BBQ MY WAY: Grilled turkey pointers
November 12, 2017 - bbq set
Now that we are firmly entrenched in the month of November, it’s a great time to talk about grilling a turkey for the holidays. There are a lot of advantages to grilling a turkey as opposed to baking it in the oven, the primary reason being it frees up the oven for all of those delicious side dishes which make every holiday meal complete. Add a little apple wood and you will also end up with a turkey that has a subtle smoky flavor that will make it unique and memorable. Now, for the pointers.
1. Consider conducting a test run by grilling a large chicken or a small turkey in advance. You don’t want to blow it on the big holiday. (Very important)
2. Stuff the cavity of the bird with celery, carrots, onion and apple. This “stuffing” will be discarded once the bird is cooked, but it steams the turkey from within and adds great flavor.
3. If you are using a Weber kettle grill, don’t get a turkey over 16 pounds. You want about one inch of room between the top of the bird and the lid.
4. If a Norman Rockwell presentation of the bird isn’t important (you know, that beautifully bronzed bird on a platter being presented to the entire table) consider grilling the bird breast side down. It won’t look as good but the breast meat will be moister as the juices move down to the breast during cooking.
5. Watch a few YouTube videos on how to grill a turkey. There is so much great info out there that allows you to learn “on the fly.” Take advantage of it.
6. Buy a fresh bird that hasn’t been frozen a day or two in advance. f frozen is your only choice, buy it well in advance so it has the time to thaw out in the fridge. You don’t want to throw a half frozen turkey on the grill or in the oven for that matter. It’s a true recipe for a holiday disaster that I won’t go into here.
7. Don’t be intimidated. Using indirect heat, you are basically turning your Weber into an oven with smokey benefits.
8. How do you set up “indirect heat?” Get a disposable aluminum tray, place an inch or so of water in it, place it in the grill and put hot coals on both sides. The tray keeps the coals where they need to be and also catches drippings that you can use to make some really awesome gravy that is unlike gravy you have ever had.
9. Share the experience with someone. There is nothing like passing down grilling or cooking experiences during the holidays.
10. Have a good meat thermometer and don’t trust those stupid plastic inserts that are supposed to pop out when the turkey is done. Those things are junk. When you test the temperature, check the thigh but don’t let it touch the bone. Once you hit 165 degrees you are good to go.
You’ve got time to do a test run now before Thanksgiving. Give it a shot. I assure you it will become a holiday tradition.
Dave Lobeck is an Edward Jones financial adviser in Jeffersonville by day and a BBQ enthusiast on nights and weekends. Liz is his wife. You can contact Dave with your BBQ, cooking or grilling questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit their YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/BBQMyWay.