Turkey is enjoyed by SOS Children's Villages in Florida and Illinois and by families across the United States for Thanksgiving dinner! Some also choose to serve turkey as the main dish during winter holidays, such as Christmas. Whatever the celebration, your family and guests are sure to enjoy this delicious traditional dish!
Turkey is a great option for serving at large or small gatherings. Once made, turkey can be frozen or refrigerated to be used in sandwiches or soups during the following weeks, making it ideal for leftovers. Our version is also full of flavor, high in protein and perfect for any holiday celebration!
Did you know? The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 over a three-day harvest festival, which included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Native Americans. Turkey wasn’t served at the first Thanksgiving but became an American tradition 200 years later once Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863!
- Full-size turkey: the size of the bird will depend on the number of guests you need to feed
- Aromatics, such as lemon, orange and onion slices
- ½ cup paprika
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- Black pepper
- ½ cup fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano
- 1 cup corn oil
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- 1 cup salt (1/2 cup for every gallon of water)
- 1 cup brown sugar (1/2 cup for every gallon of water)
- 2 lemons, quartered
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- Large bowl (large enough to fit turkey)
- Butcher’s twine
- Basting brush (optional)
- Large pan (large enough to fit turkey)
- Charcoal BBQ grill
- Drip pans
- Meat thermometer
1. To make the brine, dissolve the salt and sugar in a large bowl of cold water. Add the oranges, lemons, thyme and rosemary.
2. Place turkey in the brine. Keep in refrigerator for about 12 hours.
3. Place the brined turkey in a large pan. Stuff the aromatics into the turkey and tie the legs closed with butcher’s twine.
4. Mix paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and fresh herbs together. Add oil. Using a basting brush or your hands, liberally apply all of the rub mixture to the bird. Runoff will occur and be caught in the pan that the bird is resting in.
5. Light your fire on your charcoal BBQ grill. Once coals are ready, separate them into 2 equal piles on either side of the grill.
6. Position drip pans between the piles of coal directly in the center of the grill. Make sure no coals are touching the sides of the drip pan, as they can burn and start a grease fire.
7. Place your rack on the grill and position it so that you can slip coals through the rack handles onto the coals piles during cooking.
8. Position the turkey on grill rack directly over the drip pan. To prevent the skin from darkening too quickly, wrap foil along the bottom edges of the bird and breast.
9. Close the lid and don’t open it for 30 minutes. Over the course of cooking, you should check the coal piles ever 30 minutes and add as needed to keep a steady fire going.
10. Cook the turkey 13 minutes per lb. The turkey is done when the meat thermometer reaches 180 F deep within the thigh.
11. When the cooking is nearly complete, remove the foil from the top of bird. Baste with the remaining rub in the original pan.
12. Let the turkey rest 15 minutes before carving.
13. Enjoy with family and friends!
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