10:24 p.m.: Aw, man, it's over. Now it's time to take off my bra and help with the dishes. We had a great time. Hope yours was good too.
Eric makes a roux for you.
And Lei-Leen reorganizes the fridge so we will have room for beer.
I need to take the laptop off the counter so we have room to serve food, so I guess that's it for the liveblog. I hope everyone is having a fun and delicious Thanksgiving!
3:59 p.m.: The bird is 20 degrees over the recommended temp for white meat and the legs are practically pulling themselves off the turkey and doing a little dance. It's tented. Eric's mom's dressing is in the oven. The potatoes are cooling. The thighs are done. I think we got this.
3:42 p.m.: A friend stopped by to drop off treats. We drank wine. Now I need to mash some potatoes. The bird should come off in a half hour or so. Everything is falling into place.
1:58 p.m.: Oooh, here come the potatoes! Smoked mashed potatoes are so good. I'm more excited about these than anything else today.
1:32 p.m.: The smoker door is propped open for now. Eric has the neckbone on the stove for stock to make gravy. The house is starting to smell good.
I pulled the turkey thighs off the smoke and am going to finish them in a very low braise and use the pan liquid for even more gravy. I also made a batch of vegetarian gravy last night. In conclusion, we will not lack for gravy.
1:06 p.m.: Crap. The temperature is too low so I opened up the door to let more oxygen in and the latch just...disintegrated. Half the parts fell into the fire, so there's no fixing it. The door is being held shut with a cheap metal patio table at the moment.
12:20 p.m.: The last hour was intense.
We put the hot (firey hot) coals in the smoker and put the rest of the fuel on top of those.
Today we're smoking with chunks of pecan wood, which has a light but distinctive flavor. And we are in Texas, after all.
Eric assembled the rest of the grill and left it to get up to temp.
And then came the spatchcocking, which is a hilarious way of saying "cut the backbone out, break the breastbone, and push the bird flat so it cooks more quickly."
Üter watches the proceedings with interest.
I slathered the beast with herbed garlic butter, Eric seasoned the extra thighs, we had a brief squabble about where to put the temperature probe (we opted for the breast but I'm always paranoid it's in there too far/not far enough), and then it was go time.
Bye, bird, see you in a few hours. Now we disinfect the kitchen again, eat some lunch, and wait.
Go go go!
11:06 a.m.: A lot has happened in the last half hour. Eric started the fire.
We use a chimney starter, so you don't have to use lighter fluid, which can lend a petroleum flavor to the food. This way you just stuff an Austin Chronicle in the bottom, put the coal in the top, light the paper, and let the fire do the rest.
Everything is taking a little longer today because it's so damp. (If you're coming for dinner, sorry, it might be later than we said.)
Smoking is fun but not very good for air quality.
We also foiled and filled the water bowl. This will help moderate the temperature of the smoker throughout the day.
10:35 a.m.: The turkey is rinsed, trimmed, and patted dry. The water made an interesting protracted farting sound as it left the body cavity. My fingers are pruney from handling wet poultry. Yuck. Now to bleach the sink and wake up Eric to start the fire.
10:01 a.m. I'm up! Happy Thanksgiving. It's pouring rain, which I hope does not play hell with cooking times.
We have a 15-pound turkey and a few turkey thighs that have been brining in a salty sage bath since yesterday afternoon. Dry brines are supposed to be better, but I've noticed the herb flavor gets into the meat pretty nicely with wet brines.
Raw poultry is pretty repulsive, but we are going to gloss right over that and get to it, just as soon as I drink a little coffee and get the kitchen ready to briefly become a biohazard.
I'm going to keep updating this post throughout the day so as to not spam everyone's Twitter feed, so check back soon.