With Christmas Day so very nearly upon us, we can imagine the usual stress of last-minute preparations is starting to creep in. If you are playing the role of chef this Christmas, this is only going to add to your stress levels.
Not only is there the attempt to fit the entire family around the table, but you have to ensure you are keeping a close eye on the food while remaining sociable. Then, there’s the game of Tetris involving you trying to fit everything in the oven at one time…
Well, have you ever thought about cooking your turkey on the BBQ? Barbequed turkey is succulent and full of flavour with a crispy, golden skin. We understand you might be feeling a bit sceptical, but it is a lot easier than you might think and will make sure this Christmas Day beats last years!
What You Will Need
Meat Thermometer (preferably digital)
First things first, you will need to look at your BBQ and see what size turkey will fit into it. Kettle BBQs should be plenty big enough to accommodate a 5kg turkey or turkey crown, but if you’ve got a bigger BBQ, get a bigger bird!
Unless you’ve got a self-basting or kosher turkey, you should brine your bird on Christmas Eve. Remove your turkey from its packaging and place into a large container box. Fill the box up with 10 litres of water and 800g salt, then find room in your fridge or a cold place to allow the turkey to chill overnight.
On Christmas morning, you need to remove the brine and cover the bird again, this time in fresh water. Change the water a few times – roughly every 15-20 minutes for an hour to an hour and a half – then allow the turkey to come back to room temperature before barbequing.
Head into your garden and set up your BBQ for indirect cooking. Fill up a disposable aluminium tray with water (which also doubles up as a drip pan) and place between the coals. Light the coals and allow them to heat up the BBQ while you make some final preparations. If you are using a gas BBQ, only turn on the outer burners to prevent it from becoming too hot.
While the BBQ is heating up, your turkey should have reached room temperature, so that you can stuff and season it for extra flavour. It is up to you if you want to go traditional or quirky with your flavours, just make sure you liberally apply butter or olive oil to the outer skin, so it gets nice and crispy.
If you are using charcoal, check your coals. If they have a thin covering of white ash on the surface, they are ready to go. If they are looking good to go, put the turkey on. Place it centrally over the drip pan and directly on the grate, then close the lid.
As a rough estimate, you should allow around 20 minutes cooking time for every lb the bird weighs, or around 45 minutes per kg if you prefer metric! However, there are those out there who say a brined turkey cooks quicker, so be aware of this.
Keep checking your coals as well – every 40-45 minutes should do it – and add more if necessary. Keep basting and adding herbs for more flavour if you wish, and keep a check on the temperature. When it reaches around 65-70°C at its thickest point, it is time to remove. Remember, your turkey will continue to cook internally as you leave it to rest, allowing it to stay moist and tender.
So, what about everything else? If you’ve got a big BBQ and are feeling brave, you can cook all your vegetables on the grill too! Season them, cover in oil then grill in foil or on skewers. Or, if you still want a traditional element, you’ve got plenty of oven space for the classic accompaniments.
There we have it, the best way to BBQ your Christmas turkey! We hope you have a fantastic day whatever you get up to, and visit us in the new year for all your BBQ needs. Whether it’s a gas griddle or hog roast spit for sale, we’ve got you covered!
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