Last Saturday I roasted two 17-pound Honeysuckle White All Natural Turkeys to provide the main course for 30 people. The event was an open house at Deer Creek Motorcoach and Golf Resort that my wife and I are now the latest residents of here in Galax, Va. We had six coaches visiting and I wanted to make a fine impression. So after a quick morning round of golf with some of our guests, I started on the evening meal.
I cooked one bird in an aluminum roasting pan on a large hooded gas grill over indirect heat (flame on one side of the grill) with a packet of Jack Daniel's white oak wood chips over the flame. The second bird went into a Rival electric smoker/roaster with the same chips and white wine in a water tray. I started the second bird an hour before the first because I intended to slow smoke it for almost eight hours. Both birds were stuffed with onion quarters and lots of celery and covered with olive oil and Montreal Chicken Seasoning.
I started around 10 o'clock in the morning with the first bird. The second around 11 o'clock. I made a mistake with the bird on the grill. I should have put it in the middle of the grill, not on one end like I would do with my Char Griller. I caught my mistake in time to rotate the bird and even out the cooking.
The second bird came off the grill when the breast meat reached 175 degrees and still very moist. I let it sit for about 30 minutes. The dark meat inside the pan was not quite done yet. Diane and I then carved the bird up and put the legs and thighs back on the grill for about 10 minutes over high heat until they were just right. Then the wife and I finished slicing it up and keeping all the meat warm in a Crock-Pot.
Next, it was time to take the first bird off the grill. This one was really good, almost steamed in the white wine and smoked at the same time. The skin didn't get crispy as much as the one on the grill, but that didn't matter considering the taste. The breast meat was so tender you could cut it with a spoon. And what a good taste it had -- a hint of smoke and a hint of wine flavor.
Both turkeys went fast along with all the other goodies provided by the residents and guests: baked white beans with sausage, two kinds of scalloped potatoes, sweet potato salad, cranberry chutney, broccoli salad, baked zuchinni casserole, stuffing, sourdough bread, peach cobbler, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and all kinds of cookies. Oh, and we had live bluegrass music, to boot. The evening was a hit.
Its now a few days later, Tuesday as a matter of fact.
Now comes the sad part of this story. We took the carcasses of those happy birds, along with the wings and giblets, and cooked them in a very large stew pot on the side burner of the gas grill for hours. Into the pot went celery, onions, lots of fresh garlic and more Montreal Chicken spices.
It was a windy day and after about six hours you could smell this concoction all over the resort and the golf course. It was maddening. Everyone wanted to know when it would be ready. About 90 minutes before dinnertime, I took the pot off the grill, and took it into the stoveless kitchenette in our clubhouse. Diane picked the meat off the bones and put it back in the pot. Then we moved it to the gas stove inside our coach. The wind was getting a bit strong and I didn't want to fight with a burner going out just before this stuff needed to be done. We planned to add carrots, a bit more onion, green beans, tomato and celery along with rice to this rich broth.
We took the Corian cover off of our stove and propped it up on the back of the stove like normal. Almost. Diane turned it around backward, so it didn't fit exactly where it belonged. Then she needed to leave the coach for a minute. She shut the door hard, and the Corian cover slipped and caught the pot just under the bottom. Off the stove the pot went.
The noise the cover made forced me to turn around in time to see this great big pot of soup fly across my coach. I tried to catch it but all I could do was grab a handle just after it hit the floor on its side. Turkey soup everywhere!
My dog was lapping liquid as fast as he could get his tongue to move. Diane heard the pot crash, so she rushed back in to see the disaster -- the carpet getting soaked, turkey broth rushing toward the front of the coach, and my mom desperately pulling up the area rug.
Well, we cleaned it up while my parents, who were visiting us, drove to the store to purchase some good old-fashioned burger fixin's as a quick substitute for what would have been some mighty fine turkey soup.
The incident at the time seemed pretty bad, but it did make for some funny dinner conversation.
Didn't I post a rule about having to be patient because things can go wrong?
To add to my rule number 4:
Sham Wows do work.
Awning Cleaner also cleans carpet really well.
If you find that new coach smell to be a bit overpowering, you can cure it with 2 gallons of turkey soup!