A wonderful time was, indeed, had by all. We missed you, Anne. But thanks for sending all the great books! They found many good homes. Thanks also to Johanna Hines from Norton for review copies, and Karl Pohrt at Shaman Drum for some of the same.
And, of course, a big thanks to everyone for coming. It was lovely to spend an evening in the backyard together, and a great excuse for me to barbecue a turkey. If only I’d remembered to have someone snap a photo of me in my Fiction Writers Review apron…
Most importantly, though, here’s the recipe for the barbecue sauce for the bird. Marinate the turkey in it for about 24 hours beforehand. And insofar as timing, you can calculate about 10 minutes a pound on a hot grill. Maybe 12 minutes at the most. Our 15-pounder took exactly 2.5 hours. Once you get closer to 20 pounds, the cook time slows down a bit. The recipe specifies a heat range for when it’s done, which I think is 160 degrees in the thickest part of the breast or thigh, but double check on that to be safe.
Every 20-30 minutes of cooking time you’ll want to pop the lid, re-baste, and add fresh coals. (If possible it’s best to have two people here–one basting, the other adding fresh charcoal–so as to cut down on heat loss.) Speaking of coals, an aluminum drip pan should be set directly below the bird to catch the drippings with the coals banked around the outside so as to avoid grease flare ups. Also, I like to start with traditional briquettes, which hold heat longer, but then move to hardwood charcoal because it catches faster as you’re feeding the fire. You can put a mix of water and apple cider in the pan for a bit of steam heat flavor, too.
Finally, don’t be alarmed by how black the turkey gets as you’re cooking! It’s not burning; that’s how it’s supposed to look. This process seals all the flavor in. The whole thing makes a great Thanksgiving Turkey, I must say. My brother-in-law, Dean Bakopoulos, and I undertook this one many years running. He also stands by the orange and sage version as an alternative, or when you need to make two birds. Here are the links from him:
Let’s do it again soon. Cuban pork roast next time?