Families in the UK tuck into an estimated 10 million turkeys every Christmas and there’s no doubt a roasted bird is the star of the table on the big day.
Of course, if you’re the cook charged with wowing your guests, the quest to knock their freshly unwrapped Christmas socks well and truly off can be a challenge. So this year, why not serve up a succulent turkey which is full of flavour and has beautiful crispy golden skin by barbequing the bird?
Roasting a turkey on the bbq is easier than you might think. A gas barbeque is ideal as a typical 12 pound-bird will take around two-and-a-half hours to cook and keeping charcoal hot for that long is quite the challenge.
Barbequing a turkey has the benefit of not drying the meat out while freeing up your oven for everything else that accompanies it for that festive feast. The notion of grilling a turkey on the bbq is popular in America for the Thanksgiving roast and once you’ve tasted the juicy, gamey full of flavour flesh you’ll see why.
How to barbeque your Christmas turkey
First things first. We’ve all seen the comedy clips of people trying to stuff an oversized turkey that doesn’t fit into their oven in a panic on Christmas Day. The same is true for the barbequed version. Take a look at your bbq and check what size bird will realistically fit in it. A kettle barbeque will generally accommodate a turkey crown but a good-sized gas bbq will fit in something much bigger.
It’s best to brine your turkey on Christmas Eve ala Heston Blumenthal with a 10 per cent brine solution (100g of salt per litre of water) and chill overnight.
On the morning itself, remove the brine and cover with fresh water, changing it a few times. Then allow the bird to come back up to room temperature before popping it in an aluminium tray filled with water.
Only turn on the outer burners of your gas bbq, stuff and season the turkey, pop it into the middle of the barbeque – once up to heat – and close the lid.
As an estimate, allow 20 minutes for each 1lb that the turkey weighs. Check regularly and once the internal temperature has reached 65 degrees at its thickest point, you’re about done. Allow the turkey to rest for an hour, carve, serve and enjoy. One thing is sure, it’ll be the tastiest bird you’ve served up for quite some time.