Cooking the Holiday Turkey on the Grill
With relatively mild winters sweeping across the globe, warm weather is providing a rare opportunity for preparing holiday meals – outside. While family gatherings bring many relatives together, the kitchen and serving areas can get quite cramped with guests and multiple dishes being prepared simultaneously.
Cooking main dishes such as turkey on the grill can help ensure everyone has ample room in which to spread out and frees the oven for other tasks. And not least of all, cooking turkey on the grill offers a unique flavor and an unmatched level of moisture and tenderness.
Grilling turkey can also be ideal if you’re pressed for time – the meat cooks quickly over the open fire. Of course, some preparation is required beforehand, as you’ll need to brine the turkey in water and salt for 13 hours.
Next, bathe the turkey in fresh water for an hour. Rub seasonings, lemon and butter on the skin and the turkey is ready for the grill. Put a pan to catch drippings in the middle of your grill, and surround it with coals. Then, place the turkey directly on the rack above and cook for two hours, basting it with butter every 15 minutes.
A charcoal grill
At least 20 pounds of charcoal
Deep grill pan
6 cups chicken stock
1 medium onion
1 cheese cloth
1 stick of butter
-Preheat your charcoal grill using the indirect heating method. Add charcoal to the charcoal holders and place them on opposite sides of the grill. The ideal temperature to shoot for is 250°. The idea is for the heat to work around the bird acting like an oven.
-Rinse and pad dry your bird making sure it has fully defrosted.
-Take out the neck bone, gizzard, heart, and any other innards and put them in a small pot. These will be used to make our baste.
-Add 6 cups of chicken stock to the pot along with 1 medium loosely chopped onion. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Once the 45 minutes is up, strain the ingredients leaving only the basting liquid. Do not baste the turkey just yet!
-Stuff the cavity of the bird with quartered lemons and limes. This ensures moist and flavorful meat since our bird will be on the grill for several hours.
-Place the bird in a grill baking pan.
-Melt 1 stick of butter on low heat in a separate small pot. Add a cheese cloth (large enough to cover the bird) to the melted butter, and mix until covered.
-Place the buttered cheese cloth on the bird. This will hold the butter on as well as keep the legs and wings tucked in.
-Place the turkey on the middle of the grill and cook for 45 minutes.
-After the first 45 minutes, cover the turkey with the baste. Add about 10 bricks of charcoal per charcoal holder.
-Every 45 minutes you will be re-basting the bird and adding charcoal to keep the heat up. Cooking times vary depending on the size of the bird. Expect 12-15 minutes per pound. A 15lb bird will take roughly 4 hours to cook.
-Once the bird is fully cooked, take it off the heat and tent for an additional 10 minutes. This will allow the juices to set up making for easier carving.