November 18, 2009

Free Yourself and Your Oven; Grill the Turkey

Time for the annual turkey post.

It all started with Thanksgiving 2006. Expecting a crowd for the big meal, I couldn't work out a way to get everything in the oven since the turkey was so large.

We had to figure out how to get everything cooked on time. The microwave wouldn't do it. Ah ha! What about using the grill? Would that work? My husband placed the turkey (in the pan) on the grill to see if the lid would close. It did. Since it was already Thanksgiving morning, I frantically searched the Web for turkey grilling instructions. After finding several versions, my husband and I created our own variation.

All twelve of our guests showed up. We announced that the turkey was on the grill. Amazed, all the men went out onto the grilling deck to witness what they'd never seen before -- a turkey on the grill!

They didn't bother with the games on TV, they wanted to watch the turkey. There was a problem with that. The guys kept opening up the grill lid to see the turkey! Opening and closing the grill lid slows down the roasting with all that cold winter air. It took longer than expected due to the spectator interference and the meal was still late. However, the results were fabulous and we agreed to grill the holiday turkey in the future.

Fast forward to summer 2007. I was shopping for a new gas grill for my husband's birthday. After all, if he was going to grill the turkey from now on, he needed a better grill.

I asked the salesman if grills came with windows. No.

I asked if I could buy a "turkey cam." He laughed hysterically! No, they don't make cameras for the inside of a grill.

I bought the grill in spite of the lack of desired features.

A few days later, I went to my favorite kitchen gadget store. Telling the salesperson about the problems with the spectacle of turkey grilling, she had a brilliant a remote digital thermometer!

When I enthusiastically presented that thermometer to my husband, he was skeptical. Very skeptical. I was tempted to return the thermometer with such a reaction, but we kept it. It was several months later before the debut of the remote thermometer at Thanksgiving 2007.

I prepared the fresh turkey by rubbing it with olive oil and Herbes de Provence--a mix of basil, savory, fennel and lavender. I placed the turkey in a standard roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack. I put chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan to create moisture during the roasting process. The culinary sage in the garden was still looking great, so I added fresh leaves to the chicken broth. I handed the turkey off to my husband. He programmed the remote thermometer and agreed to keep the grill lid closed.

I was free and my oven was free! I worked on the side dishes without having to worry about the turkey.

The remote radio control sat in the kitchen. Several hours later a voice said "your food will be ready in five minutes." The thermometer had worked! We double-checked the temperature with another thermometer and the two agreed...the turkey was done.

The Herbes de Provence and the fresh sage provided great flavor. The turkey was moist from the method of grilling. Our guests all agreed that it was the best turkey...even if they didn't have the fun of watching it grill!

Story by Freda Cameron, November 2009; Photo added Thanksgiving 2008;

My recipe (Your results may vary. I'm not a chef!)

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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