When Thanksgiving is just around the corner it’s time to start thinking about that turkey dinner with all the extras. Although tradition is comfortable, why not try something a little different this year. Maybe it’s time to add a little twist and create a new tradition.
You can use your gas grill to cook your turkey and even add a little smokey flavor, too. It’s really pretty simple to do As well, when you use your grill to cook your turkey, that frees up your oven for other dishes.
When buying your turkey, be sure to keep in mind the size of your grill. Don’t get one that’s too large to fit on the grill Preferably, the turkey, in its pan, should be able to sit on the grill rack, with the lid completely closed. If you find that the one you purchased is too big, don’t panic. You will still be able to cook it using your grill. Use something to prop open the lid and then cover the gap with some heavy aluminum foil.
Prepare the turkey as usual, including the stuffing. Place the stuffed turkey in a pan that you can use on your grill. I’ve always been partial to the disposable aluminum trays. Place it on the grill over a burner that can be turned off. You’ll leave the other burners on, but you want to cook the turkey using indirect heat, not directly over a flame.
If you’d like to infuse your turkey with a smokey taste, then you’ll need to get some wood chips. Generally you can find these wherever you can buy grills or grill accessories. Read the instructions that come with the wood chips about how long to soak them in water. Put them in some aluminum foil or purchase a special smoking tray for your grill. As they heat up they release a flavored smoke. Position the tray with the soaked wood chips directly over one of the lit burners.
Close the lid of your grill completely. If it’s not possible to close the lid without touching the turkey, prop it open and cover the gap with some foil. If you need to prop the lid open, add extra cooking time because of the heat loss that will occur. However, the foil should help to keep the flavored smoke in.
Cooking time varies with such factors as the size of the bird, whether or not you stuffed it and if you’re able to completely close the lid of the grill. Rotate the turkey 180 degrees, after a couple of hours to make sure it’s cooking evenly.
To be safe, as you would when cooking any poultry, ensure that the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees F. It’s best to be certain when dealing with poultry, so, if you don’t have one, buy a good meat thermometer. When poultry is undercooked it is dangerous to your health.
A fully cooked turkey will be nicely browned and the juices will run clear if you poke the thigh with a skewer. Try glazing the turkey before you carve it. You might even want to add a little barbecue sauce to your traditional cranberry sauce recipe. Don’t be afraid to experiment and, possibly, start a whole new tradition.