Thanksgiving tips and tricks: Part 2 BBQ

Do you want to do something a little out of the ordinary?  Thanksgiving BBQ is a great way to do this.  Seem daunting?  Not at all.  And if you are firing up the grill anyway there is no reason to be a stickler to the traditional turkey dinner.  Here is our suggestion for a BBQ turkey day.

You already read part one and figured out that you need to know who is coming to get a menu together right?  Okay so here is a suggested menu:

Turkey– 1 to ½ pound per person.  BUT as opposed to roasting in an oven, make sure that your turkey will fit on your grill.  If you have a smaller grill you may need to make two turkeys.  If you do, make one the day before.  You can always warm it up, but that way you have one cooking and one pre-sliced turkey ready to eat.

Corn on the Cob- One cob per person (two if you are serving half cobs)

Baked Beans- You don’t need a lot.  Usually think ¼ to ½ cup per person of finished beans.

Cornbread– This depends on the recipe.  Usually a quarter cake pan full can feed about 12.

A note about cornbread, We have made this from scratch and from a mix. Either way, when it is still hot directly out of the oven or off the grill, drizzle honey (we suggest locally sourced like our___honey) over the whole top and let it sit until cool enough to eat.  The heat of the bread will draw the honey down into the bread and make it seem like you magically inserted honey into the center of the cornbread.  This will also help in the dryness department if you overcooked it slightly.

Roasted potatoes– the rule of thumb anytime you cut up potatoes to make something like this is 1.5 potatoes per person.

Smoked apples with vanilla ice cream- We admit that we are suckers for putting ice cream on things and will look for any excuse possible, if you are looking for a good recipe for this we suggest the one from our friends at Big Green Egg.

Obviously this menu is BBQ heavy and as such may not be for you if you live somewhere it snows.  Here in California, really what we have is the threat of rain.  You can BBQ in the rain! We have done it numerous times.  However, it might be a good idea to serve inside instead of outside like a true BBQ.

We know that some people will think this is heresy since there is no pumpkin to be found.  While pumpkins are traditional because they are native to the United States, and become usable in the Fall, corn and potatoes also fall into that category.  And there is nothing more Fall than apples.

So, how do you BBQ a turkey?

First defrost the turkey like you would if you were roasting it.

Weber Grills suggests that it is best to brine a turkey if you are going to BBQ it to keep it from getting dry.  Remember that to brine you need to prep the turkey the day before you plan to cook it.

Day of cooking, remove it from the brine and truss your turkey up.

Second, soak a cheesecloth in a combo of butter and white wine.  This will help your turkey brown without burning.

Put the cheesecloth on the turkey.  It will stay there for the first 2/3rd of cooking time.

Use wood.  You want smoke with a turkey and if you are using gas, you will want to add wood chips.  A smoker attachment is the best for this.  Remember to soak your wood chips for at least 30 minutes before you plan on using them.  You want to add smoke, not fire.  We like to soak ours in beer, but we don’t because that is a waste of beer that we could be drinking so we soak them in water.

Put a drip pan with about 1.5 liters of water on the flavorizer bars. This will also allow you to use the drippings in gravy.

You want to set up your grill for indirect heat.

How long should you cook it?  Weber grill gives us these tips:

225-250 degrees      23-27 minutes per pound
275-300 degrees      18-21 minutes per pound
350-375 degrees      11-13 minutes per pound

Adjust by about 3 minutes per pound if it is cold.

Check the temperature of the turkey halfway, three quarters of the way and then when you think it is done to make sure that you are on the right track. This will help you monitor the turkey and make sure it is not over cooked!

Make sure that the turkey is fully cooked to 165 degrees on the innermost part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast before removing it.


PREPARING THE This step is important! Let it rest for 20-30% of the total cooking time. You can loosely cover the turkey with a piece of aluminum foil while it is resting or you can just leave it uncovered.

Then let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes before you cut into it!

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