What could be sweeter than freeing up the oven for dessert AND having a beautifully flavourful barbecue roasted turkey to show for it this festive season?! Here’s a recipe that’s tried and true.
1 turkey (14lb or smaller)
¾ tsp each salt and pepper
6 sprigs fresh sage
Rosemary or thyme - and parsley if you must, or all three if you’re a Simon and Garfunkel fan
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage, rosemary or thyme (see above)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Feeling inspired then try these extras:
Apple wood or other wood chips (fruit woods tend to work well with turkey) to add flavour – soak for 30 minutes, drain well, place in smoker box under grills for tremendous smoke flavour.
Stuff the body cavity as you would for roasting in the oven (adds time, adds flavour too). Anything’ll do, but here’s a good recipe: Combine 2 cups chopped onion, 1 chopped granny smith apple, 1 tablespoon chopped sage, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Stuff bird, cook bird, stuff self.
1. Remove neck and giblets (what an underused word that is: “giblets”; let’s all try to work that into a sentence three times today) from turkey; rinse inside and out, then pat dry (and don’t forget to remove the tea towel when you do – believe it, it’s been done, blech). Place sage sprigs in cavity. Skewer neck skin to back. Using kitchen string, tie legs together and wings to body (ie. wrestle with the thing, and hope you win).
2. In bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, chopped sage and mustard; set aside.
3. Heat 1 burner of a 2-burner barbecue or the 2 outside burners of a 3-burner barbecue to medium (if you have more than three burners – good for you – just make sure you’re keeping the outside of the barbecue warm and the middle of the barbecue cool).
4. Place foil drip pan under unlit burner(s). This foil pan will fill the drippings which make delicious, smokey gravy. Ensure that the heat from the rest of the barbecue is not too close to the drip pan otherwise your drippings will bubble, evaporate and possibly burn.
5. Place turkey – breast side down - on greased grill over unlit burner(s), cover breasts with foil (very important – it keeps the breast meat from drying – white meat cooks faster than dark, so the foil slows the cooking).
6. Close lid and cook, brushing every 45 minutes with vinegar mixture and adjusting heat to keep temperature between 250 and 300F for 3 ½ to 4 hours or until meat thermometer (remote or otherwise) inserted in thigh registers 180F.
7. Remove the foil from the turkey breast after 2 1/2 hours of roasting.
8. Transfer to cutting board. Tent with foil (the whole bird this time) and let stand for at least 20 minutes before carving.