Riding the South

The blog of Scott and Jenny Morris

Nope, not this turkey

​Nov. 22, 2015

By Scott Morris

A Thanksgiving tradition has developed at our household that requires me getting up at an ungodly hour, going outside and freezing.

The annual task of cooking the turkey fell on me a few years ago when I purchased a smoker.

Slowly smoking a giant bird outside over the fire at a consistent low temperature requires diligence and patience. Timing the turkey to come out of the smoker fresh for the Thanksgiving feast apparently requires more skill than I possess.

For the last two years, I have set the alarm clock for 3:30 a.m. with visions of a delicious, golden brown bird resting on the family table. And for the last two years, I have jolted awake at the 3:30 a.m. alarm and thought, WTF (where’s the fire)?

The problem has been the weather. It always seems to be in the low 20s with a wind chill of minus 99 on Thanksgiving morn.

So, I bundle up in enough wool and goose down to make a skinny man sweat in a Siberian blizzard and trudge off into the dark and cold unknown. Challenged by the lack of mobility and dexterity caused by too much clothing, I place the apple wood chips into the smoker and fire up the gas burner. Then I wait for the temperature to reach a perfect 220 degrees.

And I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait until I finally realize there is a frozen turkey on my patio and his name is Scott.

This is the problem. My reliable gas smoker, which works great in mild weather, can’t seem to reach the optimum temperature in Arctic conditions.

It produces smoke, but not enough heat. The Thanksgiving turkey might be ready in time for Christmas.

So, after fighting this battle for about an hour, I end up toting the bird back inside, turning on the electric oven, setting the timer and tossing in the turkey. Then I go back to bed.

This Thanksgiving, however, will be different. This Thanksgiving, I will start a new tradition. This Thanksgiving, I will not set the clock for 3:30 a.m. with visions of a golden brown bird resting on the family table. This Thanksgiving I will not jolt awake at 3:30 in the morning and wonder where’s the fire. 

This Thanksgiving, I will sleep until I wake up. I will turn on the oven, toss in the bird and set the timer.

If there’s a frozen turkey this holiday, it won’t be me.