Thursday, November 5, 2009

Honey-Glazed Grilled Turkey

I only have one oven in my kitchen. This isn’t usually a problem, except for Thanksgiving Day.

A couple of years ago, my husband suggested grilling our Thanksgiving turkey to solve the oven dilemma and I nervously agreed. It was an experiment that turned into a tradition. Not only did we free up the kitchen, but the grilled turkey was tasty and even more tender than when roasted in the oven.

There are some items you will need before grilling a turkey. The most important is a meat thermometer.

The second is a foil pan with wire handles (the kind with the wire that goes underneath the pan). This adds stability when removing the hot turkey from the grill. You also will need large oven mitts, a basting brush and heavy duty aluminum foil.

It is also nice to have a small rack to place under the turkey. You can make one by covering a small metal pan or even a foil pie pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and placing it underneath. This helps keep the turkey out of the drippings. The grill should be a four-burner covered grill, and it is helpful (but not necessary) to have a temperature gauge on the grill to make sure the temperature remains constant. One of the most important tips: always start with a full tank of gas.

If your grill has a top or warming rack, remove it for grilling the turkey. Use a foil pan with handles and prepare by inserting a covered rack or pan in the bottom of large foil pan. Pour 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Place turkey in the pan, checking to make sure all cavities are empty (unless of course you are stuffing the turkey).

Honey-glazed Grilled Turkey

12-pound fresh or fully thawed turkey, giblets removed
1/2 cup water
Pam or other cooking spray

Basting sauce:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
Cook above ingredients in a saucepan until it comes to a boil and sugars are melted. Use in the last 30 minutes to baste the turkey.

Cover with aluminum foil that is sprayed inside with cooking spray, so it won’t stick to the turkey. To prepare the grill, turn all burners on until temperature is between 300 and 325 degrees. Turn off the inside burners and put the turkey in the center of the grill. Monitor the grill to keep the temperature around 325 degrees.

Cook the turkey approximately 4 hours and check temperature after about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The temperature should steadily rise. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, remove the foil and baste with the glaze.

Baste every 10 to 15 minutes and watch carefully that the turkey doesn’t get too brown. Remove when internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Put on a plate and garnish with greens, herbs and small pears and apples.

I don’t generally stuff the turkey because I usually make cornbread dressing, but according to the USDA, the internal temperature of a stuffed turkey must be 165 degrees.


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