It’s that time of year again. That time to figure out how you are going to cook your bird. Are you going to roast, deep fat fry, sous vide , or simply make a BBQ turkey?
I’d usually suggest smoking your turkey, which gives your BBQ turkey a delicious smokey flavor.
I’ve smoked many turkeys on my Weber Smokey Mountain Roaster, but last year I decided to smoke it on my Weber Kettle. I was very pleased with the results. The Weber Kettle Grill achieves higher temperatures easier than my smoker, thus the skin crisped up quite nicely. You won’t even sacrifice any authentic smoked flavor in your BBQ turkey by using the kettle grill. One more fantastic reason for barbecuing your turkey is that it frees up your oven for other important things like pies, casseroles, dressing, and yams.
The second step for a delicious BBQ turkey is the brine. I have brined and bought pre-brined turkeys for a while now with mixed results. The smoked turkey meat is always juicy when you brine your bird, but the skin doesn’t always come out crisp. I read an article last year by Russ Parson on dry brining turkeys and was inspired to try it on my smoked bird. I have to mention that the turkey came out delicious, especially the skin. This is now my default way of making BBQ turkey.
BBQ Turkey Recipe
1 10-13lb whole turkey thawed
6 Tablespoons of kosher salt
Zest from 1 lemon
2 Sprigs fresh rosemary
Things you’ll need for the grill:
Charcoal Briquettes, about a chimney full
A handful of apple, hickory or pecan wood chunks
An aluminum roasting pan
STEP 1, Dry brining the turkey:
This dry brine is based on Russ Parsons’ recipe.
Cut rosemary leaves and mix with lemon zest and salt. Rub all over the turkey being sure to get an even coat. Place the turkey in a leak-proof plastic bag and refrigerate for three days. During the three days be sure to massage the turkey daily and move the liquids around.
After the third day and a few hours prior to cooking the turkey, remove the bird from the bag and dry it off with paper towels. Allow the skin to dry.
Let the bird come to room temperature one hour prior to putting it on the BBQ.
STEP 2, BARBECUING THE TURKEY:
One chimney starter full of charcoal briquettes should be enough for a turkey. Set up your grill with an aluminum pan-filled water, or liquid of your choice, at the charcoal level of your grill. Once lit, pour the charcoal briquettes on both sides of the aluminum tray. Place some apple, pecan, or hickory chunks on top of the coals. Put the lid on and let the grill warm up a bit with the vents open. Place the turkey on the grill above the water pan and cover. Let it grill for 30 minutes and then close the vents. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the thigh without touching the bone. The turkey is done when the temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check on your turkey periodically and make sure it’s not browning too much. If it looks as if it may be getting too much heat, double-check your vents and make sure that air isn’t getting in. You can also use aluminum foil to tent parts of the bird if they are cooking too quickly. It should only take a few hours. Let the meat rest ten minutes before carving.