NAPSI – With the holidays quickly approaching, many Americans are looking for new ways to impress their guests. One surefire way to succeed is to turn off the oven and fire up the charcoal grill.
“Early in our American history, the one and only way to cook a turkey for the holidays was over a smoky fire,” says Chef Jamie Purviance, author of “Weber’s Way to Grill,” a “New York Times” best seller. “An oven-roasted turkey really pales in comparison to the woodsy flavors you can create with a smoked turkey on a charcoal grill.”
Chef Purviance offers his top tips to create a grilled turkey with a unique, smoky taste:
1. Season the turkey the day before cooking with a dry brine of kosher salt and pepper. As the turkey sits in the refrigerator for 12 hours, the seasonings will seep deep into the meat and help develop a crispy skin.
2. On the day of cooking, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature for 1 hour. Brush the legs, breasts and wings with butter.
3. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to grill, fill a chimney starter with charcoal and burn the briquettes until they are lightly covered with ash. When they are good and hot, pour the charcoal carefully onto one side of the charcoal grate, in the shape of a half circle, and place a disposable foil pan in the center of the grate.
4. Carefully add a few cups of water to the foil pan. The water will help to maintain a steady cooking temperature and add some humidity inside the grill. Replace the grilling grate, close the lid and let the water heat up while the coals burn down to the point when the grill temperature is between 350°F and 400°F. If your grill does not have a thermometer, stick a probe oven thermometer in the lid’s top vent.
5. To infuse that unique smoky taste, drop a couple of handfuls of presoaked and drained oak or hickory wood chips directly onto the coals. Don’t add too much! Four handfuls over the course of the first two hours should be plenty.
6. Next, put chopped onions, carrots and celery in a separate heavy-duty, disposable foil pan and add 2 cups of chicken broth. Place the turkey, breast side down, on top of the vegetables and inside the foil pan. The pan will protect the breast meat from cooking too quickly, and the vegetables will flavor the broth that you can turn into gravy later.
7. When the wood smolders, set the turkey in the pan on the grate above the water pan. Face the turkey legs toward the coals so the dark meat cooks at a higher temperature than the light meat.
8. After 1 hour of cooking, flip the turkey so that the breast is facing up and add the second batch of wood chips. To maintain the grill temperature between 350°F and 400°F, you’ll probably need to add more coals.
9. After cooking for 1½ hours, if any parts of the turkey are getting too dark, wrap them with foil. The turkey is done when a thermometer registers 170°F in the thickest part of the thigh. While the turkey rests at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, the internal temperature will rise to the ideal doneness for a smoked and succulent turkey.