Cooking Louisiana - Rotisserie Turkey

Rotisserie Turkey:
Rotisserie Turkey is a really easy and delicious way to cook the big bird. Preparation of the rotisserie turkey is the hardest part and takes some planning but the result is a totally juicy turkey... something you'll seldom get in a traditional baking. 

First off you must make sure your pit can physically handle a 12 lb. bird. Most commercially sold rotisserie kits can handle it. I did this one on a charcoal pit, not a gas grill. I had to customize the thing and remove the grill to make it fit. 

If you have a small pit and have no left-right burner control simply use a doubled sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil to shield the turkey from direct heat.

To the store:

12 lb. (or smaller) turkey
10 lbs. charcoal (more is better in case you get in trouble)
Cajun Injector (Creole Butter & Garlic) or whatever you like.
Tony's or, if you get the kit, some Cajun Shake.
Garlic Butter Cajun Blast
2 Aluminum pans; one to catch some juices and one to put the carvings in.
2 packs of turkey gravy mix or make your own.

Serving for lunch time:

You want to get the bird spinning around 6:30 AM. and have it done before 11:00. If you get it off at 11:00 you still have time to carve it and make your gravy.

The night before: Clean the pit and load it with charcoal (to one side). The turkey will go on the other side. Be sure you have a meat thermometer.

Turkey Prep: (You can do this the night before also)

Pull the giblets and neck out and wash the turkey. Leave the wire holding the drumsticks together in place. Inject the turkey liberally and sprinkle the seasoning inside and out. Tie the turkey wings and legs to the body with cooking string to keep them from dangling once it gets done.

Set the turkey on the rotisserie to be sure all is physically okay; in other words "it works".  The butt of the bird is nearest the fire. Why? because the thigh joint takes the longest to cook. 

You haven't started the fire yet... don't worry... the bird's not going to spoil.

Rotisserie TurkeyOnce everything is set, crank up the fire. Note: the reason I'm going in this direction is so you don't burn your hands off dealing with possible adjustments. The turkey is up there ready to spin and it's a done deal.

Now light the fire.

If you're using a gas grill, light one side; the side opposite the turkey is on. Same with the charcoal pit; one side turkey, one side coals.

Pit temperature:

Here's the trick: If you have a pit with a thermometer in the center keep it at 365F. Why? The heat of the fire is "indirect" therefore to maintain a 350 temperature on the turkey the fire must be a little hotter. It's not quite like cooking in the oven in your house where the heat is even. Add charcoal when needed.

Cooking:

Rotisserie TurkeySpray Cajun Blast on the outside and in the cavity every 30 minutes. Don't open the pit just to look at it; you'll slow down the cooking. 

If everything goes well the turkey will be done in about 3-4 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check the thigh temperature. NEVER rely on a time calculation or the little pop-out button. Once the thigh temp. reaches 180F.. let it cook another 15 minutes, then, take it off the pit and let it sit for about 15 minutes covered then carve it. While it's sitting you can make your gravy.

Carving a turkey:

Once you're done with the carcass put it in a pan and put it back on the pit to smoke for another hour. Save it to make your Turkey and Oyster Gumbo.

Enjoy...

Jack

 

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