First, remember when you cleaned out the turkey and took out the neck, heart, giblets, liver, heart, and that lump of fat? Put these into a large pot. Add a halved onion, couple of stalks of celery, a carrot or two, fresh herbs (in this case tarragon, sage, thyme -- rosemary is also good.)
Now fill the pot to the top with water and let it simmer all day. This will be your stock for making the gravy. Let this simmer all day long, adding water occasionally to keep the level up. This will do two things: 1) make your house smell great all day long and 2) create a wonderful rich stock for the gravy (which will be described later).
Back to the bird. Pat it dry, salt and pepper the cavity fairly liberally. Into the cavity stick one small onion (halved), one apple (quartered), one lemon (quartered) and a big bouquet of herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, and whatever else you like. If you are a garlic person, it’s a good place to stick some of that as well). Take two sticks of butter, softened. Chop up more fresh herbs and mix it into the butter till you have a nice paste. Put the bird in a roasting pan, breast up, elevated either on a v-rack or in my case I have a trivet like metal piece that raises the bird about 1 inch above the pan. Quarter another apple and throw it directly in the roasting pan around the bird.
Two Very Important Steps
One. 20 minutes before you put it in the egg (or oven), take a one gallon zip lock bag full of ice cubes and lay it over the breasts for the 20 minutes. Remove the bag of ice just before putting it in the egg.
Two. Last steps prior to putting the bird in the egg (or oven), take your butter paste and liberally apply it all over the bird. You can work some under the skin if you want to, but its not necessary. Then, open a bottle of white wine (most any good white will do), and pour half the bottle all over the bird and in the cavity. DON’T drink the rest of the bottle, you will need it for the gravy.
The Egg Set Up
Inverted plate setter with the little green BGE ‘feet” on top, and the roasting pan on top of the feet. Key here is to have a heat barrier and sufficient air flow under your roasting pan to avoid any scorching in the pan.
I set up as full a load of lump as I could (almost to the top of the fire ring, there was maybe a 1 inch gap between the lump and the bottom of my plate setter). I added one good chunk of apple wood. I didn’t want a ‘smoked’ turkey. When it was done, the turkey had a nice hint of smoke. Its your call as to how smokey you want yours to taste but remember, a turkey will absorb a lot of smoke, so take it easy. I got a good established fire going at 325 degrees. I let it burn for about 45 minutes prior to putting the turkey in. I found that a full load of lump at 325 degrees lasts only about 8 hours, so for a 20+ pound bird, it gets a little close.
My turkey weighed in at around 21 pounds. At 325 degrees it took a good 6 ½ - 7 hours to be done. During the cook I regularly basted it with a bulb baster (about once every 20 minutes after the first hour).When the skin started browning, I tented it loosely with aluminum foil until about the last hour, when I removed the foil to let the skin crisp up and come up to the color I wanted (a nice deep golden brown). I didn’t check temps until the last hour or two. The goal is to have internal temps of 160 in the breast and 180 in the thigh.
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (438g)|
|Recipe Makes: 5 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 53 (13%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 5.9g||8 %|
|Saturated Fat 1.7g||8 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 1.9g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 1.6g|
|Cholesterol 63mg||19 %|
|Sodium 63.3mg||2 %|
|Potassium 543.2mg||14 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 44g||13 %|
|Dietary Fiber 5.1g||20 %|
|Sugars, other 38.9g|
|Protein 18.8g||27 %|
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Calories per serving: 403
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