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Brine Ingredients (24 hours)
2.5 cups kosher salt
2.5 cups brown sugar
2.5 tbsp Big Green Egg Dill and Herb seasoning
1 14-16 lb. turkey, defrosted
3 sticks butter, unsalted
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch sage
1 bunch thyme
1 yellow onion, cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
1 lemon, cut
1 cup white wine
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 onion, halved
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch sage
Combine the brine ingredients and 2 quarts of water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Mix
until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Chill the liquid and pour into a 5-gallon brining bucket.
Fill the bucket halfway with cold water and ice. Add the turkey. Brine the turkey for 24
hours, ensuring the water temperature is below 40ºF. According to “Grillin with Dad, this is when science will work its magic.
Use a roasting rack and a drip pan. This method of cooking gives the best final presentation and will also catch all those tasty drippings in the pan. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse it thouroghly. Pat it dry inside and out, and put in into the roasting rack in the pan. Leave it at room temperature for an hour or so.
Prepare the butter mixture. Finely chop up about 1 tsp each of rosemary, thyme and sage. Take 2 sticks of UNSALTED butter (this is very important. The turkey doesn’t need anymore salt) and melt in the microwave. Add the chopped herbs, 1 tbsp. of seasoning. The butter mixture is ready.
Before you pour the butter mixture on the turkey, take a few pieces of cold butter and stuff it under the skin over the breast. Then take the butter mixture and pour it all over the bird. Be sure to cover it thouroghly. You’ll notice that the butter will solidify as soon as it hits the turkey. This is what we want. The butter will stick and then melt as the turkey is cooking.
After the turkey is nicely buttered up it’s time to stuff the turkey. Keep it simple. Fill it with 1-2 chopped onions, chopped celery, 1 or 2 carrots, 1 quartered lemon and more fresh herbs. And don’t overstuff it. Just fill it in nicely.
Turkey Cooking Time
There are a lot of methods out there when it comes to cooking a turkey. The goal is the same, ensure the turkey comes out tender and moist. It’s easier said than done for 1 simple reason. The breast meat cooks faster than the dark meat and what happens is the breast will be overcooked by the time the rest of the turkey is finished. But there is a trick.
Take a large ziplock bag and fill it with ice. Put the bag over the breast of the turkey and leave it there for 30 minutes. The ice will bring down the temperature of the breast meat so it can finish cooking at the same time as the dark meat. It’s an easy trick and one that works really well.
After 30 minutes remove the ice pack. The turkey is ready to grill. For this cook use an XL Big Green Egg. Setup for indirect grilling with the temperature set at 160° celcius. Because of the shape of the grill and the heat flow inside, the time estimate is about 25 minutes per kg (12 minutes per pound) at this temperature. This is only a guideline and it is important to still monitor the internal temperature of the turkey.
Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the alarm for 72° degrees to start checking the internal temperature in other parts of the turkey. Some confusion is inevitable about the recommended cooking temperature. 74° for the breast meat and 82° for the thighs. It is recommended to remove the bird when the temperature reaches 74° because it will continue to cook.
Don’t peak while the turkey is cooking! Let the grill do the work. There’s no need to baste either.
When the alarm goes off, take your instant read meat thermometer and check the internal temperature in a few other spots in the breast and thigh. You’re looking for anything between 71-72° . That’s a few degrees shy of 74° but that won’t be a problem. As the turkey rests off the grill, it will still come up in temperature a few degrees. Pulling it a few degrees shy of 74° will ensure it won’t overcook.
After the turkey is done, pull it from the grill and cover it loosely with foil. It needs time to rest! Now’s the perfect time to make the gravy.
Time to make that delicious turkey gravy. Start by taking the drip pan and pouring all the liquid out into a jar. Wait a few minutes and you should see the fat settle to the top. Remove and discard the fat.
Take your drip pan with all those burnt brown bits stuck to the bottom and put in on the stove. Turn the heat up and scrape the bottom of that pan. Thrown in a lump of butter and whisk it in the pan. Wait until the butter starts to brown and then add 1 cup of flour. Keep whisking until it’s all nicely combined. Add the pan drippings from the jar and keep whisking. If you need more liquid, you can use the turkey stock that’s been cooking all day. Keep the heat up on the pan until the gravy is your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Here’s the secret ingredient. Remove all the meat from the turkey neck that was in the stock and chop it up with the rest of the giblets. Toss this into the gravy and mix it in. And just like that, our gravy is done!
By now the turkey is ready to be carved. The breast should be tender and juicy. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy. Enjoy!