Grilled Turkey Recipe

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By popular demand, please enjoy our recipe for turkey on the grill!
Why grill? Well, a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that it frees up your inside oven for cooking other things. Other than that, the flames in a grill lap the heat up and around the bird, giving it some real convective cooking, something you really dont get in most home ovens. I think this cooks the bird more evenly and as a result, more quickly without sacrificing tenderness.

This recipie can be used on either a gas or charcoal grill. I use gas for this, and although I ADORE charcoal grilling, there's usually so much else going on with side dishes for the turkey, that it's simply easier to toss it into the gas grill, mostly for the ease of regulating the temperature.

That said, if you choose to charcoal, be aware that you'll need to augment the moisture. When propane burns in a gas grill, a by-product of the combustion is water. This is something you don't have with a charcoal grill, so you'll probably want to keep a small pan of water in there to humidify the charcoal grill as the bird cooks.

Be sure to also check out our turkey gravy and savory custard stuffing recipes.

After you've tried it, mail me with how it turned out!

1 turkey, 12 to 14 pounds, fresh or defrosted
2 1-gallon zip bags 2 1-quart zip bags Enough ice cubes for the bags above (see below) 8-10 medium garlic cloves
9-10 sprigs parsley leaves
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 oranges
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2-4 cups chicken stock
1 large onion
4-6 stalks of celery
2 large carrots

Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey cavity and reserve for another use. If your turkey has a metal or plastic trussing clamp, leave it in place. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.

First we'll tackle the common problem of the breast overcooking because the thighs take longer to cook. Basically the dark meat needs to reach 170-175F while the breast only needs to reach 160F. The easiest way to tackle this is to cool-down the breast meat before cooking. This effectively gives the dark meat a head start in cooking and both will come to their proper temperatures at the same time.

Do this one hour before you plan on starting to cook. Fill the gallon bags 1/2 full with ice cubes then place in your roasting pan. Gently set the turkey breast-down, so each breast is nestled directly on its own gallon bag of ice. Then fill the quart bags 1/3 full and place one in the neck hole, and the other in the general cavity toward the neck. Make sure the meat isn't touching any dark meat - thigh or leg. Let this sit for an hour on the counter covered in plastic wrap, then remove the bags and again, pat the bird dry inside and out.

Finely chop the garlic and parsley (leaves only) and place in a small bowl. Add the salt and pepper. With a grater, remove the zest from the oranges and add it to the bowl (reserve the oranges). Add the butter. With your fingers squeeze the butter and other ingredients in the bowl together until evenly distributed. Starting from the neck end of the turkey, carefully separate the skin from the breast meat with your fingers. Push about half of the butter mixture onto the breast meat under the skin and spread it out evenly. Use the other half of the butter mixture to evenly cover the top and sides of the turkey. You can also choose to put a bit of the butter in between the skin of the legs and thighs also, it's up to you. Finally season the turkey with salt and pepper.

Quarter the oranges and place the sections in the cavity of the turkey. Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place and truss with cotton string. Return legs to tucked position inside the trussing clamp or tie them together with cotton string.

Put 2 cups of the chicken stock with the roughly chopped onion, celery and carrots (mirepoix!) inside a roasting pan. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack, and set the rack inside the pan. You can use a good solid roasting pan or just buy a cheap disposable one.

To help eventually remove the pan from the grill, I put down a folded sheet of heavy aluminum foil on the grill, then set the pan on top of it.

Cook the turkey over Indirect Medium heat, maintaining the grill's temperature about 350F. Baste every 1/2 hour or so, and do it quickly - get that lid closed again ASAP! Check the turkey after the first hour. If any parts are getting too dark, wrap them tightly with aluminum foil. If the pan looks dry, moisten it with the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock so the pan drippings don't burn.

Check the turkey again after another hour. Cover any dark areas with foil. The turkey is done when the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thighs is 170-175F and the internal temperature of the breast is 160F. Figure 10 to 13 minutes per pound for total grilling time, or 2-1/4 to 3 hours. (Note: The internal temperatures will rise 5F to 10F during resting.)

When removing it from the grill, if you use a disposable roasting pan, be SURE to support the bottom. DO NOT trust it to hold the weight of the turkey, especially after it's been in the oven for a while.

Transfer the turkey to a platter/cutting board and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. It will remain warm for 45 minutes.

Carve, serve and enjoy!

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