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The Thanksgiving Holiday is just around the corner.  Football, pies, brisk air, stuffing, friends and family, and of course turkey.  We all know the drill.  Place bird in aluminum tray, put in the oven, bake till the little thing pops up, serve and hope it’s not dry.  If it is dry, well, make sure there’s a gravy boat nearby. In other words, BORING!

What happened?  The turkey used to be the star of the show.  Now it’s just something we do every year because it’s tradition.  I’m not saying break tradition and go with ribs on Thanksgiving (but if you do, I’m pretty sure we have a recipe for you).  I’m saying make that bird the star again by making grilled turkey.  Have your guests commenting on how great that grilled turkey was rather than how happy they were that you had so much extra gravy. 

And I realize that the cool weather is not traditionally grilling weather but think about it, rather than the grill making you sweat in the summer time, it will actually warm you up when you check on the bird.

I will hand this off to my cousin, Tom – the Big Green Eggspert – Jones.  He will be doing this on his Big Green Egg.  For those of us that don’t have a Big Green Egg, simply follow the temperature guidelines for whatever grill you have…

Tom’s Thanksgiving Day Brined and Grilled Turkey!

Ingredients:

1 20 pound turkey
12 cups water
3 cups apple cider
1/2 cup honey
1 cup kosher salt
2 carrots
1 onion
4 stalks celery
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cajun seasoning (or seasoning of your choice) If you don’t use this increase salt to 1 1/2 cups
1 tbsp black pepper

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If using a frozen turkey, please safely thaw the bird by placing the frozen turkey (in the original packaging) in a shallow pan in your refrigerator. Allow 24 hours thawing time for every four pounds of turkey.  The bird, all 20 glorious pounds:

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***Editor’s note – Whether you are grilling the bird or not I cannot stress enough the importance of brining.  If you brine properly you will never have another dry bird.  Click here to learn a little bit about the science behind brining.***

The Brine:

Bring water to boil, add salt and stir until dissolved. Let mixture come down to room temperature while you prep the remaining ingredients for the brine.

Chop onion, celery and carrots into large pieces:

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Either crush or rough chop the garlic:

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After the salt water mixture has cooled, add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined:

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Place the turkey, breast side down into a large bag that can be sealed (some grocery stores sell very large zip-lock type bags for this purpose):

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Pour the brine over the turkey ensuring the cavity fills with the brine. Place the bag containing the turkey and brine in cooler along with ice for several hours (overnight is best):

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Remove the turkey from the brine, making sure to drain liquid from the cavity and pat dry with paper towels. Drizzle olive oil over the bird and season lightly with salt, pepper and seasoning of your choice (if using cajun seasoning don’t use salt). Place some of the vegetables from the brine inside the cavity:

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The Grill:

Prepare the Big Green Egg, or whatever grill you have, for indirect heat and add wood for smoking if desired (we used peach wood). Place a pan with liquid in it under the grate positioned below the turkey. This will add moisture and will catching the drippings from the turkey. The liquid can be plain water, wine, beer, etc:

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***Editor’s note – If you don’t have peach wood available, apple, apricot, nectarine and pear are all good substitutes.  Click here to see the Grillin Fools guide to smoke woods.***

Place on the grill breast side up:

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Cook at approximately 300 degrees. Cooking time will be about 15 minutes for every pound of turkey.  Coming along nicely:

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Starting to become a really nice golden brown on the Big Green Egg:

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During the last 30 minutes of cooking baste the grilled turkey with butter and it should look something like this when removed from the grill:

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To check doneness of the grilled turkey, use an instant read thermometer. Place thermometer into into the thickest part of the thigh, making sure the thermometer does not touch bone. The juices should run clear from the thigh, also wiggle a drumstick to see if it moves easily at the joint. The final internal temperature in the breast and thigh should reach 165 degrees.

You may want to remove the turkey from the grill at 160 as the residual heat in the turkey will continue to cook while it stands / rests before carving. Important! Allow turkey to stand 20 – 30 minutes before carving.

If you have achieved the correct internal temperature and the juices are clear, the meat near the bone may appear pink. This is normal and the grilled turkey is perfectly safe to eat.

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Note: This may sound like a lot of seasoning and salt. However, the end result is a perfectly seasoned, moist and delicious bird that your family will devour!!

If you are looking for other poultry dishes for the Thanksgiving Holiday or otherwise click here.

And of course you could serve this bird on Thanksgiving to add a little humor to the event.  Feel free to forward this link on to your friends for a little chuckle.

If you have any questions about the recipe above, feel free to email me or simply leave a comment below and one of us fools will get back to you as soon as possible. Also, if you own a Big Green Egg and want to see more recipes on that fine cooker, look for my name as the author as almost all of my grilling is done on a BGE.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on Facebook and post your own grilling pictures, or keep up with us on Twitter@GrillinFool (no S).

Grilled Turkey just in time for Thanksgiving
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
A whole turkey, brined and grilled
Ingredients
  • 1 20 pound turkey
  • 12 cups water
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup cajun seasoning (or seasoning of your choice) If you don’t use this increase salt to 1½ cups
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • ½ cup melted butter, reserved for the end of the grilling process
Instructions
  1. Thaw the turkey thoroughly
  2. Bring water to boil, add salt and stir until dissolved
  3. Let mixture come down to room temperature
  4. Chop onion, celery and carrots into large pieces
  5. Either crush or rough chop the garlic
  6. After the salt water mixture has cooled, add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined
  7. Place the turkey, breast side down into a large bag that can be sealed
  8. Pour the brine over the turkey ensuring the cavity fills with the brine
  9. Place the bag containing the turkey and brine in cooler along with ice for several hours (overnight is best)
  10. Remove the turkey from the brine, making sure to drain liquid from the cavity and pat dry with paper towels
  11. Drizzle olive oil over the bird and season lightly with salt, pepper and seasoning of your choice
  12. Place some of the vegetables from the brine inside the cavity
  13. Prepare the Big Green Egg, or whatever grill you have, for indirect heat and add wood for smoking if desired
  14. Target temperature of the grill is 300 degrees
  15. Place a pan with liquid in it under the grate positioned below the turkey
  16. Place turkey on the grill breast side up
  17. Cooking time will be about 15 minutes for every pound of turkey
  18. During the last 30 minutes of cooking baste the grilled turkey with butter
  19. The final internal temperature in the breast and thigh should reach 165 degrees
  20. Remove from the grill and allow turkey to stand 20 – 30 minutes before carving
  21. Slice and serve
 

Tom Jones

Tom Jones

Tom Jones

@GrillinFool

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
You had me a pretzel bun! Pic courtesy of the incredibly talented @skinnypignyc - I like … https://t.co/SQvOmGyC2y https://t.co/Bl44orHZaW - 1 hour ago
Tom Jones

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17 comments

My husband has been drooling over the Big Green Egg for quite a while..may have to surprise him with one for Christmas–Is it really as amazing as they say?
I am a big believer in the magic of a brine…timely post.

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Debi,

It is all that and a bag of chips. My cousin is the one that owns one but I will have one next year. Bought the DSLR this year and will buy the grill next year. As long as you don’t drop them they last forever…

…….Scott

That looks really tasty. Brining it only makes it better

Reply

Hey you bunch of grillin fools! I followed Tom’s instructions for brining and grllin’ a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner this year and it was beyond delicious! Nice and juicy with just the right amount of smoky flavor. Everyone agreed, best turkey ever!

Brad,

Glad to hear it turned out well…

…….Scott

You must have read my mind i was just checking to see if you guys had a whole turkey recipe.Gonna try and save the oven space for the wife.Any ideas on good places to get smoking wood in the area the grocery stores are kind of limited?

Reply

Matt,

St. Louis Homefires on Manchester in front of Target west of 141 has the best selection of big chunks of wood that we prefer (no soaking). The fireplace shop in Arnold has a good selection of the smaller chunhttp://grillinfools.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-formks. Otherwise, check Ace Hardware stores. They are hit or miss though so call ahead. Or if you are really in a pinch I could hook you up with enough Peach, Apple, Pear or Nectarine for one session. I have Apricot too, but it’s very green and will need to season for a year before I would use it…

…….Scott

This looks great! Now to see if I can convince my FIL to give it a try….

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excellent tutorial on how to grill turkey, this is great because I’ve been trying to find a grilling recipe for a turkey.

Reply

Hats off to Tom for a fine looking bird!

Just wanted to add that Weber kettle grill will also work great for a turkey.
Coals on both sides, drip pan in the center.

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Is there anything more pretty than a cooked turkey.. great job, and loved the brining instructiosn

Reply

MYOTG,

If you’re not brining you’r just not doing it right…

…….Scott

My turkey was said to have been “righteous”. Followed all your guidelines and it turned out great. Will be posting more later.

Reply

Jennifer,

Glad it came out great…

…….Scott

This is off topic but I wanted to see if you’ve ever tried BBQ pulled pork egg rolls. I was in Lawrance Kansas(Enemy territory) this weekend pheasant hunting with a buddy and he took me to a local BBQ joint. They had an appitizer called BBQ egg rolls, they were outstanding! From what I read and could see all it was, was finaly cut up pulled porked, cabage, and cream cheese wrapped in an egg roll. They may have added some extra seasoning to the cream cheese(rub?). Regardless it was mighty tasty and seems easy to make.

Reply

Wes,

I have not tried that or even heard of it, but good God does that sound awesome!!! I love a good egg roll and that just sounds outstanding…

…….Scott

Serving this turkey again this year! I guess since smoking the bird last year the duty has officially passed to me.

Reply

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