I know this should have been written before Thanksgiving, however it is still very relevant. Now, I know that anyone who BBQ’s a turkey probably does not need this info. I am really aiming at folks who have never tried this and thought it was too difficult. OK, enough with the disclaimer stuff.
Let’s get started. First, I prefer to use a Weber Kettle. This provides enough room to do a bird of 12#. We will be cooking using the indirect method which has the coals on the side and the bird in the center. For this, we will use a drip pan under the turkey to catch drippings. (Hint: Weber makes the drip pans of the correct size.)
Next we put a large amount of coals, I use Kingsford because they light faster. Pile the coals close in ths center of the bottom grate. Spray with lighter fluid, again I use Kingsford because it does not leave a taste on the food.
While the coals are heating, let’s focus on the bird. Make sure you remove the “inards” which is the neck and giblets. Save the gibs for the stuffing, if you like. Now here is something that has changed recently, at least for me. The FDA foodies have said you no longer should wash the outside of fowl. They maintain that all that does is transfer any bird contaminants to people and any dishes. However, you should wash the cavity of the bird and salt with sea salt. Now, I do not stuff the bird before cooking. This can cause the stuffing to pickup harmful bacteria that could cause sickness.
Back to the grille. When the coals are covered with ash separate to the sides just far enough to fit the drip pan into the center. Now place the cooking grille on and put the bird right over the pan. Put any seasonings and such on and put the top onto the grille. Now, another important thing to remember is have all the vents, bottom and top fully open. Now as much as you want to see the progress, DO NOT lift the lid, until we add more coals.
Now after the first 1/2 hr we want to start some more coals. I prefer to use a chimney starter, where newspaper goes into the bottom and the coals are in the area above. This is the best way to start the coals because all you do is light the paper without the need for any lighter fluid. Ok, these coals are ready. Now remove the lid and raise the small hinged parts of the grille to expose the coals. Using a pot holder, gently, very gently distribute the coals evenly. Replace the lid.
We will most like likely need to add coals one more time in about 45 min or so. Then the bird will finish it’s cooking from there. Now again I prefer to baste the bird with beer in the last 30 min or so. How do we know when the bird is done? Well the proper way is to use a meat thermometer placed in the breast area. We want an internal temp of 185 degrees. You can remove the bird sooner and cover with foil and it will continue to cook. This will produce a fantastic turkey that will get you raves from all your guests.
All right we are finished and that was not hard. The more you do BBQ like this the better you will become. I would appreciate any comments.
You can follow me on Twitter @sharkyrkk and have some great BBQ’s.