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The Washington Post‘s Jim Shahin is a barbecue alchemist. He takes an ordinary piece of meat, waves his hands over it (usually with salt and pepper in each fist), and sticks the protein into a black box. Hours later, from a thick plume of smoke, he’ll pull out a blackened beauty glistening in its own sweat, as transfixing as a recently unearthed artifact. It will take all your willpower not to tear into the smoky flesh with both hands as Jim begins the painstakingly long process of letting his barbecued meats rest.

How do I know this? Jim is a friend. I’ve stood there in his kitchen countless times waiting over his carving board, hawk-like, so that he’ll provide me with some small preview slice of brisket before the rest of the barbecue hits the table. So when he told me about his smoked turkey for Thanksgiving, I was all over it. I know the obsessiveness that goes into his barbecue.

I’ve got the smoker primed for Jim’s preparation next week. It may not turn out as well as his, but it will be far superior to those oven-roasted yawners.

Don’t feel like smoking? Here are some other non-traditional turkey recipes: