- 20-25 lb bird. Clean, remove giblets, use for stuffing
or to throw at the cat.
- Fill cavity completely with small
hard whole, unpeeled,
uncored green apples (God DOES make little green apples,
just for this
- Oil bird liberally with Olive oil (so his
wings don't squeak).
- Liberally dot outside of bird with
whole fresh spice leaves: sage, rosemary (parsley and thyme
cover about 1/4 of the surface.
- Lay uncooked bacon
strips over the top, pretty much cover the dang bird.
this with rinsed wet cheese cloth (leave the cheese at
home), about 3 packages worth.
- Wrap next with clean, rinsed,
wet muslin (or old sheets, leave the blankets at home),
make maybe 10
wraps all around.
We used 12 yards to start (including the
neighbor's). It gets shorter and more colorful (see photo!)
in successive years.
- Cover next with 6-8 wraps
of heavy-duty aluminum foil, getting as good a crimped
fold as you
- Wire this hefty lump to a sturdy
wire rack, and (here's the tricky part) fashion a STURDY
wire loop arrangement over the top of the whole magilla,
so you can (1) get it into the fire, and (2) get it out
of the fire.
The Whole Hole:
- Dig a hole 4 ft deep, 3 ft wide, 4 ft long. Do this late
at night so the neighbors suspect the worst.
- At midnight
(38 hours before dinner time), build a tower of firewood
in the bottom of the hole, and torch
(DON'T use gasoline for this!) Use good hardwood,
we use the neighbor's oak. Neighbors are sure handy.
stokin' the fire 'till you have a bed of coals 2 ft deep,
and the logs are all broken down into
takes about 2 hours, and a half gallon of hot
- Scoop out a dip in the middle of the coals
and lower the poor bird into its final roasting place.
as much coals onto the top as you can, then carefully refill
the whole hole with soil.
|Reader reports show that soil composition and the size
of the fire pit hole is very important. Larger pits may
require more coals, and more lead time. All other things
being equal, a 6x6 hole may not cook the bird at all. The
formula above has produced excellent results for many years
in a sandy soil.
If you have soil that is mainly clay or adobe, consider
lining a larger pit with cinderblock and backfilling
with sand, leaving a porous 4x3x4 pit so the coals can "breath".
Avoid pits in nonporous, landfill, soggy or contaminated
soils, particularly if the fire pit has not already been
lined and "seasoned" through heavy use. Experiment.
Have a backup bird. This is an ages-old method of slow
cooking, and, with patience, you will get it right.
- After 36 hours (don't cheat), invite the neighbors over
and give their kids the honor of uncovering the bird. Aren't
you glad you remembered the sturdy loop on top with which
to hoik it out of the hole!
- Hoik it out of the hole.
- Shake off all the excess coals,
dirt clods, weeds, scorpions, cats, and kids before you
take it into the house. Do
the same to the turkey.
- Unwrap the affair on the kitchen
floor. Don't worry, a new layer of wax and it'll look almost
- Here's what you'll find:
- It's all steamy burny HOT, giving
off the most wonderful aromas!
- The apples have melted into
the general mish-mash inside, yielding their juices into
They're flat gone.
- The spices have imparted their color
and intense flavor down into the meat, giving a color almost
- The bacon has kept the whole bird moist
The bones are almost crumbly, and have the
look of having been bleached. Even the
leached out into the
Illustrations (In sequence)
To view a large-size image of any
of the 2.5" images
below, just click the image.
by Dave Norton