Holiday Greetings All.
I have been grilling/smoking whole turkeys for a while now. I grill a lot, and make some pretty wicked chicken also. Here is last night's bird:
Brining makes a turkey better no matter how you cook it. Brining will make your turkey better than grilling it outside.
A brine is basically sugar and water and usually has some spices mixed in. We use lemons, oranges, tyme and rosemary sprigs, brown sugar and Kosher salt. We follow Emiral Legassi's recipe (search Emiril "Brined and Roasted Turkey"). Once you brine you will never go back. Brining brings water into the bird and makes it idiot proof. Your window for overcooking is much greater. Leftovers are noticeably better- moist. You would think that it would make the bird horribly salty. It doesn't. It seasons perfecly.
I used a Chargriller Offset smoker. This things sucks. It's a perfect example of you get what you pay for. There are a number of videos on You Tube on how to modify them to make it work better. I can't say anything good about it other than it's cheap but for the money, (about $200) you can buy a really nice 22" Weber kettles, heck you could buy 2 base model weber kettles or if you are not afraid of buying used (I'm not) you could get away for $50 bucks or less. I have made some SPECTACULAR turkeys on the weber.
How the Chargrillers sucks, let me count the ways.
The paint burns off. Seriously. It even says it in the instructions, you are going to need to repaint it regularly. That line should be in big red letters on the box.
They have no quality control. I had to take pictures of mine, because the line was welded so it would not shut right. They sent me a new one and I had to basically disable the entire thing and install the new barrel.
It retains heat really poorly, very poorly. Uses probably double the Weber.
The engineering is pathetic. The smoke box has shims on the bottom don't line up with the frame. I can see on the website that if you bought one contact customer service, because we screwed something up. It's hard to imagine how you could screw things up worse.
I am going to do all the recommended upgrades and try making some ribs on
I swear by Lump Charcoal, with a little bit of wood chips, personally I prefer mesquite.
I am completely against stuffing poultry, because in order to get the stuffing to a safe temp you have to overcook the rest of the bird. That's hard enough if you don't stuff it. To me I would rather have the meat cooked as close to perfection as possible. With dressings i also prefer contrasting flavors, like berries and such mixed in. Of course all that's subjective, but i have yet to eat a turkey that was stuffed and either the breast was dry or the dark meat undercooked.
I am in fact starting to think roasting a whole bird is kind of stupid. I stopped making whole chickens, because cut up ones were so much more evenly done, just perfect. So the next turkey I make the P.O.S. Chargriller is going to be spatchcocked our more likely quartered.