Beer Butt Turkey
The Tented Bird Waiting to come off the Grill
The Tented Bird Waiting to come off the Grill

Beer Butt Turkey
I had been meaning to update my Beer Butt Turkey recipe I posted before Thanksgiving. We cooked a 13-pound bird that came out great although it came close to being remembered as “that time you screwed up Thanksgiving and set the bird on fire.”

A need to add to my words of wisdom listed on the first post and on the Cliff Notes Version. Within 10 minutes of putting the bird on the grill I had a flash fire. I was using my brother’s gas grill, something that was last cleaned….. I doubt it has been cleaned. Anyway, I recommended tenting the bird in aluminum foil. I would like to amend that slightly. I think the tent should be done so that any grease or drippings that get on the inside of the foil drips down into the pan, not the grill.

I’m not sure what set it off but I was watching the grill’s main thermometer and saw it shot up from around 450 to 800 in about 10 seconds. Not good. I opened the lid and flames were going everywhere. I ran to the house screaming like a little girl that we had a flash fire. My brother opened it up and doused it with a bottle of water. The resulting steam killed the flames instantly. The accumulated crud in the bottom of his grill had been lying in wait, just for the right spark.

We relit the fire and 2 and a half hours later we had a perfect bird. Another 20-30 seconds and it would have been bad.
In my instructions we said we used two deep disposable aluminum pans to hold the bird. That saved us. I found where the flames had melted a hole in the first pan. If the flames had reached the second pan then the drippings from the bottom of the pan would have probably started a second fire we might not have recovered from.

So maybe the way to do it is to tent the bird with the first pan then drop the tented pan into the second pan. This might help keep the grease in the pans, rather than dripping down and feeding potential flames.

We gave the bird a new name: “Rasta-Bird” as the crisscrossed bacon gave it a dread locked look. A few added raspberries and we had quite the friendly bird. Kinda looked like Sid the Science Kid on PBS.

Also, if you copied by original recipe I realized I left out an ingredient from the wine mixture used to steam the bird. I’ve updated the two recipes to include the stick of butter I left off.

And I also want to emphasize that going a little long in the cooking time is better than going too short.

Once again I believe the combination of brining and beer butt cooking made one of the best turkeys I’ve ever eaten.


The Chef and his Masterpiece
The Chef and his Masterpiece



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