for roughly 1 hour per pound. So depending on how big a bird you have, you may need to start this process the night before. So... First off... bring your smoker's water pan in and fill it water, and get your chips soakin'. They have to soak for a good half-hour before ya use 'em. Then, get your turkey out and prepare it for cooking as you normally would. That is... take out the neck and all that nastiness and wash it down some. Good. Now... fetch that bacon grease and rub down the skin with that grease real good.
Now mince up that garlic... and cut that onion in half. Half of the onion goes inside the carcass... and the garlic gets rubbed onto the skin of the bird. Now salt and pepper the bird. Note the grease will catch all the spices. Feel free to add additional stuff here to taste.
Ok... Bird's ready to go. Now for the smoker. JAC will tell you that ya need a charcoal smoker. I personally wonder if JAC has ever smoked a 22 pound bird. I have... and believe me.. you don't want to be gettin' up every 3 hours adding water and charcoal to a damned smoker in 14 degree weather. And that boys and girls.. is why I have a gas smoker.
After your chips have soaked, its time to work on the water pan. So take out your chips. and set 'em asside. Remember the other half of that onion? Chuck it in water pan. Pour some Bourbon in there too... How much? Hell I don't know... what ever looks good. Red wine is a good substitute here if you're lookin' for a different taste. I've used both. People put all kinds of things in that water pan... if you think you know somethin' fun to try go to it. If it's good, tell us. If it ain't, don't tell anybody, they won't know no different.
Okie doke.. we should be about ready to go. Light that smoker and throw the chips to it... put the water pan in.. then the bird on the first rack. Leave the top rack empty... we're usin' it later.
Now remember to check your chips and water ever so often... and add as necessary. Do not let the water run out. That sucks. Smoke that bird like I said... about 1 hour per pound. You'll probably have to run a few neighbors off... you won't beleive the smell while this thing is cookin'.
When you're about 3 hours or so from being done, drop that boston butt in there on the top rack, directly above the turkey. That way all those good juices will just drip down... and run all over that turkey... aww yeah... now we're talkin'.
And that boys... is just about that. That's how we do it... and if it ain't the best damned bird you've ever had... then I'll happily conclude that you got to much damned yankee blood in ya.