Grilling turkey is a lot of fun and a great break from a traditional oven roasted turkey. If you use the right technique, grilling turkey will produce a wonderfully delicious, juicy bird. Here are a few tips and techniques you should use to ensure great results.
Thawing - A properly thawed bird is essential to healthy results and reduced the risk of bacteria. Many people wait too long before thawing their turkey. They then try to rush it by running water over it or microwaving. The worst thing you can do is cook a turkey that's still frozen in the middle. So plan ahead and use the following guidelines and thaw your bird in the refrigerator.
- 8 - 12 lbs. thaw 2 - 3 days
- 12+ - 16 lbs. thaw 3 - 4 days
- 16+ - 20 lbs. thaw 4 - 5 days
- 20+ - 24 lbs. thaw 5 - 6 days
Cleaning - Be sure to remove the packets containing the giblets and the neck. There will usually be two packets so ensure both are removed. Thoroughly rinse your bird inside and out. Remove excess water by patting it dry with a kitchen towel. Paper towels should not be used since they tend to stick and leave a residue.
Crisping - I recommend this if you plan a slow method for grilling turkey. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. After your bird is cleaned and dried, rub it with 1 tbs. of unsalted butter then sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Once the oven temperature is reached, place the turkey in the oven for 20 minutes.
This will quickly cook the skin and seal in the juices. As you grill your turkey, the skin will crisp and will allow the bird to cook in its own juices, keeping the breast moist and flavorful.
Temperature - When grilling turkey, it's important that your cooking temperature is maintained. Use an oven thermometer next to your bird and ensure that you keep your grill at the desired temperature. Insert a meat thermometer deep into a breast, insuring that it doesn't touch bone.
Do not serve your turkey until it reads 185 degrees F.
If you've stuffed your bird, the stuffing should reach a temperature of 165 degrees F before serving.
If you haven't reached your desired temperature an hour prior to serving, increase your cooking temperature 50 to 75 degrees and continue to cook until these temperatures have been reached.
Resting - A common mistake made when grilling turkey (and serving most other meats) is to immediately start carving as soon as it is removed from the grill.
All meat should be allowed to "rest" before taking a knife to it.
This allows the outside to cool slightly and the inside will absorb the juices. Immediately slicing will cause all the juices and flavor to end up on the cutting board. Let your turkey rest 15 to 20 minutes prior to carving.
Recipes - Recipes and techniques vary, but when you're grilling turkey for a holiday dinner or just a family get-together, use recipes and techniques that have won awards. Average backyard chefs get award winning results and tons of complements without trial and error by... Click Here to Continue