At one time, deep frying a turkey was the “latest and greatest.” We’re not knocking it — it is delicious! On the market today, though are infrared fryers so you can “fry” your turkey without the worry of injury from the hot oil. Infrared turkey cookers give the turkey the same taste and texture as does deep frying. We’ve heard that infrared “fried” turkeys taste better the second day — unlike deep-fried in oil turkeys where it’s been said the bird tastes a bit greasy.
Start a new tradition this year by grilling your turkey. If you’re already moving your family Thanksgiving feast to the outdoors and pool or hot tub side, why not move as much of the cooking to the outdoors as you can.
A grilled turkey is certain to be a treat for your guests. You may be thinking… “Grill a turkey?!” Yes, you can! AND your guests will thank you for it. Let’s face it, too, not too many grillmasters and outdoor chefs are willing to put the grill away just yet, right.
Depending on the size of your gathering you may want to:
- Grill a turkey
- Fry a turkey
- Bake a turkey the traditional way in the house
If you have “competitive” chefs in the family let them each choose their own unique way to prepare the turkey then let the guests decide which is best. Although you know they will ALL be delicious in their own way!
Grill Or Fry Your Thanksgiving Turkey
What is involved in grilling a turkey?
- Choose a “smaller” turkey — no more than twelve-pounds
- Make certain it is completely thawed before grilling
- The turkey can be grilled over charcoal or on a gas grill. The turkey can be cooked on a rotisserie or in a pan on the grill.
- Don’t forget to get a drip pan to catch the juices from the grilling turkey for use in making gravy
- Remove giblets from the cavity and cook separately.
- Add lemon or lime or orange wedges to the cavity along with onion wedges, your favorite fresh herbs (rosemary is ideal). Spread butter on the turkey and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Always cook stuffing separately
- Tuck the wing tips under and tie them with kitchen string.
- Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey leg.
- Place the turkey, breast-side up on your preheated grill.
- Plan to cook the turkey fifteen minutes per pound. If using a charcoal grill, add a half dozen briquets to the fire every hour to keep the turkey cooking at an even medium heat
- Brush the turkey with melted butter throughout the cooking cycle. Grill, covered until the thermometer reaches 185 degrees.
After the turkey is cooked, remove it from the grill. Let it sit and rest for fifteen minutes to complete cooking and to let it resorb its juices.
Once you have grilled a turkey one year, we’ll bet you get requests for it annually.
If you opt for a fried turkey or opt for a fried turkey AND a grilled turkey — make certain the turkey is completely thawed. A turkey that is not thawed is a grease accident waiting to happen. Thaw the bird then dry it inside and out before dunking it into the fryer.
Follow the directions that came with your grease fryer or the infrared fryer of your choice. Once the bird is fully cooked, take out and let rest for fifteen minutes before carving.
Grill sweet potatoes
When it comes to sweet potatoes and Thanksgiving they are a staple that simply goes together. You can cook your sweet potatoes from start to finish on a gas or charcoal grill. Wrap or slice the sweet potatoes and put on the grill. If you decide to wrap them, put one sweet potato, some butter, cinnamon and sugar in a piece of foil, wrap and then grill.
If you want to slice them, slice them thickly, coat in butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and grill until soft.
Take the sweet potatoes off the grill, peel them and slice thinly or cut into chunks and place in a pan on the grill. Brush with butter, sprinkle with more sugar and cinnamon then cover the pan with marshmallows. Cover lightly with foil. When you’re ready to eat, take the foil off and let the sweet potatoes stay on the grill until the marshmallows are melted and gooey.
These are a perfect companion dish with your grilled turkey.
Let your imagination run wild and think of what other Thanksgiving feast items you could put on the grill to make your Thanksgiving meal be one your guests will be talking about for months… until next Thanksgiving!