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Learning, Practicing and Celebrating Outdoor Recreation

“Let the main part of the diet be meat, to the exclusion of all else.” ~ Walt Whitman (src)

Plan: A Carnivore Thanksgiving Meal on the Pellet Grill

posted November 26, 2020

Raw turkey adorned with bacon weave

My goal for Thanksgiving this year is to cook up a meal fully compliant with the carnivore diet, the elimination diet for which I am in the reintroduction stage. With the exceptions of cinnamon and bourbon, I am aiming to do exactly that. Details to follow.

Along with a turkey a bulk order of other assorted meats, I went and picked up a bag of [these] hickory pellets from the local meat shop I have been frequenting. The service is awesome there, and moreover these are some good hickory pellets. I find while the bag is smaller, the pellets produce a smokey aroma that is ever so slightly sweeter than Traeger Hickory pellets.

Getting right to it, I will be upfront in saying the meal I intend to prepare tomorrow is a bit off the cuff, and will be relying on a fair mix of internet-sources, intuition and blind guesswork.

Sausage-Stuffed Bacon-wrapped Hickory Smoked Whole Turkey

I just heard about the practice of spatchcocking a few days ago when the MeatEater network sent out an email covering the topic in one of their articles. I will definitely stick this one in my back pocket, but for this holiday I wanted to stick with the whole turkey.

After letting the bird finish thawing in the refrigerator, I melted two sticks of butter on the stove, and poured the melted butter in a bowl with about 1/2 cup of sea salt. I liberally applied this mix throughout the turkey, tucking as much as I could up under the skin. I was hoping this would serve as an effective brine and also give the bacon weave something to stick to. Which brings us to the bacon weave.

I had never heard of a bacon weave until the other night when I was investigating bacon-wrapped turkey recipes. This may be entirely incompetence on my part, but I found it difficult to assemble a bacon weave of my own, and had to redo it a couple times before I was satisfied with the pattern. In my defense, I was working with three different, and differently sized, sources of bacon.

Before applying the bacon weave, I thawed three pounds of pork sausage (the ground up variety with no casings), used paper towels to dry them out as best as I could, and shoved them in the turkey cavity. It took some doing to get the sausage neatly packed inside, but the three pounds did fit. At this point I took the foil on which my bacon weave was assembled, flipped it over as elegantly as possible (which for me was not so elegantly), did my best to realign, and then took some of the remaining bacon I had and attempted to patch up the bald spots. Far from the most beautiful bacon wrap job the internet has ever witnessed, I will give myself credit for getting the bacon to stay on the bird as much as it has.

Sources of Inspiration:

Bacon Wrapped Turkey:

How to assemble a bacon weave:

Bourbon-Cinnamon Egg Custard, On the Grill

Hopefully I am not jumping the shark too quickly with these simultaneous re-introductions, but I have really wanted to try making a dessert item on the Camp Chef (on a grill in general, really). Custard, cheese cake and eggnog seem to be prime candidates for carnivore diet dessert items, and of these I was concerned about the dairy involved with these cheese cake and figured custard would lend itself better than would eggnog as a first-time dessert-on-the-grill item. Of course, I plan to use heavy cream, eggs, a small amount of bourbon and a sprinkling of cinnamon, which maybe reads just as adequately as the ingredients of an eggnog recipe. Maybe I will do both.

If I develop any side affects from the cinnamon and bourbon, I will scale back to pork shoulder, ground beef and bacon for a week or so, all of which have been serving me well over the past weeks. My goal is to have a wider variety of foods and seasonings reintroduced by Christmas (particularly I would like to have yams or sweet potatoes as part of that meal, and maybe some dark chocolate as well).

In any case, I went out to get a mixing bowl tonight, and by happenstance came across these:

Mini cast-iron dutch ovens. There was a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale, and I figured these would be perfect vehicles for heating the custard on the Camp Chef.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I will update either tomorrow or this weekend with the results of my efforts. I still do not anticipate making any relevant Black Friday purchases, as the next big purchases I want to make are my hunting guns and some additional freezer space, neither of which are immediately pressing.

As for my plans, I would like to read some more of Meateater's The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering and Cooking Wild Game: Volume 2, Small Game and Fowl, and maybe browse the internet for some good turkey hunting video content. But, I also need to pick up the Orvis Fly Fishing Guide again, I went out this past weekend and my casting has already deteriorated a bit from lack of practice. Although I do not plan to target them this season, I was excited to hear about the recent planting of Steelhead in the Boise River, which I understand to be an annual event.

Well, before this drags on for too long, I have some preparations to do. Hoping all is well. Among many things, I am thankful to now live in this beautiful state which abounds with hunting and fishing opportunities, and for the comfy little private space I have to enjoy cooking outside. I am thankful also for the generosity, work ethic and general quality of all the online communities and sub-cultures spanning the niches with which this blog is concerned, the educational opportunity for those of us learning such a daunting range of skills owes in no small part to the abundant excellence and amicability of all those involved in those things.