Weber-Stephen Products Co.
A turkey is perfectly browned on a gas grill, accompanied by
apples stuffed with raisins, nuts and cinnamon.

On the grill or in the ground,
smoke lends taste to turkey

We’ve become accustomed to the Thanksgiving turkey, that golden-brown bird, crowned with stuffing, fresh out of the oven. But it is a bit predictable, wouldn’t you say?

So being the rebellious Americans that we are - what do you say we stir things up a bit with a few new ways to cook a 15-pound turkey?

Try the barbecue instead of the oven. Or, if that’s too radical, try one of our nontraditional recipes for an oven-roasted bird, suggested by local chefs, here online.

Grilled Turkey, Weber Style

(Bob Watkins, Weber representative)

This indirect/medium heat method can be done with a gas grill or kettle type grill using charcoal. First, make sure the turkey will fit on the grill with the lid closed.

The turkey should be at room temperature. Free the legs and tail from tucked position and remove the neck and giblets. Rinse turkey with cold water, drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Rub the bird with peanut or vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Weber - and some other brand grills can be configured to work as convection ovens so the heat transfer is indirect, rather than as broilers, which provide direct heat, Watkins said.

For indirect heat in a 22-1/2-inch kettle, the charcoal must be kept on two sides of the grill in fuel holders - Weber’s are called Char-Baskets. They sit to the sides of the turkey. An aluminum drip pan is placed under the grill, directly under the turkey.

A conventional oven tends to dry out the turkey more because cooking is done with static heated, or uncirculated air, Watkins said. The convection method of a gas grill or charcoal kettle allows air to circulate constantly through top and bottom holes of the units.

Convection cooking also is faster. A 15-pound unstuffed turkey cooks at about 10 minutes a pound; stuffed turkeys at 11 minutes a pound, Watkins said.

Once the turkey is cooking, there’s no need to turn it, wrap it or baste it.

When about two-thirds cooking time has elapsed, cut the band of skin, or string, holding the legs together. After removing the bird from the grill, wait 10 minutes before carving.

Imu-Style Turkey
with Portuguese Cornbread Stuffing

(Sean Kinoshita, executive chef, Sunset Grill)

Dig a pit 1-1/2-times the size of the turkey. Secure the pit’s sides with chicken wire to keep dirt from crumbling onto the bird. Salt and pepper unstuffed turkey; wrap with ti leaves, then with cheesecloth, then with chicken wire. Place red hot coals or river rocks in the bottom of the pit, top with a layer of ti leaves. Place turkey on the ti leaves; cover with more leaves, then more hot material. Cover the pit with nonflammable heavy material. Cook for 5 hours.

Check the turkey at 4 hours using a metal skewer or knife for temperature and ease of penetration. When the still-wrapped turkey is done, remove it and put on a platter. Remove cheesecloth. The meat literally will fall off the bone, Kinoshita promised.

Portuguese Cornbread Stuffing

15 ounces Portuguese sausage,
5 ounces each, onion, celery and carrot
1 quart cornbread
1-12 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice Portuguese sausage. Heat canned chicken stock until hot. Dice carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Saute vegetables in olive oil or butter in a Teflon pan while in another skillet cooking the Portuguese sausage. Drain fat. Crumple corn bread and mix with vegetables and sausage. Pour hot chicken stock over for texture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Grilled Turkey with Sage-Garlic Baste

2 lemons (juice and grated zest - outer colored peel)
6 tablespoons olive oil
14 cup minced fresh sage or 1 tablespoon dried sage
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 10- to 12-pound turkey, boned and split in half

In small pan, combine the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 4 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill according to manufacturer’s directions. Baste turkey liberally with sage butter and grill 1 to 112 hours, until meat is brown and cooked through. Continue basting with butter as needed.

Grilled Stuffed Apples

( "Don’t Eat Your Heart Out Cookbook"
by Joseph Piscatella, Workman, 1994, $17.95)

6 medium baking apples (Rome, Spartan, Empire, McIntosh or Winesap)
13 cup raisins
14 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon tub-style light margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or other nuts, optional

Slice off tops of apple and reserve as "caps." Remove core halfway through center of apples, leaving bottoms intact. Mix raisins, sugar, margarine, cinnamon, and nuts if desired. Fill center of apples. Replace caps.

Place apples on side of covered grill over indirect heat or on an elevated shelf, if available. Cook in covered grill for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on type and size of apple and degree of desired doneness. Makes 6 servings.

Note: If using a baking dish, core all the way through apples and place stuffed fruit upright in dish. Pour 1 cup water around apples. Bake directly on covered grill and follow directions above, basting often.

If baking apples in a standard oven, follow baking-dish instructions and bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.

Approximate nutritional analysis per apple: 147 calories, 1 gram fat, no saturated fat, no cholesterol, 23 milligrams sodium.*

Local chefs offer recipes

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