Grilling a turkey makes good sense for busy cooks, especially if you’re dealing with a small space kitchen. With the turkey cooking merrily away on the grill, the oven is free for other chores, such as cooking large pans of dressing, side dishes or even home baked pies. And, as always, grilling cuts down on clean-up time, so you’ll have more time to relax and enjoy the day.
Whether you have a gas or a charcoal grill, you can use it to prepare a moist, delicious turkey, if you keep a few tips in mind.
After removing the plastic wrapping, prepare the turkey by freeing the legs from tucked position and removing the neck and giblets from neck and body cavities. Rinse the turkey, and drain well. Turn wings back to hold neck skin in place. Return legs to tucked position. It’s not necessary to truss a turkey for the grill.
You can marinate the turkey by using a fork to make random holes over the entire bird. Place the turkey in a large, plastic cooking bag or clean plastic trash bag and pour in the marinade. Close the bag securely and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Before cooking, scrape off excess marinade and discard. Do not re-use marinade to baste the turkey.
Do not stuff a turkey that’s to be grilled as it can take too long for the temperature of the stuffing to reach the required temperature of 165 F degrees.
Use indirect heat to grill the turkey. Prepare the grill by removing top grill rack and opening all vents. Mound 50 to 60 briquettes in center of the lower grill rack or the bottom of grill and ignite briquettes. When coals become ash-gray — about 20 to 40 minutes — divide them into two equal parts, positioned on the outside edges of lower grill rack or bottom of grill.
Place a foil drip , or a double thickness of heavy-duty aluminum foil, between the two piles of coals.
Lightly grease the top grill rack before repositioning it on the hot coals. Place the prepared turkey in the middle of the grill rack, directly over drip pan, and replace the lid on the grill.
You can figure roughly 12 minutes cooking time per pound of turkey. Be sure to check turkey’s doneness by using a meat thermometer. Breast meat is ready at 170 F degrees, thigh meat at 180 F degrees. Maintain grill heat during cooking by adding 5 to 8 briquettes to both sides of hot coals every hour or as needed. Keep the lid on the grill closed as much as possible to prevent heat loss.
Cheri Sicard is the editor of FabulousFoods.com where you’ll find recipes, an online cooking school, celebrity chef interviews, holiday and entertaining ideas, free cooking newsletters and more. http://www.fabulousfoods.com