The Best Turkey Ever!
- We also have a spatchcock (flattened) turkey recipe
- Turkey does not have to be brined
- Skin is not necessarily the best part – but it will look great
- Makes fantastic gravy
- A 6 kg turkey was used for this recipe
- Turkey (not frozen)
- Two onions
- Celery (perhaps a carrot or two)
- Fresh herbs (tarragon, sage, thyme,
rosemary and whatever else sounds
good). If you don’t want to use herbs,
then generously rub with your
favourite Dizzy Pig rub
- 2 apples
- 1 lemon
- 1 pound (4 sticks) of butter: 2 for the
turkey; 2 for the gravy
- 1 gallon zip-lock bag
- Bottle of white wine
- Roasting pan
- Stock pot (at least 4 quarts)
1) Clean out insides (neck, heart, giblets,
liver, fat…) – put into a large pot.
2) Add a halved onion, couple of stalks of celery, a carrot or two, fresh herbs (in this
case tarragon, sage, thyme — rosemary is also good.)
3) Fill the pot to the top with water and let simmer all day. This will be your stock for
making the gravy. As it simmers, add water occasionally to keep the level up. This will
do two things: 1) make your house smell great all day and 2) create a wonderful rich
stock for the gravy.
Clean & dry the bird, salt and pepper the cavity (don’t be shy). Into the cavity stick one
small onion (halved), one apple (quartered), one lemon (quartered) and a big bouquet of
herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, and whatever else you like). I also like to put some
Dizzy Pig rub in as well as some garlic. Take two sticks of butter, softened. Chop up
more fresh herbs and mix it into the butter till you have a nice paste. Put the bird in a
roasting pan, breast up, elevated in a v-rack (you don’t want it touching the bottom of
the pan). Quarter another apple and throw it directly in the roasting pan around the bird.
To Note: Make sure the turkey is dry (if not the herbs
will not stick to the outside). Use butcher twine to tie
Two Important Steps
1. 20 minutes before BBQing the turkey, take a one
gallon zip lock bag full of ice and lay it over the breasts
for 20 minutes. Remove the bag of ice just before
putting it on the BBQ. This is important because if you
don’t, you will overcook your white meat and it will
come out tasting dry (white meat cooks quicker and
requires a lower temp than dark meat).
2. Take your butter paste and liberally apply it all over
the bird. Work some under the skin as well. Then, pour
half a bottle of white wine over the bird and in the
cavity. DON’T drink the rest of the bottle (you will need
it for the gravy).
The BBQ Set Up
Test your Primo (Saffire, other Kamado) set-up
before this date and remember that a turkey is
big. Essentially, you need indirect heat under
your roasting pan. Some options to achieve this
is to use the heat deflector (plate setter), and
place a barrier in between the deflector and the
pan. If you put the roasting pan on the plate
setter your gravy will burn.
1. Clean out the firebox very well and fill it up
with natural lump charcoal. Add one or two
good chunks of apple wood (cherry, other)
for additional flavour.
2. Get a good established fire going at 325
degrees & let burn for about 45 minutes prior
to putting the turkey in (a full load at 325 will
last around 8 hours, so it can be close for a
A 21 pound turkey at 325 degrees takes about 6 ½ – 7 hours to be done.
- During the cook regularly baste it with a bulb baster (about once every 20 minutes
after the first hour).
- Ensure there is always water in your water pan (if using one)
- When the skin starts browning, loosely tent it with aluminium foil until about the last
hour, when you should remove the foil to let the skin crisp up and come up to a nice
- Check the inside temperature during the last two hours. The goal is to have internal
temps of 160-165 in the breast and 175-180 in the thigh (this is where the ice bag
does its work).
Pull the turkey out when:
1) A deep poke in the thigh and breast resulted in clear juices running;
2) When the drumstick rotates freely at the joint.
When your turkey is done roasting and prior to moving it to a platter, tip up the bird so
that all the juices will run out of the cavity back into the roasting pan (you will want these
juices for the gravy). Your pan should look like
the picture on the right.
Discard the apple (or any other large food items
that were in the pan during the roasting. That
dark stuff you see is not burnt – its well browned
and will affect the final color of your gravy and
trust me – this is where all the real flavour is.
Sometimes the gravy is lighter, sometimes its
darker – either way, its fantastic.
Pour the contents of this pan into a bowl or large measuring cup. It should make around 2 full cups. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the fat separates from the good drippings.
In this picture you can see that almost half the
pan drippings are fat. Using a ladle, gently
remove the fat and leave just the dark pan
Now you are really ready to make the gravy.
Take your ‘empty’ roasting pan and place it over
a burner (in this case over both front and back
burners) on high heat.
Add two sticks of butter and whisk it hard, pulling up
as much of the pan ‘crud’ as possible. All through
this process you need to be constantly whisking in
order to avoid any burning or scorching. As the
butter melts and you dislodge the crud from the pan,
it will be bubbly and brown.
Now start adding flour (from ½ to 1 cup). Keep
whisking and working it in until it is bubbly, pasty
texture. Keep whisking that flour/butter/crud mixture
until you have a nice smooth roux. There should be
no lumps of flour.
After about 4 to 5 minutes it should be thick and
smooth. Remember that ½ a bottle of wine you
were saving? Add the wine to the roasting pan. You
should still have it on a high flame so that the alcohol
will boil off. Keep whisking (the key to a nice smooth
lump free gravy is to whisk the roux till its lump free
and then keep whisking the other ingredients in so
that it stays nice and smooth). Because of the high
heat, it will be bubble constantly – so keep whisking
to avoid it burning.
Remember that bowl of crud/liquid you saved from
the pan and separated from its fat? Once the wine
has been mixed in and reduced about 1/4, add in
this liquid. This liquid imparts tremendous flavour.
Now that you’ve mixed in the crud, remember that stock
you’ve been cooking all day? Start ladling that into the
pan, one ladle at a time, continuing to whisk it in. Keep
the heat on, bring it all to a boil. Keep adding stock till
you have the desired thickness where you want it.
This is a picture of the gravy after addition of the crud
and beginning to add the stock. Its still pretty thick and I’ll
continue to add stock till it hits the consistency I want.
The Big Finish
Take neck, giblets, heart and liver from
the stock pot. Remove the meat from the
neck (you’ll be amazed how much meat
there is). Chop it all up (meat, giblets,
heart and liver) very finely and add it to the gravy.
In a small bowl, mix some of the stock with some
flour to create a thickening agent. By doing this
in a separate bowl, you avoid the problem of
adding flour directly to the gravy with the
intention of thickening it but in reality, you’ll be
creating lumps. If the gravy is too thin for your
tastes, you can stir in some of this thickening
agent till you get the gravy you want. Too thick?
Simply add some more stock.
Finish up your gravy by adding some salt and pepper to taste (or as my mom would
suggest, some worscteshire sauce). Final note, this gravy will not look like the creamy
stuff from a jar, nor is it intended to,
but I’ll bet it’s the best you ever had.
So, here’s the finished product;
succulent, moist, juicy turkey with all
the great flavour added by roasting in
your charcoal BBQ – and the best
tasting gravy you ever had.
Check out our spatchcock turkey recipe as well!
If you give this a try please leave us a comment or let us know on Facebook!