Friday, November 4, 2011

Are You Ready?

It's November and for many people that means cooking up a great big turkey.

Ohhh. No, that wasn't the kind of turkey I meant. Let me be more specific.

For many people who are writers and participating in NaNoWrimo, November means cooking up a great big 50,000 words or so turkey.

Which is not to say that the NaNo turkey draft can't be shaped into something a lot prettier down the line. Just like that big ugly turkey will become a delicious entree.

Someday that frenzied first draft could look something more like this:

This year I am hosting Thanksgiving and participating in NaNo, so even as the temperature cools things are gonna be getting hot for me. Between planning out side dishes and subplots it is easy to become overwhelmed, but I am trying to take one thing at a time. 

Here's my plan. Every day I am going to try and get a few words down and in between I'll search the Internets for the best way to make turkey gravy without using that gross bag of innards that comes inside the bird.

So far my Nano count is lagging, but I already have one solid Thanksgiving plan - putting some turkey on the grill. There will definitely be a big bird in the oven, but since I have a large family it seems like a good idea to have a little extra turkey on hand, and for that we're gonna take things outside. I've even found the perfect recipe for it courtesy of Cook's Country. If you are also thinking of mixing things up this Thanksgiving - you can try it too!

And if you have tips for making the best of NaNoWrimo or Thanksgiving - I'd love to hear them!

Grill-Roasted Turkey Breast for Charcoal Grill

Grill-Roasted Turkey Breast for Charcoal Grill
Bone-in, skin-on turkey breasts cook relatively quickly, but most recipes still produce dry meat, bland flavor, and soggy skin. For a grill-roasted turkey breast recipe that turned out smoky, well seasoned, and juicy, we seasoned the turkey throughout using an overnight salt rub. We then wiped the skin dry and pierced it (to allow some of the fat to drain away), then applied a second rub just before grilling, which created a crisp, coffee-colored skin.
Serves 6 to 8 

During cooking, resist the urge to peek under the lid, as heat will escape and prolong the cooking time.
  • 1 whole, bone-in, skin-on turkey breast (about 5 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup wood chips, preferably hickory
  • 1. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Mix 2 tablespoons brown sugar and salt in bowl. Loosen skin from turkey and rub with sugar and salt mixture, following photos 1 and 2. Tightly wrap turkey with plastic wrap, place on plate, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • 2. Unwrap turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Mix remaining tablespoon brown sugar and pepper in bowl. Rub mixture under and over turkey breast skin. Using skewer, pierce turkey skin all over, following photo 3.
  • 3. Soak wood chips in bowl of water to cover for 15 minutes. Open bottom vent on grill. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 100 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan in center of grill. Pour half of coals into pile on one side of grill and remaining coals on other side, leaving pan in center. Scatter wood chips evenly over coals, set cooking grate in place, cover (open lid vent completely), and let grill heat for 5 minutes. Scrape cooking grate clean.
  • 4. Place turkey, skin side up, on center of grate (grill temperature should register about 400 degrees). Cover and grill until skin is well browned and crisp and thickest part of meat registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (grill temperature will cool down to about 325 degrees). Wearing oven mitts or using wad of paper towels, transfer breast to cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve.


  1. NaNo and Tday? You're ambitious! This recipe looks great.

  2. Your post is reminding me of the year my stove failed and I had to finish the bird on the grill! :) This looks like a much better recipe. And YAY! for doing NaNo AND hosting thanksgiving dinner, you are a brave soul.

  3. We always grill our turkeys. My dad swears by apple wood. He puts the wood from our apple tree in with the bird, and I think a tray of water under the turkey to get it smoking... but I could be wrong about that part....

  4. I have never grilled a turkey--but now I am definitely giong to have to give it a try!

  5. Your analogy is so clever! And I have never made a turkey like this either!