If you’re type of griller that loves to try new recipes—especially recipes that call for beer—then you truly need to try this recipe for barbequed turkey! Many people believe that grilled or smoked turkey turns out far better than turkeys that are baked/roasted in a traditional oven. Grilled or smoked turkey will end up being noticeably more-tender and retain more of the natural juices.
This recipe uses a beer basting-sauce and an exotic yet super-easy glaze in addition to flavored wood which all contribute to a grilled turkey that offers rich, succulent flavor that is out of this world!
To begin with, make sure your turkey weighs anywhere between 12 to 14 pounds for this particular recipe and fits under the lid of your grill with an inch allowance between the top of the turkey and the lid. A turkey this size will feed approximately 10 to 12 people.
Your Sauce and Glaze:
1: The Basting Sauce:
** ½ cup olive oil
** ½ cup lemon juice
** ½ cup wine vinegar
** ¼ cup soy-sauce
Combine all ingredients and keep covered in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours. This will allow flavors to blend.
2: The Glaze:
** ¾ cup real maple syrup
** ½ cup dry white-wine
** ½ cup Dijon mustard
** ¼ stick real butter–softened
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer using medium heat. Whisk until the butter is completely melted and ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Set saucepan aside, cover and allow mixture to completely cool. Place in a glass container and refrigerate until needed.
3: The Beer Sauce:
** 2 cans of your favorite beer
** 2 medium onions, chopped
** 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Preparations and Cooking:
You will find that recipes that cater to barbequing turkeys suggest brining as the first step; and those recipes should include brining instructions. Poultry, in particular, benefits greatly from brining, regardless of how it might be prepared. Brining is the secret to incredibly moist, flavorful turkey-meat; and the brining solution is typically 2 cups of coarse Kosher salt combined with 2 gallons of water.
Here’s what brining does: the salt causes the meat to absorb water and other flavorings–such as apple cider, spices, brown-sugar, lemon slices etc.–that might be added to the brine. The salt causes the protein in the meat to break-down which contributes to a distinctive tenderness. So in-spite of any juices that might be lost during cook-time, the brine will make up for that, and more!
Unless you buy a packaged turkey that has already been brined, you’ll want to think ahead since soaking a bird that weighs 12-14 pounds in the brine can take a minimum of 8 hours in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly. And if need be, a whole turkey can soak in the brine by using a good-sized roasting pot or even a new plastic bucket or ice-chest.
There is much that can be said about brining but one of the most important things to remember is that the turkey must be entirely submerged in the brine and the immersed turkey must absolutely be refrigerated at all times! Also, special brining bags are available that can easily hold a 20-pound turkey. The bags, filled with turkey and brine, can be set in a cooler surrounded by loose or bagged ice. It’s necessary that the temperature of the brine remains below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
Follow any brining instructions that coincide with the brining ‘recipe’ you might choose. But again, purchasing a turkey that has already been brined is, certainly, the easier route!
Let’s assume your turkey has been pre-brined and is completely thawed. You’ll want to remove the giblets and neck from the inside cavity. Rinse the entire turkey with water and pat dry. Position the wings backwards and make sure legs are in a tucked posture. If necessary, you can truss the bird with kitchen string which will ensure the turkey’s legs and wings are held close to the body.
Before any possible trussing, apply a thin coating of olive oil to the inside and outside of the entire bird and season with a seasoning mix or a bit of salt and pepper. Do not add any stuffing since the lack of stuffing will allow the turkey to cook more evenly and reduce cook time. Place turkey on large cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Cook and Baste:
Before the grill is turned on, lift the grates; and depending on the type of grill you have, place an aluminum drip-pan at the center and directly on the charcoal grate, flavorizar bars, or rock and fill with your 2 cans of favorite beer and the chopped onions and minced garlic. Mix the ingredients. Reposition the cooking grates above the drip-pan.
During cook-time, use indirect-heat and make sure the temperature stabilizes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit while the grill’s lid is closed. Indirect heat is essential when cooking a whole turkey since that method will allow for an evenly-cooked bird. Fill a smoking wood pan with hickory chips and place it at one end of the grill, near the heat. Refill the wood pan once it stops smoking; and smoke for about 1 hour of the cook time.
Find the thickest part of the bird’s thigh and insert an instant-read meat-thermometer at that location without touching the bone—bone heats faster than meat and will give you a false reading! Place the turkey on the grill; close the lid and you’re ready to go! You’ll want to slather the basting sauce every half-hour until the inside temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. At that point, you will begin to baste with the glaze mixture every 10 minutes until the temperature rises to 165 degrees.
Allow the Meat to ‘Rest’:
Once the temperature reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the bird from the grill. Transfer the turkey to a platter, cover it snuggly with foil and allow it to ‘rest’ about 30 to 45 minutes before carving. Some seasoned chefs will recommend up to an hour of ‘rest’ time, which is perfectly safe. This is interesting insight you might not be aware of: during ‘rest’ time, the temperature of the bird will continue to rise by 5 to 10 degrees once it’s off the grill!
Allowing the bird to ‘rest’ is important; and here’s why: rest time allows the juices to not only become more absorbed by the meat but it also allows the proteins, that have dissolved during cooking time, to actually thicken the natural juices as they slowly begin to cool. As a result, fewer juices escape; and those that do, will escape more slowly when the meat is sliced!