It is officially Turkey Season, which means roasting pans are full, stuffing is being made, and smokers/grills are running overtime! One of the most overlooked parts of a delicious Turkey dinner is the prep, in this case the fuel used for the cook. Whats the point in spending days brining a turkey if you’re just going to cook it with a subpar source?
This season I am cooking far more turkeys than I can even count. Aside from the brine process the other factor that remained consistent was the fuel. Which was Quebracho Lump Charcoal from B&B to start. With the weather so cold and needing to properly retain heat on a 1000 gallon reverse flow offset, starting with a hefty base of coals is very important. The Quebracho Lump Charcoal from B&B was perfect for that, and yes not all coal are created equally. Far too many times in the past have I received twigs, scraps and even heavy calcium deposits from my lump, none of that here.
Is the most important part when running your offtset. Even if you don’t have a 1000 gallon, it’s very important for keeping the cooking process going steadily. My process for starts with the bed of coals, then building a log cabin style stack of oak and mesquite wood.
I chose these for the turkeys for their particular properties, the oak is solid and dense allowing it to burn longer and hotter. The mesquite is very aromatic and gives a beautiful color and spicier flavor to the turkey. This plays very with the natural sweetness that comes from turkey. So when smoking meats keep in mind what elements each wood has, because it will affect the overall end result of the cook.
Living here in Georgia, where mesquite is not readily available. Its very useful to be able to go to my local store and stock up on it and use it with my cooks. Also mixing it with an easy to find wood like oak, allows it to last much longer.
So as you thaw, brine and prep your turkey this holiday season, make sure to think of what fuels your fire. As not all coal is created equally and your wood selection can make or break you meal.
Let me know what you’re cooking with this holiday season in the comments below.