Holiday turkey, a la grille

It means bundling up, but outdoor winter barbecuing fits into holiday meal planning, says a barbecuing expert. “Grilling outdoors is becoming the next best kitchen,” says Nav Cavallaro, chef for the Canadian arm of Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Brined barbecued turkey with pan gravy. If you lack oven space to feed a crowd

It means bundling up, but outdoor winter barbecuing fits into holiday meal planning, says a barbecuing expert.

“Grilling outdoors is becoming the next best kitchen,” says Nav Cavallaro, chef for the Canadian arm of Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Cavallaro says the only drawback to grilling outdoors in winter is if it is a really cold day, the grill must be set up so you minimize the cold air hitting it.

“And the less times you open up the lid the better it is,” he says. “Set it up properly, then leave it alone and don’t go far from the grill and just monitor it.”

It is essential to use a thermometer to get an accurate reading.

Cavallaro says he purees ginger to inject into the ham and studs the outside with cloves and adds a molasses glaze.

“Once you do it you will see how easy it is,” he says. “It all has to do with timing, setting up the grill, then adding your own individual touch to it.”

Brined Barbecued Turkey


2 l (8 cups) apple juice

250 ml (1 cup) salt

30 ml (2 tbsp) dried rosemary

30 ml (2 tbsp) dried thyme

15 ml (1 tbsp) dried sage

5 ml (1 tsp) coarsely ground black pepper


1 turkey (4.5 to 5.5 kg/10 to 12 lb), fresh or defrosted

125 ml (1/2 cup) melted unsalted butter, divided

5 ml (1 tsp) freshly ground black pepper

1.5 l (6 cups) reduced-sodium chicken stock

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 large carrots, roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

4 small chunks apple wood or 4 small handfuls apple wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes


Reserved pan liquid plus enough chicken stock to make 1 l (4 cups) of liquid

50 ml (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces

50 ml (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

75 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine

30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped fresh Italian parsley


Freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, combine brine ingredients. Stir vigorously until salt has dissolved.

Remove neck and giblets from both ends of turkey and reserve in refrigerator for gravy. Cut off and reserve wing tips for gravy too. If your turkey has a trussing clamp, leave it in place. Do not truss turkey. Rinse turkey, inside and out.

Partially fill a cooler with ice. Open a large sturdy plastic bag in cooler. Place turkey, breast side down, in bag. Carefully pour brine over turkey and then add 3 l (12 cups) cold water. Press air out of bag, seal bag tightly, close cooler lid and set aside for 18 to 24 hours.

Remove turkey from bag and rinse it, inside and out, with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Discard brine. Lightly coat turkey with some of the melted butter. Season with pepper.

Pour stock into a sturdy 23-by-33-cm (9-by-13-inch) roasting pan. Add onion, carrots and celery. Add reserved turkey neck, giblets and wing tips. Place turkey, breast side down, in roasting pan.

Place roasting pan in centre of cooking grate. Position pan so turkey legs face the coals. Cook turkey over indirect low heat 150 to 180 C (300 to 350 F) with lid closed, for 1 hour. (If using a smoker box for wood chips, replenish with more wood chips as needed.)

After 1 hour, carefully turn turkey in pan so breast faces up. Continue to cook turkey over indirect low heat. The total cooking time will be 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, until internal temperature reaches 82 C (185 F).

Transfer to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, make gravy.

Stir pan liquid through a sieve and discard all the solids. Add enough chicken stock to equal 1 l (4 cups) of liquid. Place roasting pan on the stove on medium heat. Add butter and flour. As butter melts, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until mixture turns colour of peanut butter, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 1 l (4 cups) of the reserved pan liquid (but not the fat) plus wine. Bring gravy to a boil, whisking frequently to dissolve lumps. Lower heat and simmer gravy until it reaches the consistency you like. If the gravy gets too thick, add more chicken stock a little at a time and simmer until it reaches the right thickness.

Turn off heat. Add parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Carve turkey. Serve warm with gravy.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Recipe source: Weber’s Charcoal Grilling.

The website and video are at

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