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Grill-Roasted Turkey

Grill-Roasted Turkey


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Ingredients

  • 1 12-14-lb. turkey, giblets and neck removed, brined (click for recipe), at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 1 apple, cored, quartered
  • 1 red onion, peeled, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Special Equipment

  • A charcoal chimney; 2 cups wood chips, soaked in water for at least 2 hours (optional)

Recipe Preparation

  • Place a large disposable aluminum pan in the bottom of a charcoal grill; add 2 cups water to pan. Fill a charcoal chimney with charcoal; light.

  • Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Place apple, orange, and onion in cavity. Tie legs with kitchen twine. Rub bird inside and out with butter. Season skin lightly with salt and pepper.

  • When coals are covered with ash, spread half on either side of disposable pan. Set top grate on grill. Place turkey on grate over pan (do not allow any part of turkey to sit over coals). Cover grill. Insert stem of an instant-read thermometer into hole in hood. Maintain temperature as close as possible to 350° by opening vents to increase temperature and closing vents to reduce it, lifting grate with turkey to replenish coals as needed using charcoal chimney. If using wood chips, scatter a handful of drained chips over charcoal every 30 minutes.

  • Cook turkey, rotating every hour for even browning (lift the grate with the turkey on it; rotate grate 180 degrees), until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165° (juices should run clear when thermometer is removed), about 2 3/4 hours.

  • Transfer turkey to a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 1 hour before carving.

Nutritional Content

9 servings, 1 serving contains: Calories (kcal) 600 Fat (g) 6 Saturated Fat (g) 2.5 Cholesterol (mg) 345 Carbohydrates (g) 6 Dietary Fiber (g) 1 Total Sugars (g) 4 Protein (g) 123 Sodium (mg) 270Reviews Section

How To Grill A Turkey Breast

If you’re hosting a smaller group for Thanksgiving this year, grilling a whole turkey might be more food than you need or want. To avoid a fridge full of leftovers - try grilling a turkey breast, which depending on the size of your group’s appetite is perfect for about 4-6 people and takes much less time to cook than a traditional, whole turkey.

I created a flavorful compound butter using citrus and fresh herbs, half of which is used to rub between the skin and the meat, and the other half is melted and basted on to the skin of the turkey to create a flavorful, crisp, golden brown skin, which in my humble opinion is the best part of the turkey anyway.

This recipe is prepared on a charcoal grill but you can easily adapt this for a gas grill like the Genesis II, or even a Weber smoker. Start by creating a medium-hot fire (about 350-400 degrees) with an indirect cooking zone. I like to use the Weber char-baskets to bank the charcoal to each side of the grill, and a large disposable drip pan in the middle.

Soak apple or cherry wood chips in water for about 30 minutes, then sprinkle the drained wood chips on the charcoal. Once the wood is smoking and the temperature is set with your iGrill, place your turkey breast upright on the grill over the indirect zone, it should be able to stand up on its own but you can use a roast holder if you need. Close the lid and let the turkey breast do its thing.

Note: Recipes often call for unsalted butter, but I prefer salted butter in this recipe as it’s the only salt used and I think it helps season the hard to reach meat underneath the skin.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned salt (such as LAWRY'S®)
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Preheat an outdoor grill to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Place turkey breast-side up in a roasting pan.

Put water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add butter, seasoned salt, bouillon cubes, and black pepper to the pot stir basting liquid well to combine.

Draw up 30 milliliters basting liquid in a marinade injector inject throughout bird. Pour remaining liquid into bottom of roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil.

Bake turkey on the preheated grill, basting every 30 minutes, until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 3 1/2 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Remove turkey from grill, keep covered, and allow to rest in a warm area 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.


Foolproof Grilled Turkey Breast with Butter and Herbs

Years ago we started adding a whole grilled turkey breast along with a whole roasted turkey on Thanksgiving. I have a nice size group with my brother and sister in law, their family and ours, but as time went on we started to realize everyone likes to eat only the white meat. When it came to leftovers for everyone to take home there would hardly be any white meat left, and no one wanted the dark.

So now we have it down to a science, three whole turkey breasts on the grill. For our family it works, the flavor is amazing, everyone loves it and there are plenty of leftovers for everyone, who by the way, always enter my home with to-go containers. Another big bonus to grilling turkey breast is that my oven is freed up for all the delicious sides.

Now this concept might not work for every family. I’ll be the first to admit that a traditional whole roasted turkey looks beautiful when pulled from the oven on Thanksgiving day and I know there are many dark meat lovers out there who look forward to it, but you might want to consider making an extra turkey breast just for leftovers to pass out.

Grilling a whole turkey breast is also great for a smaller group or if you just have a taste for turkey on the grill though out the year. It’s slathered with a garlic herbed butter, it’s so moist and juicy, never drys out and the grilled flavor takes it over the top, what’s not to like?

Just like the song my herbs of choice are parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and of course butter and garlic.

I buy the deep foil pans like the one on the right, the one on the left is too shallow, and I like to double them for extra stability.

I mix a compound butter with the herbs and garlic but then I like to half melt the already room temperature butter so it’s really soft and I can easily brush it over and under the skin.

The breasts get propped up in the pan by a ball of heavy duty tin foil that I form and position it underneath the cavity, otherwise the breast will not be stable and fall over. They don’t take long to cook at all, I think max is an hour and fifteen minutes for a six to seven pound breast and you can rest it for an hour tented with foil when its off the grill and it will still be hot.

We love, love, love to use an electric knife, it cuts the turkey like butter. Walk into any thrift store and you’ll find a bunch of them, they were very popular back in the day, not much any more but we use ours every Thanksgiving.

This is pure deliciousness and it looks pretty fanned out on your platter!

If you’re wondering about gravy, well I make it a week ahead of time with some turkey wings that I pick up and roast, there are many recipes you can find on the web for make ahead gravy. I love making the gravy ahead of time, no stress, worrying and rushing around to make gravy at the last minute, just heat up and go. There will be drippings in the foil pan which I save or add to my already made gravy or to make more the next day.

The food most definitely plays a staring role on Thanksgiving Day, but family is really what it’s all about!

Follow me on Instagram to see what I’m cooking up daily.


INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 whole turkey (10–14 pounds)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium-high indirect cooking, preferably a three-zone fire (see the note below). Make sure the grates are clean. If using charcoal, put a drip pan under the indirect side of the grill for gas, empty and clean the fat trap.

2. Stir the salt, cumin, paprika, and pepper together in a small bowl. Trim the excess fat and skin from the turkey without exposing any meat. Sprinkle as much of the cumin salt as you prefer evenly over and inside the turkey, patting gently so it sticks. (You can prepare the turkey to this point, cover and refrigerate it up to a day in advance then let it sit while you heat the grill.)

3. Put the turkey on the indirect side of the grill, breast up, so the thighs are as close to the fire as possible without any danger of fat dripping onto the flames or pilot lights. Close the lid and cook until the internal temperature at the thigh, away from the bone, is 165°–170°F, 2 to 2 1 ⁄ 2 hours. Also check the temperature at the breast if it is below 155°F, you can reposition the bird so the breast is closer to the fire, or turn up the heat on the burner closest to the breast if using gas. Keep checking the breast every 5 to 10 minutes until it registers 155°F at its thickest point.

4. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, until the internal temperature at the breast comes up to 160°F. Cut the breast halves off, then across into slices. Slice the rest of the meat off the bone and serve.

Grill-Roasted Turkey with Oniony Thyme Salt
Substitute dried thyme and onion powder for the cumin and paprika.

Grill-Roasted Turkey with Sweet Spice Salt
Omit the paprika add 1 ⁄ 2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Grill-Roasted Turkey with Lemon-Oregano Salt
Omit the cumin and paprika add the grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 teaspoons dried oregano.

Note: Cooking Whole Birds on a Gas Grill
Heat the grill and turn of the inner burners. Leave the ignition burner on high or medium-high and the other outside burner one or two notches lower. Put the bird on the grill breast up, as close to the hottest burner as possible with the legs facing that burner.

Grilling chickens and turkeys this way, after 45 to 60 minutes of cooking the internal temperature of the breast can be as much as 20°F lower than the thighs. So after you check the progress at that point, adjust the heat level on the burner closest to the breast, reverse the position of the bird, or even move the breast directly over the fire, so that breast and dark meat are ready at the same time.

Note: Cooking Whole Birds on a Charcoal Grill
You have some options: You can push two-thirds of the charcoal to one side of the drip pan, the remainder to the other side. Or if you have a big enough grill, go with half and half but position the bird so the breast will be farther from the coals than the thighs. You will have to do the same fine-tuning to finish the breast once the dark meat is done or nearly done, as described for the gas grill above.

Note: When There is No Room for a Three-Zone-Fire
If your gas grill only has two burners (or three close together) or if a three-zone fire and a drip pan are too tight a squeeze in your charcoal grill, go with a typical two-zone indirect fire.

To grill a whole or spatchcocked bird, position
it so the legs are closest to the fire. Cooked this way, depending on the heat retention of your grill, the breast can lag even further behind the thighs and legs. Once the dark meat is done, turn the bird around or even move the breast directly over the fire to finish it. (If you’re cooking on a gas grill, make sure the heat is at medium or lower.) Cook times using a two-zone fire will probably be a little longer than for a three-zone fire.


  • For the Brine:
  • 3 quarts ice cold water
  • 2/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 whole turkey breasts, about 6 to 7 pounds
  • For the Herb Butter
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium chunk of apple wood or other light smoking wood
  • 1 disposable foil tray
  • Type of fire:three-zone split
  • Grill heat:Medium

To make the brine: Whisk together water, salt, and sugar in a large container until salt and sugar are dissolved. Submerge turkey breasts in brine. Place container in refrigerator and brine for 8 to 12 hours.

Right before removing turkey from brine, stir together butter, garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.

Remove turkey from brine and pat dry with paper towels inside and out. Using fingers, gently separate skin from meat underneath breasts. Spread 1/3 of herb butter under each breast. Spread remaining 1/3 of herb butter all over outside of breasts.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on either side of the charcoal grate and place a foil pan between the two piles of coals. Place wood chunk on one pile of coals. Cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place turkey breasts on grill grate situated over foil pan, cover, positioning top air vent opposite of wood chunk. Cook until an instant read thermometer registers 160°F in the thickest part of the breast, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove turkey from grill and allow to rest, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove breasts from bone, slice, and serve.


Grill roasted turkey is easier with a small bird

It’s hard to cook a 30 pound turkey. It is actually near impossible to nail it. All sorts of tricks. Cover the breast. Baste. Put a damp sock on it.

OK. I made the last one up. But you get the picture. Here’s the secret. Start with a small bird. 10 to 12 pounds is perfect. Easier to move around. Way easier to cook evenly.

And you don’t wind up with 20 pounds of leftovers. Or enough turkey for 20 people. Which makes it perfect for smaller gatherings. I’ve been known to make barbecued turkey for six people. Why not? It’s like a really big chicken at 10 pounds.


Preparation

Step 1

Place a large disposable aluminum pan in the bottom of a charcoal grill add 2 cups water to pan. Fill a charcoal chimney with charcoal light.

Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Place apple, orange, and onion in cavity. Tie legs with kitchen twine. Rub bird inside and out with butter. Season skin lightly with salt and pepper.

When coals are covered with ash, spread half on either side of disposable pan. Set top grate on grill. Place turkey on grate over pan (do not allow any part of turkey to sit over coals). Cover grill. Insert stem of an instant-read thermometer into hole in hood. Maintain temperature as close as possible to 350°F by opening vents to increase temperature and closing vents to reduce it, lifting grate with turkey to replenish coals as needed using charcoal chimney. If using wood chips, scatter a handful of drained chips over charcoal every 30 minutes.

Cook turkey, rotating every hour for even browning (lift the grate with the turkey on it rotate grate 180°F), until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F (juices should run clear when thermometer is removed), about 2 3/4 hours.

Transfer turkey to a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 1 hour before carving.


Grill-Roasted Turkey

For Thanksgiving this year I tried my hand at roasting a turkey on the grill. The resulting bird was crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside, and only took a few minutes longer than roasting it in the oven. Also, adding woods chips imparts an authentic smokey flavor that really made the turkey stand out on the Thanksgiving table. Lastly, it frees up the oven for other endeavors!

Also, when grilling a turkey (or roasting it in the oven, for that matter), you want to use a v-rack (often called a roasting rack). We just started using one recently and it’s amazing how evenly it cooks the bird, since it allows air to circulate around the entire turkey. Depending on how your grill plates run, though, the v-rack may fall through the plates to prevent this, put the v-rack on a grill pan.


(note: when making this I actually cooked two birds, so the pictures don’t reflect the ingredients list below)

You’ll Need:
one turkey (8-12 lbs), thawed with neck/giblets/etc removed
1 cup sea salt for brining
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp each fresh sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme (dried is okay in a pinch)
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
a few big handfuls of mesquite wood chips

When grilling a turkey, you’ll want to pick one that’s under 12 pounds. Anything bigger and the bird will start to burn on the outside before it reaches its optimal internal temperature.

A crucial step in smoking a turkey is brining it, because smoking can quickly dehydrate the bird. To brine it, place the bird in a big pot. Dissolve the sea salt into a couple cups of water, and pour it over the turkey. Continue to add water until the turkey is fully submerged in water, stirring it around to mix the salt together. Stick it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, take it out, rinse it thoroughly in cold water, and pat it dry with paper towels. Put it in the fridge (on some paper towels) and let it air dry for 30-45 minutes as you get the rest of the ingredients together.

Set the butter out to soften for 30 minutes. At the same time, soak the wood chips in water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the wood chips and set them in a smoker box or make a small container using tin foil.

Chop the veggies and herbs coarsely and place them in a bowl. Mix in 4 tbsp of the softened butter with your hands. Take the mixed ingredients and stuff them into the turkey. You don’t need to pack them in super tightly, but they should be snug. Don’t worry if it all doesn’t fit. Rub the butter all over the turkey, and be sure to sneak a little butter under the skin that covers each breast as well. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over both sides.

To properly smoke the turkey, you’re going to use indirect heat (otherwise the turkey would burn well before being cooked through). Put the wood chips over the burner that you’re going to leave on while cooking the turkey and preheat the grill by putting all of the burners on high heat. Turn all but one burner off (leave that burner on high – you’re looking for a temperature of about 300-350 degrees). Place the turkey breast-side-down on the v-rack, and place the v-rack on a grill pan, placing the turkey on the unheated side of the grill.

After an hour, flip the turkey breast-side-up. After another 45 minutes, rotate the turkey so that the opposite side is closest to the hot side of the grill (to ensure it cooks evenly). After another 30 minutes, check the turkey’s temperatures with a meat thermometer. You want a breast temperature of 165-170 degrees and 170-180 thigh temperature. If the turkey isn’t ready, check it every 10 minutes until it’s good to go.

Be sure to let it rest for 30 minutes before carving the bird. That’s it!



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