The Host that Smokes

Summer spent all morning getting ready for everyone to come over for Thanksgiving dinner. We struggled to get Autumn to help as usual, and we’re just counting the days until we show her, imperically, that she’s not pulling her weight around the house. In fact, she’s completely delusional, as is often the case.

Summer really wanted to get a table and chairs set up early, so I took out some trash and dumped it at Dwight on the way, and brought back a big and little table, as well as chairs. Then I quickly made the butter and seasoning concoction that I would be injecting into the bird. I made it about a block down the road before I realized I forgot to actually take the turkey with me, so I had to turn back.

The smoker started reliably well, but I kind of forgot how foolproof it was and unnecessarily started it twice. It got up to temperature much more quickly than I prepped the bird. I wished I had done all of that at Summer’s where I had more room to work. I was in and out of gloves to get the grill set up, and then had trouble getting the drip pan in under the grates. I just needed to think my process through better before starting. My syringe clogged during my very first attempt to inject the first breast, but I was eventually able to clean that out and made it work.

The turkey seemed to be rising in temperature pretty steadily, but it was pretty clear it wasn’t going to be done by 4 when we told everyone we would be eating. I eventually had to crank the heat up from the already-high 295 all the way up to about 350 to finish it off, because I wasn’t sure of the accuracy of the temperature probe, and I didn’t think to use my wireless Meater probe alongside the one integrated into the smoker. Ultimately I lost the apparently cool part that I was measuring, and every other part I probed tested over 160.

Just before it finished, I glazed it with some of the leftover butter and seasoning from the injection, and mixed in some honey and bourbon. The skin was super crispy, and I think the glaze softened it up a little bit, but it could have also been the covered ride back over to Summer’s.

Mom, Dad, Bác Vân, and Doug were all there with the girls. Julie was somehow last after I told her not to rush on account of the turkey. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait any longer than it took me to carve the turkey, and we all dug in.

All of the food was great. Summer made a bunch of sides and a ham, and the turkey was at least done, and I thought it presented well. I thought it was a little bit salty, could have used some more smoke, and ended up not being as moist as I expected. I assumed that was all because of my cook time and temperature, so next time I’ll take much more care to start earlier. Hopefully we can pick up some more turkey on clearance in the coming days.

After we ate, Julie wanted to play a game, so the girls brought out Phase 10. She had to teach Mom how to play, and the game wasn’t entirely without drama, but I think most everyone had a good time while Dad, Bác Vân, and Doug watched from the couch. We played through more phases than I expected, and then everyone filed out relatively quickly. Summer was proud of how quickly everything broke down and cleaned up, and then she was off to bed while the girls started on another jigsaw puzzle before bed.

Less heat; more smoke!

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