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BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

January 16 2014

Winter Grilling - Charcoal-Grilled Turkey With Fresh Herb Butter

From Chris Lilly, 10 time world champion pitmaster (Big Bob Gibson BBQ, Decatur, Alabama)

1 whole turkey (12 pounds)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Coarse ground black pepper
Fresh Herb Butter
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup chopped green onion tops
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Gravy
2 cups turkey stock (as directed)
2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons cornstarch


Place the whole turkey breast side down on a cutting board. Remove the neck and giblets and set aside to make the turkey stock. With a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears, cut the turkey down each side of the backbone, removing it completely. Open the turkey and press it flat on the cutting board.

Using a sharp knife, loosen the breast bone from between the turkey breasts and remove it with your fingers. It is a dark colored bone that is often called a keel bone because of its shape. This will enable the turkey to open completely flat. Apply a light coat of olive oil to the turkey skin and liberally season the skin with kosher salt and black pepper.

Build a charcoal fire for direct grilling. The heat over the coals should be hot, (approximately 450 to 500˚F).

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the remaining fresh herb butter ingredients, mix well, and keep warm until needed.

To make turkey stock, add 3 1/2 cups water, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, turkey neck and giblets to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 ½ hours.

Place the butterflied turkey directly over the coals, skin side down, and baste with the fresh herb butter. Grill the turkey for 5-7 minutes or until the skin starts to turn golden brown and begins to crisp. Transfer the turkey to a 10”x10” baking dish skin side up, place it back on the grill, and baste with fresh herb butter. Cover the grill and close the air dampers reducing the cooking temperature to 350 degrees. Cook for 2 1/2 hours basting every hour with the remaining fresh herb butter. The internal temperature of turkey thigh should reach 175-180˚F while the breast meat should reach 160-165˚F. Remove the turkey from the grill, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes prior to carving.

To make the gravy, scarp all of the drippings and liquid from the bottom of the roasting pan into a small bowl. Skim the grease from the top of the liquid. Pour the seasoned liquid, about 3/4 cup, into a small sauce pan. In a small bowl, whisk the 2 tablespoons water with the cornstarch until smooth. Add the cornstarch slurry and 2 cups of the pre-made turkey broth to the sauce pan and heat. Serve drizzled over the turkey or on the side as table gravy.