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“Let the main part of the diet be meat, to the exclusion of all else.” ~ Walt Whitman (1)

Turkey, Eggnog and Egg Custard on Pellet Grill (Carnivore-based Thanksgiving)

posted December 8, 2020


Thanksgiving meal

Yesterday I achieved satisfying results (for a first attempt) with a sausage-stuffed-bacon-wrapped whole turkey, as well as carnivore-based eggnog and egg custard, all prepared in some capacity on my Camp Chef SW with Bear Mountain Hickory pellets (limited experience granted, my favorite pellets so far).

See Thanksgiving meal planning post

Bear Mountain Hickory pellets

Bacon-Wrapped Sausage-Stuffed Turkey

Bacon-wrapped Sausage-stuffed turkey, fresh off the grill
The sausage stuffing

As the centerpiece of my meal, I want to cover the turkey just briefly: the turkey was placed on the grill along with an adjacent drip pan filled with apple juice, and left to cook for about 8 hours on the "high smoke" setting (around 225F), before cranking up to 350F for the final 30 minute stretch. I pulled the bird off when the internal temperature hit around 175F, and the bacon had fused elegantly with the turkey for the most part. The hickory flavor was strong and excellent, and the sausage stuffing was well cooked and added an excellent pork sausage flavor particularly to the more internal meat of the bird. The bacon wrap was most effective on the wings in my opinion, so I decided to start with eating those. Needless to say, I have plenty of leftovers. And it would be dishonest to tell you I didn't pause in the middle of this post to grab some turkey and sausage from the refrigerator.

Egg Custard and Eggnog (Carnivore-based/ Modified Carnivore)

I do want to focus primarily on the results I achieved with the dessert items though. While the sausage stuffed turkey does not seem to be an extremely popular recipe, it was trivial to find more bacon wrapped smoked turkey tutorials across all sorts of websites than I knew what to do with. With the eggnog and particularly with the egg custard, finding grill-based recipes was quite a challenge, and in fact I didn't come across a single recipe advertised explicitly as carnivore-compliant to be made with a grill or smoker. Although I modified my desserts beyond strict "carnivore", I hope this post can provide that framework for those interested.

Note: I used the same ingredients for both of these recipes: eggs and heavy cream as the carnivore base, with the addition of cinnamon and bourbon; both were unsweetened

Hickory Smoked Eggnog (w/ Optional Bourbon)

For 2 large servings:

  • 8 small eggs
  • 4 cups of heavy cream (those with dietary sensitivities should pay careful attention to the ingredients, simpler is better)
  • 1 cup of bourbon (I used Wild Turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt

Note: Due to the current state of my elimination diet, I only had room for one of cinnamon and nutmeg, and I opted for cinnamon; going forward I would probably add 1 teaspoon of nutmeg along with the cinnamon. For those seeking 100% carnivore compatibility, I came across a few custard recipes that used bacon bits as a topping, that may be interesting to try.

I started by filling two small foil cake trays with 2 cups each of heavy cream. I placed the first one on the grill about 20 minutes before the second, mostly because I had 6 total cups of heavy cream and took some time to decide whether I wanted to allocate more towards the eggnog or the custard. I removed both trays from the grill about 40 minutes after the 2nd tray was placed on. The first developed a more solid film across the top, while this film was just starting to form on the second. The resulting scent was reminiscent of vanilla.

I cracked 8 eggs, pouring the yolks in a mixing bowl and the whites in a separate measuring cup. After beating the yolks briefly, I began gradually pouring in the smoked heavy cream and mixing continuously. This was followed by the cup of bourbon and the salt. I whisked this mixture thoroughly and then poured it evenly into the two cake trays used initially to heat the heavy cream. I evenly divided the cinnamon over the tops of both of these.

I poured the egg whites into a small mixing bowl and beat them profusely until a frothy texture was produced.

After letting the primary mixture sit briefly, I finally poured each into the mason jars I had handy, and then folded the beaten egg whites evenly over each.

Two mason jars of eggnog

Although the flavor could probably be improved with nutmeg, and perhaps additional carnivore-compliant ingredients could be incorporated as well, this was one of the first cocktails I have ever made and I think it turned out pretty nicely. Obviously anyone interested in the pure carnivore-diet adherent version of this recipe would have to omit the alcohol, but otherwise, as someone who quite enjoys bourbon I found the absence of sweetener was not a problem in the least. The flavor was rich and faintly smokey. Initially I was concerned enough about using raw eggs to go to the trouble of consulting multiple friends who I knew to have ample raw-egg-cocktail experience, but they assured me I would most likely be fine. And I am glad for that: the egg white texture was very pleasant. I look forward to tweaking this recipe during the impending Christmas and New Years season.

Inspiration: https://www.traegergrills.com/recipes/christmas-smoked-eggnog

Grilled Egg Custard

The finished egg custard in a mini cast-iron dutch oven

For 4 large servings/ 8 small servings:

  • 12 small eggs
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of bourbon (I used a cheaper bourbon I was trying to get rid of; the bourbon flavor was strong, so in the future I would scale back to 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

I used these mini cast iron dutch ovens to facilitate cooking on the grill.

Note: as with the eggnog, in the future I would consider adding 1 teaspoon of nutmeg along with the cinnamon

With the custard I decided just to heat the heavy cream over the stove as I thought it would be a faster process. In the future I would consider using a foil cake tray and placing on the grill as with the eggnog. In any case, I poured the 2 cups of heavy cream, the butter and the sea salt in a small sauce pan and heated on low for approximately 20 minutes, until the butter was dissolved and bubbles began to form.

I cracked the 12 small eggs into a single mixing bowl, and gradually poured in the heated heavy cream and whisked. Many of the eggnog recipes I read stressed the importance of not letting the eggs be cooked by the heat of the mix, the displeasure of which I personally learned from a previous eggnog-making attempt. Once the heavy cream was poured, I added in the cup of bourbon.

Filling the dutch oven with mix
The mixture, pre-cook
The custard on the grill

I carefully filled the two mini dutch ovens with the mixture, and placed them on the grill with lids on for an average of 35 minutes.

Using toothpick to separate custard from dutch oven

I found the custard was stuck to the inside of the dutch ovens, so I inserted a toothpick along edge, pushing it through to the bottom. I then sliced along the circumference until the custard was freed. A certain portion refused to loosen as I attempted to dump the bulk onto a plate, so I used a spatula to scrape the remainder out, which worked reasonably well. With the remaining mixture I made two additional servings, for a total of four large servings.

The custard had a fluffy-egg texture

The texture was relatively smooth, although less creamy and more 'fluffy and egg-like' than I would have preferred. The bourbon flavor was also a bit overwhelming, I would definitely scale that back to just a few table spoons in the future. I would possibly consider increasing the ratio of heavy cream to egg, or even adding something like Greek yogurt or evaporated milk in order to achieve a creamier texture.

Another thing I would potentially do differently would be to refrain from putting the lids on the mini dutch ovens while the custard is on the grill, so as to enable smoke exposure and infuse the custard with a strong hickory flavor. The heavy cream for the eggnog was heated in an open-facing manner and I suspect the custard would benefit from this same treatment. Hickory seems like a safe bet and has tended to be my go to pellet flavor, but I wonder if something like pecan or cherry would serve better for these types of dessert items. That would be another area I would like to experiment with.

I any case, one of my aims in making the custard was to achieve something different in texture and flavor than anything my diet had offered over recent months, and this aim was unquestionably satisfied.

Inspiration: https://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/old-fashioned-egg-custard-recipe/

Conclusion

The full meal; the more observant among readers may notice I got started early on the eggnog...

Although I would make adjustments to each of these in any repeat attempts, I enjoyed "designing" a meal with such limited ingredients. Hopefully my experiment will be of interest to anyone looking to prepare similar foods under similar dietary restrictions. For anyone doing pure carnivore, I want to reiterate, I highly recommend the bacon-wrapped, sausage stuffed turkey. The richness and variety of flavor this meal offers without any seasoning (aside from possibly salt) are excellent. The desserts were fun and I look forward to modifying them as I begin to reintroduce additional non-animal products. Of course, even with those reintroductions in place I am still interested in attempting pure-carnivore recipes, and smoked-carnivore-based-desserts in particular I find highly compelling.