Reggie’s Brined and Grilled Turkey, by Beverly Hicks Burch

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Reggie’s Brined & Grilled Turkey

It’s less than two weeks before Christmas. Many of you are probably already planning you Christmas dinner menu. The main course is always debatable from home to home.

For some a Christmas holiday meal isn’t complete without the Christmas Turkey (like the Thanksgiving Turkey). For some it’s the Christmas Ham, some industrious souls insist on both a Christmas Turkey and Ham (my family usually falls into that box) and others it’s a Christmas Goose. Then, there are you bohemian or ethnic souls. In these homes you might find a nice crown roast, lamb, steak, or lasagna for Christmas dinner. One tradition T & H brought with him from New Mexico was Posole, a wonderful hominy, pork, green chili stew that shows up at most holidays in Hispanic homes. We’ve kind of started our own new tradition and have it on New Year’s (and when the weather first turns cold and whenever we get a “hankering” for a pot during cold weather J).

Several years ago after a Food Network Marathon, T & H decided upon the type of turkey he wanted to cook and present for Thanksgiving…a brined and grilled turkey. (He was still in his honeymoon stage with his Weber grill.) The man would not be denied, moved, misdirected or stopped by a brick wall.

It became a joint effort by Christmas when we research several recipes, tweaked and combined the best of what we liked and at Christmas that year produced the best turkey I had even had in my life.

T & H had not had the opportunity to do a holiday turkey in recent years. So this year he insisted he was going to be in charge of the Thanksgiving Turkey. He even found a whopper…a fat 20 pound fellow…which meant adjusting the recipe a tad.

So in case you’re thinking of or ever wanted to brine a turkey and or grill one, I thought I’d share the recipe with some advance time so you could decide if this is the turkey for you. FYI, you don’t have to grill the turkey. You can roast it in the oven, you’ll just miss the smoked flavor.

Once you have a turkey prepared like this, it will be hard to have one prepared any other way.

Reggie’s Brined & Grilled Turkey

For the brine:

1 gallon hot water

1 gallon low sodium vegetable stock (we use Swanson)

1 cup kosher salt

10 whole allspice, crushed

¼ cup peeled and coarsely chopped fresh ginger

4 crushed cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 7 lb. bag ice

1 pound honey

½ light brown sugar

1 13 – 15 pound young turkey

Combine hot water, broth, brown sugar, salt and all brine ingredients except the ice in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and cook until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour brine into a large container. We use a large cooler (ice chest) on wheels.

Aromatics for inside the turkey:

1 red apple, quartered

1 orange, quartered

1 cinnamon stick

4 – 5 shallots (can use 1 onion, quartered)

Place these aromatics in bowl and cover with water. Place in microwave for 5 minutes. Drain. Place these aromatics and the fresh herbs in the cavities of the turkey.

Aromatics for turkey

Aromatics for the cavities of the turkey

4 sprigs rosemary

6 leaves of fresh sage

Fresh herbs for brined turkey

Fresh herbs for the cavities of the turkey

Next add the turkey (remove parts from inside) to the brine, breast side up. The brine will accommodate a 15 – 20 pound turkey. Add ice. Cover and keep in a cool place. Turkey needs to stay in the brine overnight or at least 12 hours.

Turkey going into the brine

Turkey going into the brine

Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub with vegetable oil. (Olive oil or canola oil)

Heat the grill to 400° or cook over Indirect Medium heat. If you use a Weber, fill your wood chip tray for smoking with hickory or apple wood chips that have been soaked in water or apple juice for about 1 hour. If not, make “smoke bombs” by soaking you chips in water for the appropriate time then wrap them in double thick foil. Poke holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape out of the “bombs”.

Place the turkey in a disposable aluminum roasting pan and grill until the skin is golden – about 15 minutes per pound or until a thermometer reaches 180° when placed in the thickest part of the thigh. Remove from the grill and let the bird rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Grilled brined turkey A

The brined and grilled turkey

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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