Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Turkey on the Charcoal Grill

Our family usually enjoys Thanksgiving close to home at Nathan’s parent’s house.  They live just across the field, and boy do they ever know how to make a good Thanksgiving meal!  I like the fact that it’s mostly the same every year – a traditional turkey dinner with all the extras.

Last year Nathan had been perfecting cooking with charcoal during the summer, and the thought of grilling a turkey on charcoal crossed my mind on several occasions.  But it seemed like a big risk, trying to get a huge bird cooked to perfection without really knowing what we were doing.  No one wants 20 pounds of dried up turkey jerky coming off the grill.

When the November issue of Martha Stewart LIVING came in the mail with a very detailed article on charcoaling a turkey, I tore those pages right out and presented them to Nathan.  “It tells exactly how many briquettes to add and how often!  We’ve gotta try this!”

Charcoal sounded great, and charcoal with a brined bird sounded even better!  So I went online reading about brining turkeys and realized you can do about anything with your brine as long as it has salt and something for flavor.  I kind of combined some different recipes, and here’s (loosely) what I did.  The amounts aren't really that important and you can add whatever flavors you think would be nice. Fun! J

Apple Brine for Turkey

1 quart water
2 cups salt
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup minced garlic
2 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 ½ tablespoon dried sage
1 ½ tablespoon black pepper

1 gallon cold water
2 quarts apple sauce (or apple juice)

In a Very Large stock pot (big enough for your
turkey to fit into) heat the 1 quart of water
with salt, sugar, and spices until things are
dissolved.  Add the rest of the water and
apple sauce and cool before adding turkey.
(You could replace some of the water with
ice to cool it more quickly.)


This should be enough for about a 20 lb. turkey.

Do not use a turkey that has already been injected
with a salt solution.

Brine the turkey at least 12 hours or even better,
one hour for every pound of meat.

Keep your turkey cold!  You will need an
enormous amount of refrigerator space to
do this!  Another option is using a food safe
bag (I hear they make a “brining bag”) and
putting it in a cooler with a bag of ice.  Or just
 keep it outside if you live where it’s cold
enough for that. J

Wash the super salty solution off your turkey
before grilling! 

Coat the turkey with olive oil before grilling and
use the detailed instructions found here from Martha
Stewart.  DO NOT add the salt and pepper called
for in her recipe!   The bird has just spent numerous
hours with these substances, and that is quite enough!

You can sprinkle some parsley on top to make 
it pretty!

We did not try making a gravy.  The juices were full of
ash and I’m assuming it would have been too salty.
 I’m curious if any of you make gravy from a brined
turkey?  Is the broth too salty?

 And just for the record, this was the best turkey any of us had ever eaten! 
Melt in your mouth moist and delicious flavor!

Lovely centerpiece with mini roses done my my mother-in-law, Shirley.

"Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 
 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods."

Psalm 95:2-3

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