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Get Creative with Grilled Turkey this Thanksgiving

Backyard grill offers a variety of ways to cook your meal’s centrepiece

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How many ways can you cook a turkey?

The traditional headliner for the Thanksgiving fest is typically tossed in the oven, basted every now and then, and finally pulled out to serve. It’s a fairly standard practice, but you have other options. Choosing to use your backyard grill to cook the quintessential bird adds new flavours to poultry — and frees up space in your kitchen for other dishes.

It also allows you to add some creativity to shake up that traditional Thanksgiving dinner, with a variety of ways to cook the turkey.

Andrea Alden, food stylist and writer with Napoleon, suggests trying one of these methods for this fall’s feast.

  • Roasted — If you are nervous about trying to cook your turkey on the grill, start here. This is essentially using your grill like your oven — no need for any fancy techniques or out-of-the-ordinary prep. Place a drip pan under the cooking grids and use indirect heat (turn on the burners where the drip pan isn’t) to preheat the grill to about 325°F. Place the seasoned and stuffed bird over the drip pan and cook, checking every 20 minutes or so to baste with melted butter. It should cook for about 20 minutes per pound, or until the thigh measures about 165°F. Then remove from heat, and let it rest under some foil for about 20 minutes before starting to carve it.
  • Rotisserie — Putting the turkey on a spit and slow roasting it makes for a beautifully juicy and evenly cooked bird with skin that is crisp and meat that is tender. For a homemade “butterball” turkey, Andrea suggests injecting the meat with a butter-honey mixture before cooking. Using a drip pan under the bird also gives you a great base for a wonderful gravy. For Andrea’s go-to rotisserie turkey recipe, check here.
  • Spatchcocked — A bit of an advanced technique, but spatchcocking your turkey will greatly cut down on the time it needs to cook, resulting in meat that is juicy and tender with perfectly seasoned skin that is crispy and delicious. To spatchcock your bird, you cut out the spine before cooking, and flatten, before placing it on your grill. Click here for a spatchcock turkey recipe with an incredible garlic cheddar sourdough stuffing.
  • Charcoal — Experiment with new flavours with a turkey cooked over charcoal. Cooking over charcoal gives you the opportunity to add a smokey flavour to the meal by adding wood chunks to the coals — try a sweet wood like apple, maple or cherry. Check here for a full recipe.

The barbecue is also a great spot to cook some of the sides and fixings that go with the turkey dinner. Experiment with plank-smoked mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables or get innovative with a grilled Caesar salad. For dessert, plank smoked apple crisp is very seasonal, or try a barbecued dessert pizza or homemade donuts. For more information, please visit www.napoleon.com.