Thanksgiving is upon us once again. You may be dreading the prospect of having to eat the same thing you do every year while trying to finally get the turkey cooked right. You may even be wishing it was summer again so you could fire up the barbecue. But what’s holding you back from doing just that? No one said a turkey had to be cooked in an oven (or dangerously fried). In fact, there are several ways you can cook a turkey with a hot barbecue or smoker.
If you have a pellet smoker, this would be the perfect time to buck tradition. Start by soaking your unfrozen turkey in your favorite brine and letting it rest in the refrigerator for at least eight hours.
When you’re ready to start smoking, fill the roasting pan with water and place it under the grates. This will keep the turkey moist but not become soggy resting in its own juices. Smoke the bird for at least four hours (longer if over thirteen pounds) or until the breast meat is at 165°.
For best results, refrain from stuffing or trussing the turkey before smoking and cook at 225°.
Smoking isn’t the only way to cook your turkey outside of an oven. Using your charcoal grill can produce great results as well.
Get the grill up to 450° and let the turkey sit for approximately 45 minutes or until golden brown (extra time needed for larger birds). When ready, reduce the heat to around 350°, close any vents, and cook for about fifteen minutes for every pound. Make sure the breast meat hits at least 165° before serving. You may also filet the turkey before placing on the grill for faster cook times.
For best results, baste the turkey every fifteen minutes for every pound and place the turkey under foil and towels for about thirty minutes to rest once done cooking.
Not into having turkey this year? Try a double-smoked roasted ham.
Prep your smoker for low to medium temperatures (ideal setting would be around 300°). After making a diamond pattern in the meat, smoke the ham for about four hours or until it reaches 135°. Begin adding your favorite glaze every five to ten minutes until the glaze is gone, or your ham reaches 140 degrees.
There is much more you can cook on the grill than just the turkey.
Wrap up some potatoes tightly in foil as you grill. Make sure to rotate them periodically for best roasting coverage until the center is 210° or a fork goes through them like butter. Add some corn-on-the-cob for good measure.
Utilize a grill plank or a few skewers for some roasted mashed potatoes, veggies, green beans, or asparagus.
These are just a few examples of how you can utilize your grill to bring some much-needed spice to your holiday traditions.