Step up your game this Christmas and BBQ that turkey bird!It’s that time again to start shopping for Christmas dinner. Not in the mood for ham? Does turkey feel a little redundant? Well, why not change things up a bit by giving your oven a rest and put a turkey on the BBQ instead!Sounds delicious right?

I’ve got the perfect recipe for you! Last month when I discovered on Thanksgiving morning that our oven was broken I had to quickly improvise. Thankfully, my parents had recently purchased a tiny Webster gas grill and I was determined to make it work. Talk about Iron Chef survival skills kicking in. Not only did it work, it was also the best turkey I ever tasted. Check out my bird!

Still not convinced? Well what if I told you that:

  1. You don’t have to stuff the bird
  2. It won’t take as long to cook on the grill
  3. The oven is free for you to make more side and dessert dishes
  4. Your bird will get that crispy skin and tender meat you thought you could only get at restaurants
  5. There will be less mess and dishes to clean up

Now do you want to make some BBQ turkey magic for Christmas this year? Here are my easy to follow instructions.

What you will need:

  • Digital thermometer
  • String
  • Aluminum foil
  • Basting tool
  • Full tank of propane gas (it’s going to be cooking for awhile)
  • 1 fresh turkey, any size (completely thawed)
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil OR vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large twigs of fresh sage, thyme and rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons of Simon and Garfunkel Rub (minus the sugar)

What to do:

1. Preheat your BBQ/grill to the highest heat.

2. Strip off the plastic bag from your turkey and remove the organs and neck from inside. Toss them in the garbage or put them aside if you plan on making gravy.

3. Cut off the extra flaps of skin near the neck.

4. Don’t wash your turkey! Rinsing it will not get rid of salmonella. On the contrary, rinsing it will splatter contamination onto the sink and counters.

5. Dry Brining – sprinkle the skin of the turkey with salt. BUT only do this if your turkey has NOT been injected with salt solution nor was it koshered. Salting the turkey will help make crispy skin, as well as, season the meat and boost the flavor. Keep the turkey uncovered and let it sit for at least 1 hour so the skin can dry out. Best to do this the day before and leave in the fridge overnight night. No plastic cover.

6. Now you’re going to get your hands dirty. Loosen up the skin around the turkey. Really get under it and pull it up to make space for your wet rub.

7. Prepare the Simon and Garfunkel rub recipe. I do not use sugar. No need for it. Also, you don’t want to add anymore salt. You can always add salt later, but you can’t take it away. When your rub mixture is ready add a good amount of oil to it to form a wet rub. Mix well.

8. Let’s get our hands dirty again by scooping the wet rub and working it under the skin of the turkey. Cover as much of the turkey as you can. Spread any left over wet rub and/or more olive oil to the outside of the skin. At this time you can sprinkle some more salt and pepper on the skin to help it crisp when it hits the grill.

9. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the bird and throw in your chopped garlic cloves and twigs of sage, thyme and rosemary.

10. Let the turkey sit for 45 minutes to allow time for the seasonings to absorb into the skin.

10. Do not tie the legs together, but do tie a piece of string around the wings of the turkey to keep them up. If you let them hang loose they will burn on the grill.

11. Time to sear the bird on the grill to jumpstart the browning process. Place all four sides of the bird on the grill for 2-3 minutes. If the skin is sticking that means it needs to brown a little longer on that side. It’s ready to flip to the next side when it stops sticking. When you have finished browning all sides remove the bird from the grill.

12. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the grill. This will protect the bird from burning. Put the bird in the center of the foil (breast side up). Fold up the edges of the foil because this will capture all of the juices.

13. Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast, at least 1 inch deep. The turkey is done when the thermometer reads 160ºF.

14. Close the lid and adjust the heat until it stabilizes at 325ºF. Do not open the lid for at least 1 hour. This means no basting. So if you wont crispy skin then keep the lid closed. After an hour you can check on the bird and baste the bird with the juices collected.

15. The cooking time will be about 1 hour per 5lbs of bird. Outside temperature will effect the time of the heat so make sure you are watching your thermometers. Check the BBQ temperature every 10 minutes and make adjustments accordingly to ensure the temp continues to stay at 325ºF.

16. Remove the bird from the grill once its’ internal temperature has reached 160ºF. Let it cool off for 10 minutes and then start carving away. It’s time to eat!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Recipe courtesy of the lovely Mackenzie Hawkins!

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