Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Smoked Turkey

Across the country this Father's Day, families are drinking beer, playing football and grilling burgers, wings, and kebabs. And every year in Warwick, my family has our grandfather's smoked turkey.

We pass the long drive to his house with smoked bird on the mind. To begin with, why smoked turkey for Father's Day?

More importantly, why hasn't anyone seen him make it – not in some twenty-odd years? His recipe is secret, its origin a mystery, but one thing is certain: that is some serious heaven on a platter.

His freezer is stuffed with these enormous birds, trussed in their sooty butcher's twine and ranging in color from deep bronze to a burnt caramel black. They're so pungent that, even frozen, you still catch heady whiffs.

Yet when asked for the recipe he smiles enigmatically, mutters something about soy sauce and brine under his breath, and that's that. We may never know more, save that we savor them all, right down to the smoke-impregnated twine.