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El Gato Bandito

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  • These are simple ingredients, but I did it once for my in-laws (10 years ago) and they won't let us have Thanksgiving with them unless I repeat this effort.

    Once you get the bag off the grill and onto a platter, cut the bag open.

    The bird won't be as pretty as a baked turkey, but it should prove itself after you snag a sample of your end-product.
    WARNING: If you kept it moist, via that water pan, the paper bag can stick itself to the grill surface. I recommend using some spatulas to pull that bagged bird off the grill. I tried do do it by hand one time and the meat was so tender that I de-boned the bird in the process.
    Once again, it will smoke like you've got a small safety hazard.

    Pull it off the grill around 10:00 or 11:00.
    Typically, I get up around 6, 7, or 8 on Thanksgiving morning and add some new charcoal to the fire, along with some more wood. How you do this is best defined with how you master your use of coals and wood. (Lighter fluid? other methods? it's up to you)

    You'll also need to refill the water pan, with more water/worsterchire/pepper.
    Periodically, check the fire, to keep it good and full of wood throughout the evening. Don't feel like you need to hover over it though.

    Before going to bed (11:00 or 12:00, for me), load it up with as much wood as you can and sleep with dreams of smokey goodness. Typically, you won't need to top off the water pan, but you might want to check it.
    Once you get it going, that thing should smoke like crazy. (I've had neighbors call to make sure they didn't need to call the fire department.)
    I usually start the preparations between 5 and 7, the night before Thanksgiving. The bird usually hits the smoke around 6 to 7:30.
    NOTE: Once the bird is bagged, it can be hard to tell which side is up. Make sure you put it on the grill in the same way that you would imagine it to be served. If you get it upside down, the meat will end up DRY.

    Use the door on the side to mess with how much oxygen you feed the fire.
    Add chunks or cut up logs of pecan wood, on top of the coals. Apple wood works too, but this recipe has always used pecan wood. Add as much wood as you can fit into the allowed space.

    Put the bagged bird onto the top level of the smoker, up by the lid and put the lid on tight.
    Putting the water pan into the smoker is a function of how you want to work around the fire. Do it before you start the fire... Do it after... It's your safety, so it's your call.

    Fill the bottom of the container for the coals with plenty of charcoal and light it off. Let them get good and HOT.
    Put the whole thing into a brown paper grocery bag. (Yes, that's what I said.) Then roll it up so that it is snuggly contained inside the bag.

    Fill the water pan to within 1" or 1/2" from the top, with water. Empty 1/2 to 2/3 of a large bottle of Worstershire into the water. Add 2 to 3 Tablespoons of black pepper into the water.
    Find a mid-sized whole turkey.

    After removing the parts from the cavity and fully rinsing the bird, give it a thorough rubbing of salt and pepper, until the skin is effectively seasoned. (Don't be afraid to use a lot.)

    Cut up a large white onion into a few pieces and shove that into the cavity.
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