Have A Happy, Smoky Thanksgiving
The holiday season is among us, and there isn’t a better way to kick off this season than by delivering a gorgeous bird on Thanksgiving Day.
Now, in many parts of the U.S. – and the world over – there are two things that generally embody these next 2 months: cool weather and tradition. Cool weather or not, coming together over a hot grill, and delivering a juicy, smoky barbecued turkey is a process that will likely become an honored tradition in any household that gives it a shot. So, get your boots, coats, gloves, and hats ready (or, if you’re one of the lucky ones… your flip-flops and shorts), and continue reading to become a BBQ Turkey Master.
Prepare the Bird.
The process of delivering a tasty turkey actually begins on the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Why? Well, you have to make sure the turkey is properly thawed. You don’t want to throw a half-frozen bird on the grill!
Once the bird is thawed, and Thanksgiving Day has arrived, it’s time to get the main dish grill-ready.
Obviously, first things first, you’re going to need a good bird. A fifteen or sixteen pound turkey works the best. Remove the neck and other goodies from inside the turkey, and then rinse the bird thoroughly – inside and out – with cool water.
Melt one stick of butter. You can just pop the butter in the microwave in thirty second increments until the butter liquifies. Now, give the turkey a good rub down with the melted butter. Make sure you coat the entire bird. Once the bird is buttered up, season it with the herbs and spices of your choice, and set it aside.
Fire Up the Grill.
Please note that you’re going to need a charcoal grill with a large cooking surface in order to pull this off. A cast iron grilling surface is great, but a typical grill surface will work too.
You can prepare the charcoal however you usually do it (just make sure you use plenty). However, it’s best to use two charcoal chimneys filled to the brim with charcoal. Light them both at the same time, and let them smolder for about fifteen minutes, or until the flames are licking at the coals at the top of the chimneys. Take a foil pan – 9×12 is perfect – and set it down on the center of the ash grate in the bottom of your grill. This will act as a drip pan. Dump the hot coals from the two chimneys into the grill, evenly surrounding the foil pan with hot coals. Now place your grilling grate on – cast iron or regular – and you’re ready to go.
Put the Bird on the Fire.
Getting the bird onto the grill will be sloppy. Pick up the turkey, and place it on the grill directly above the 9×12 foil drip pan. Place the turkey breast-side down on the grate. This is an often overlooked technique that always delivers a juicier bird, and it actually speeds up the cooking time as well. Place the cover on your grill, and let the coals do their thing!
With the lid on, and the bird grilling breast-side down, the cooking time is typically 7 minutes per pound (as long as you’re not trying to grill this turkey in 10 degree weather).
Always check the internal temperature of the bird with a thermometer. At 165F the bird is done, BUT if you actually leave the bird on the grill until your thermometer registers 165F you will end up with a dry turkey. Take the bird off the grill once it reaches 150F – 155F. Let the turkey rest for at least fifteen minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise as it rests. The bird will reach the recommended temperature, and the end result will be a juicy turkey.
So, there you have it! What could be better than a perfect, juicy, and smoky turkey? Give this method a whirl, and you may just end up doing it year after year.
Photo Copyright: tdoes / 123RF Stock Photo