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Easy Turkey on the Weber

Cynthia | Dec 2, 200204:39 PM

This is the cook-it-and-forget-it method or, Not Just for Thanksgiving Turkey.
Max's Tips for cooking Turkey on the Weber is the perfect solution for carefree turkey:

The Basics:
-a covered Weber-type 22" grill
-10 lbs. of good quality charcoal briquets (Kingsford is good)
-a set of charcoal rails to keep the charcoal banked along opposite sides of drip pan
-an aluminum drip pan to fit between the charcoal rails
-a cooking rack to hold the bird
-long tongs and cooking mitts
-the turkey -17 lbs. or less, otherwise the lid will not fit on the barbecue!

The Procedure:
Stuffing the turkey will slightly increase the cooking time. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator (or the brine, if you've brined it the night before!) and prepare it about an hour or so before it goes onto the grill to take a bit of the chill off the bird.

Rinse the bird in cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. For the perfectionist, use your hair dryer to evaporate the water that collects in the cavity of the bird. Stuff it with your favorite stuffing, if you like. Or, if you are not stuffing it, fill the bird with onions, carrots, celery, parsley, and fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, apple slices, etc.— Rub the skin with vegetable oil.

Open all the air vents in the lid and at the bottom of the Weber, leaving them open throughout the cooking time. Ignite all 10lbs. of charcoal piled in the center of the grill. Allow 45 minutes to an hour for all to light, covered with a light ash. Transfer the coals to the sides behind the rails. Center the drip pan between the coals to catch the drippings for your gravy. You can add a cup of water to the drip pan if you think that the juices might burn away.

Throw on 8 to 10 twigs of applewood, chunks of mesquite wood—or hickory, almond, pear, even walnut shells,— add the grill, the turkey on a rack, and the covered lid. Remember to open all the vents in the lid and at the bottom. Omit the extra woods if you don't want the added smoky flavors. And, remember that smoked meats have a pinkish tinge and that doesn't mean that it's undercooked.

Now, sit back and relax. The Weber will do its thing. No basting. No peeking. Removing the lid will release the built up cooking heat and slow down the cooking—do not remove the lid during cooking! The bird will have a deep brown mahogany finish without basting. I have had to learn to trust this foolproof cooking method!

Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness after the Cooking Times for the bird. It will continue to cook after you've removed it from the grill. Let it sit for 30 minutes, before carving. It should be 170° at the breast and 185° at the thick part of the thigh, away from the bone. The bird is fully cooked even though the meat and juices may have a slightly pink color from the smoking process.

Cooking Times:
Stuffed Turkey
16-17 lbs. about 2 hours 45 minutes
15-16 lbs. about 2 hours 30 minutes
14-15 lbs. about 2 hours 25 minutes
13-14 lbs. about 2 hours 20 minutes

Unstuffed Turkey:
13 - 15 lbs. about 2 hours

It's perfect turkey. Moist. Flavorful. Beautifully browned. And, almost too easy to take the credit for its cooking.

True Confessions: this is not recommended but it is true: one year we went to the movies for the afternoon, while the turkey was on the Grill and we were late getting home by 30 minutes. The turkey was perfectly done even with the extra time—and, our house hadn't burned to the ground while we were gone. It's probably a very bad idea to leave the grill unattended in the backyard, even if it must be unattended while cooking! The one drawback to the extra long cooking was that the juices in the drip pan had evaporated.

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