Alex's Recipes



Dave's Firepit Turkey 2003


Narrative and photos by Dave Norton
Thanksgiving 2003


To study up on the fine art of firepit cooking, please see the 2001 recipe and narrative "Firepit Turkey" by Dave Norton. Preparation of the bird is critical for it to do its best buried in a bed of coals for 36 hours. Preparation of the fire pit is equally critical! Dave's original article is listed as "Firepit Turkey" under "Poulty". Click the link in the scrolling menu to the left (if you see it) or jump directly to it here.


To view larger images of the festivities, just move your mouse pointer over any one of the images!

Dave writes: "I dug the hole by hand several years ago, and lined with concrete block two years ago. I got the wood ready last weekend, Ellie and I prepared the
bird last evening, and I started the fire at 3:30 this ayem. She went in the Smokin Hole at 6. I set up a draft vent pipe to feed air to the bottom, and it's smokin now. No constabulary. No problems. It was a bit dewey this ayem, so the risk was pretty low."

I dug out our hole on Saturday and stacked the first of the wood inside, ready for the ceremonial dousing with gasoline and the tossing in of the First Match (can you say WHUMP?). We're praying for heavy fog on Tuesday
night/Wednesday early morn. The grass and trees in our area are still pretty dry. Ellie is campaigning for a screened dome over the pit, made of rebar, covered with 1/4" hardware cloth, with a door in it to throw in more wood. Maybe next year I'll just build a storage shed with a door at each end over the spot, and do our cooking "indoors".

Remember, this is a day and a half before serving time!
The chimney vent is new this year.
Here's the TurkeyMeister having hoiked the ill-feted bird from his final roasting place ... As always, the juice from the apples inside permeates the meat and the fat from bacon laid over the spices on the outside drives the spicy flavor and smoky color through the whole carcass. One last view from the Magic Porch of the sunset.
2004 note: The difference came when we hoiked the boid out of the hole on Thursday afternoon and found that it wasn't as done as in previous years.  Turns out the loose dirt in the hole was damp from the rain, and damp soil makes a poor insulator compared to dry soil. About 20 minutes in the nuclear furnace topped it off nicely. Betty Crocker says it's done when the big leg bone can be twisted out of its socket easily, which it could. The meat thermometer only read 160 (the holder says 180 for poultry, but bottom line: it was DELICIOUS.)



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