Pandora's Turkey

Submitted by Sylkred

 
Equipment and ingredients needed:
 
A covered, kettle type grill
5 pounds charcoal briquets
1 18-20 pound turkey (larger, if it will fit on your grill, covered)
2 yellow onions
5 ribs celery
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning or dried sage
(I use Tony Chacere's creole seasoning and a little bit of garlic powder on the outside of the turkey..sprinkle on desired amount.
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter or margarine (for rubbing on the outside of the turkey.  I use the melted margarine)
Salt or seasoned salt if you prefer
Pepper
Onions  I use about 2 medium sized onions
A few metal or bamboo skewers (or needle and thread for trussing)  I just use the metal thingy that comes with the turkey that holds the legs together.
 
Start with a clean grill, free of old coals and ash.  Ignite approximately 5 pounds of briquets.  Five pounds may seem like a lot, but this is a special procedure.  If you have difficulty determing five pounds, simply buy a 10 pound bag of charcoal and use half.
 
While you're waiting for the coals to catch, prepare the turkey for cooking.  Remove the neck and giblets from inside the bird; reserve for making gravy, if required.  Wash the bird thoroughly with cold water.  (Don't use soap, as one of my mother's very tidy friends did once!)
 
Pat dry with a towel, absorbing as much moisture, inside and out, as possible.  Place the turkey in one of those disposable, heavy-duty aluminum roasting pans, available at the supermarkets and variety stores.
 
Coarsely chop the onions and celery.  Put in a large bowl and mix with 1/2 cup melted butter and 1 to 2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning or sage.  Place a handful of this aromatic mixture inside the neck cavity.  Pull the pin over the cavity and thread closed, using a small metal or bamboon skewer
 
Put the rest of the mixture in the body cavity and fasten closed with another skewer.  Secure the legs to the tail using the metal fastener found on most turkeys, or abandon the metal fasteners altogether in favor of trussing the bird (provided that someone, somewhere taught you how to perform this procedure)
 
Rub the entire surface of the turkey with about 1/2 cup of melted butter or vegetable oil. (I sprinkle the Tony Chacere's seasoning and garlic powder on the turkey after basting it with the butter.)  Place the turkey breast side up in the roasting pan and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Some people prefer the finely ground white pepper because it adheres to the surface better than the coarser black pepper.  Feel free to use seasoned salt, if desired.  If you use the Tony Chacere's, you might not want to use any salt.  If you do use salt, use just a little bit.  The Tony Chacere is kind of salty on it's own.
 
Check the fire.  The coals are just right when they are completely covered with fine gray ash.  Once at that state, (usually in 20-25 mins), push them to either side of the fire grate in equal quantities, leaving the center free of briquettes.
 
Put the cooking grill in place.  Position the roasting pan and turkey in the middle of the grill and put the lid on.  Leave both the top and bottom vents completely OPEN.
 
Within minutes you will start to hear some action in the roasting pan and smell that delightful aroma.  The turkey will be done when the coals have burned out, usually around 2 1/2 hours!  You can tell the colas have burned out when the turkey no longer makes any cooking noises inside the grill and smoke has stopped coming out of the vents.
 
Remove the lid - finally - amd vpila!  A beautifully roasted, mahogany brown, crisp-on-the-outside turkey.  Carefully move the bird from the roasting pan to the carving board, and let it rest `5-20 mins before carving.  This allows the juices to return to the interior of the meat and makes the turkey much easier to carve.
 
Add any juices that accumulate on the carving board to your gravy, or use for moistening the stuffing.
 
After dinner, you'll have one more thing to be thankful for; Your oven won't need cleaning!!
 
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