HOW TO: Grill a Turkey

charcoal

Here’s a recipe that might help reduce the amount of dishes and cleanup. The result is a turkey with a smoky flavor and crisp skin and comes from Barbara Ries’ A Tradition Is Born.
Use a well-brined bird (overnight). Serves 12

INGREDIENTS for the brine
1 12-lb. turkey
1 cup kosher salt
1 lemon, halved
1 orange, halved
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 gloves garlic, chopped
4 bay leaves
1 TBSP dried thyme
1 TBSP ground black pepper

INGREDIENTS for the rub
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 TSP chili powder
1/2 TSP cayenne
1/4 TSP ground black pepper
2 oranges, zested and cut into wedges
8 TBSP unsalted butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped

1. Brine the turkey by combining salt, lemon, orange, onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and pepper in a 12-qt. pot or cooler. Add 1-1/2 gallons of cold water and stir together. Squeeze lemons and oranges into brine and add halves. Submerge the turkey, weigh down with dinner plates if necessary. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. The morning of Thanksgiving, remove the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Make the rub by combining garlic, parsley, chili powder, cayenne, black pepper and orange zest in a large bowl. Using your fork or hands, work butter into ingredients to form a paste. Rub all over turkey. Put orange wedges, onions, carrots and 3 cups water into disposable roasting pan fitted with a rack. Set the turkey on top.

3. Build a medium-sized charcoal fire in a kettle grill, arranging the coals so they cover only one half of the bottom grate of the grill. For a smokier flavor, add water-soaked wood chips to coals. Place cover on grill and open the top and bottom vents of the grill, let the coals burn until and instant-read thermometer inserted into the top vent of the grill reads 500°F. Transfer roasting pan to the top grate of the grill on the side opposite the coals. Cover grill and cook for 30 minutes then cover breast with aluminum foil.
Cook turkey, adding water to roasting pan as necessary and replenishing the coals every hour or so to maintain a temperature of roughly 350°F. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the turkey’s thigh resisters 165°F. That’s about 3 hours for a 12-lb. bird. After grilling, let sit covered with foil for 30 minutes.

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  1 comment for “HOW TO: Grill a Turkey

  1. November 19, 2009 at 12:58 AM

    Hey Rick. It really does work grilling the turkey. We have done it many times. I prefer to split the coals onto both sides so that the bird sits in the middle. Of course the key is the aluminum foil to protect the breast. It definitely cooks faster and has that nice smokey flavor!

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