Thanksgiving without an oven! – Part II

Thanksgiving without an oven! – Part I

What did we have to work with? To be clear, we did have a small oven. It was similar to a small toaster oven and could fit a small to medium size casserole dish, (or pie plate). We also had a grill, not a full size grill, but still pretty large.

I started the planning with how to cook the turkey. My first thought was to deep fry it! I’ve never done it myself, but I’ve eaten it and it makes a great turkey. We did not have a turkey deep fryer so I started looking into buying one or making one. Both were options, but I wasn’t really excited about spending too much money on this. The second concern was that we were living in Morocco at the time, and while they had propane tanks in abundance they were not the most reliable. They use propane for almost everything; we had 4 tanks the size that you would use for your backyard grill, 1 for hot water, 1 for our stove, 1 for our grill, and 1 extra; (because the hot water one was guaranteed to go out whenever we had a house guest taking a shower). My concern with the propane tank and the turkey fryer was that its connection would be a very makeshift method, and the tank itself would not be all that reliable to begin with and it would be used in close proximity to a large vat of hot oil. From a safety standpoint it was not the best plan out there.

Back to the drawing board. That’s when I remembered an article on a Cooking Light magazine I had seen the year before. This article, Slow-Roasted Turkey with Cream Gravy, was more than a recipe; it talked the reader through how to take apart a turkey before cooking it. Intriguing, if the turkey didn’t have to be cooked whole that gave me a lot more options.

I found a disposable aluminum roasting pan that with a little modification I could fit in the grill. The grill was not even close to being able to fit the whole turkey, but it would fit a roasting pan filled with a deconstructed turkey.

The day before Thanksgiving I was ready to jump in. I had the turkey from my local butcher. When buying poultry you can specify what condition you want it in. I prefer mine with no feathers, and cleaned up as much as possible; and I did receive it in pretty good shape. However, there was no nicely enclosed bag found inside! Instead there were all, or what seemed like all, of the internal organs inside and the longest neck I’ve ever seen. None the less I pushed forward. I followed the instructions line for line and it worked! It wasn’t the most fun piece of cooking I’ve ever done, but it was doable. I did however have to keep telling myself; if I can’t stomach doing this, then I shouldn’t be eating turkey. – Demolition complete! Thank goodness, someone poured me a glass of wine!

After that following the rest of the recipe was a piece of cake, and cooking in the grill worked just fine. To make the conversion from directions written for an oven to the grill I paid attention to temperatures and ignored times. Luckily our grill had a temperature gauge on the outside which was a great help. I preheated the grill just like I would an oven. After placing the turkey in the grill I adjusted the flame to keep the temperature as consistent as possible. I used a simple meat thermometer to keep tabs on how the turkey was cooking and it all came together pretty well.

The turkey actually had to be split and cooked into different batches, but cooked much faster than normal. This is also the moistest turkey I’ve ever cooked. Now having done this once I would do it again even when I have an oven available.

Thanksgiving without an oven! – Part III

I could have used some more refrigerator space too!

I could have used some more refrigerator space too!

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