Tales of turkey-grilling disaster: Sunset readers write in

Avoid these classic--and often hilarious--mistakes that Sunset readers have made when grilling their Thanksgiving turkeys

A tradition is kindled

It's Thanksgiving 2007. The house is full of hungry people; the table is formally and beautifully set, with the good china and silverware, for 18 friends and family to squeeze around.

Because we have large gatherings and share the leftovers, we always do two turkeys. One is cooked traditionally in the regular oven, and the main one is done outside on the barbecue. I have been grilling for years, am very good at it, and can grill anything perfectly. After barbecuing our turkeys every year for so many years, I have it down to a science.

Or so I thought. This year, I got involved with our guests and didn't check on the barbecue for a bit. My wife was in the back room, whose window looks out at the area. She dashed to find me, proclaiming that the turkey was on fire! Figuring she was confused or joking, I smiled at her and continued chatting with friends. Of course, she interrupted with some vehemence and forced me to go look at my annual barbecued turkey.

Oops! It was flaming! That bird was hot! The drippings had somehow missed their catch pan and ignited, and that turkey was indeed on fire! Completely charred skin! I turned the hose on the bird, dousing it thoroughly. I started to throw it in the garbage can, but my wife again interrupted me to decree that, heck, we might as well finish cooking the darn bird and see how it turned out.

So, like any good husband obeying the wife, I finished grilling that turkey, and brought it inside to our amazed and amused guests. I carved it up, and you know, my wife was right. That may have been the best turkey ever! Extra flavorful, of course, but still very juicy, tender, and beautifully done. Not only that, our guests who love turkey skin still ate some of that burned, crispy skin—it certainly had no fat left in it! We all voted that the turkey should flame every year going forward. By comparison, the oven-roasted beauty was so normal, and therefore not nearly as good as that flaming bird turned out!





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