Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

BBQ My Way

November 15, 2012

BBQ: Turkey preparation requires attention to details


3. Seasoning: Rubs, salt, and pepper placed directly on the skin do very little for flavoring, and the smoking process will provide great color. To get flavor into or on the meat, you can pull the skin up and rub the meat with herbs and spices, making sure you place the skin back where it was, or you can inject with a flavored broth or solution. Personally, I go “all-natural.”

4. Moistness: Once you remove the neck and giblets from the cavity, you have a wide open space that will be filled with hot air, which could adversely impact the moistness of the turkey. I fill the space with peeled and halved onions as well as quartered apples. The onions and apples add some flavoring as the steam is released, while helping keep the bird moist. Discard when done.

5. Positioning: The breast of the turkey tends to be the biggest challenge in terms of maintaining moistness. Something I have started doing is cooking the breast side down. The white meat does tend to be more moist, but the end product looks a bit strange with grill marks on the breast portion. It's up to you if moister meat is worth a less desirable visual presentation. Moistness wins for me.

6. Flexibility: Realize that each grilling experience has its own personality. Weather conditions and the heartiness of the charcoals will impact the temperature of the grill, thus determining cooking time. Plan on 20 to 30 minutes per pound, assuming your grilling temperature will be around 325 degrees. But, please realize it can happen quicker. The turkey will be done when a thermometer inserted into the thigh (nor touching the bone) registers 160 degrees. I've had a

turkey finish up to an hour early.

7. Rest: When you take the bird off the grill and bring it inside, strut your stuff baby! But be careful not to drop the turkey while performing your rendition of the Michael Jackson moon walk across the kitchen. Most importantly, allow the bird to rest for 20 minutes or so before carving. If you carve too soon you will release a lot of the juices. Also realize that the temperature of the bird will continue to raise an additional 7 to 10 degrees before starting the cooling process.

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