Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1.75 to 2.25 hours*
1 (12 lb.) whole turkey (spatchcocked)
Charcoal grill or smoker-2 (2″x 3″) piece of sugar maple wood (apple or any fruit also works well)
Gas grill-use GrillKicker or pellet tube
1/4 cup of Butcher Bird Booster
2 cups of water
1/4 lb. unsalted butter
- Mix injection in accordance to the label
- Spatchcock the turkey
- Have the legs facing away from you. Inject evenly from front to back with the grain of the meat. Inject each side of the breast evenly in 3 places. You will see the breast rise as you inject. Inject each thigh twice and inject the legs once or twice.
- Season the turkey, place in a pan, tent with foil and place in the fridge overnight. (note-for small birds 4 to 6 hours is enough)
- Bring the grill or smoker up to 300 to 325 degrees
- Place wood in grill or smoker
- Let the wood burn for 15 mins. before putting the turkey on to allow the smoke to clean up (white blue color)
- Prior to placing the turkey on the grill or smoker, inject the with melted butter in the same manner as the injection (note-allow the butter to cool slightly before injecting and get it on the preheated grill right away)
- Place breast side up
- Base a couple of times throughout the cook with melted butter or simply spray with “I Can’t Believe It’s Butter”
- When breast temp hits 165 degrees or higher (we bring to 170 to 175) remove from the grill and tent with foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes and serve
*If you do not spatchcock the turkey your cook time will be extended so then figure approximately 1hr/4lbs.
Lard Have Mercy!!
When we think barbecue the beverage of choice that usually comes to mind is beer. An old saying at GrillBillies is that “one of the B’s in BBQ” must stand for beer. Yes, that beverage we can always find a reason to consume while sitting next to our smoker or grill. It’s natural and it’s American!! So why are we talking about wine?
Well, with the surge in popularization of barbecue the “wineos” have entered the arena. Like craft beer showing up at a barbecue so is the same with wine. The art of turning out great “Q” is no longer left to the beer drinking “die-hards” that built their own smokers and brave the elements whether it be sub zero or scorching hot. The enthusiasm for great barbecue is covered by all walks of life and therefore many enjoy a good bottle of wine with their barbecue.
Selecting the right wine can be as important as selecting the right sauce or seasoning to complement your “Q” of the day. Whether you are grilling or smoking pork, chicken, brisket or fish no one single wine is a “go to” that will do the job best. There are many factors that will effect the best selection beside just the meat. Are the seasoning or sauce spicy, sweet, tart? Are we cooking in blazing heat or like we are at the North Pole? Oh, and the palettes of the guest but we can’t deal with that because there will always be a difference of opinion and we know what opinions are like! We will stick with the basic rules, but with that being said rules are meant to broken, so drink what you like.
Here is cryptic look at the GrillBillies selections that we feel works best with various types of barbecue and conditions (Oh, we practice what we preach).
Chardonnay*, Chenin Blac, White Burgundy
Cabernet, Malbec, Zinfandel, Barolo, Meritage, Amarone*, Ripasso*
Bordeaux, Cabernet*, Barolo*, Amarone, Ripasso
Chardonnay, White Burgundy, Merlot, Pinot Noir*, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Rose
White Burgundy*, Chardonnay
Riesling, Pinot Gris, Vouvray*, Prosecco, Cava
Spicy Seasonings or Sauces-
Zinfadel*, Syrah, Malbec
Grilled Vegetables, Shrimp, Shell Fish-
Sauvignon Blanc (Fume Blanc)
Summer Heat (all purpose)-
Cool Dry Rose
Winter Cold ( all purpose)-
Cabernet, Zinfandel, Malbec——Shine????
This recipe can be used on a smoker, gas or charcoal grill and the oven.
It seems we really don’t think about turkey until we are coming upon thanksgiving. Even the supermarkets think the same. It can be somewhat of a task to find one that sells turkey any other time.
For some, thinking about turkey can bring back some horrid memories. A bland overcooked bird unseasoned and just down right tasteless. This would turn of anyone to go out of their to roast one any other time of the year.
But there is hope. At GrillBillies we put life back into that bird to the extent you would consider it other than thanksgiving. A few techniques and you will WOW your guests and the old turkey will win back some respect.
OK, here are few basics:
Buy a bird in the 12 to 16 lbs. range. We find them tastier.
If you need to cook a larger bird, cook two smaller ones and it will lessen the cook time by a lot.
Inject or brine? Do either but not both to insure that it doesn’t dry out.
If the bird is frozen, allow about 4 days for it to thaw in the fridge.
Don’t stuff the turkey! If you do, you will have to cook the stuffing above 165 degrees because the juices will have soaked into the stuffing and it will result in over cooking the rest.
Don’t truss the bird (tie the legs). You run the risk of under cooking the dark meat.
Remove the pop up thermometer and throw it away. It’s useless. Use a good digital “poke thermometer”.
Remove all the giblets and the neck. If you have the time they will work well in making a turkey broth along with the carcass.
Remove the plastic trussing by the legs and the pop up thermometer.
No need to rinse the turkey. You only spread around bacteria the kitchen and run the risk of one becoming sick. Just pour off the juices.
Brining We like to use an all purpose brine Oakridge’s Game Changer. This brine can be used for anything. If you want to make your own “click here”.
Injecting We like to use Butcher’s Bird Booster. Iinject 3 times on each side of the breast under the skin and 2 times in each thigh and leg. Due this the day before if possible.
Season the turkey under and top of the skin at the breast and on top at the legs and thighs.
Let the bird sit in fridge overnight.
If cooking on a gas or charcoal grill set up the grills for an indirect cook.
If cooking on a smoker you should be indirect.
a 12lb. Butterball turkey. The night before he spatchcocked the bird, injected it with our Butcher Bird Booster Original and seasoned it. The next day he got his Kamado Grill going, threw in a piece of sugar maple wood, injected the bird with melted butter and immediately put it on the grill. Grill temp was set at 325 . 1.75 hours later we were served a delicious and succulent turkey like no other. Thank you Chef!
Note: You do not have to own a smoker for this recipe. You can achieve the same results on a gas or charcoal grill or in the oven.
Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1.75 to 2.0 hours
1 (12 lb.) whole turkey (spatchcocked)
1 (2″x 3″) piece of sugar maple wood (apple and peach also work well)
1/4 cup of Butcher Bird Booster
2 cups of water
1/4 lb. unsalted butter
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp Smokin Guns Hot
1 tbsp Cimarron Doc’s Sweet Rib Rub
1 tbsp Big Bob Gibson Rub
A note about injecting-
Have the legs facing away from you. Inject from front to back with the grain of the meat. Inject each breast evenly in 3 places. You will see the breast rise as you inject. Inject each thigh twice and inject the legs once or twice. Do the same with the butter.
Season both sides of the bird.
Place on the grill skin side up.
Spatchcocking, another term for butterflying, is basically cutting the backbone out of a chicken or turkey splitting it in half and placing on the grill skin side up.
Spatchcocking takes a piece of meat that is configured like a football and brings it down to a more symmetrical size providing a more even cook across the entire bird. It also makes crisping the entire skin easier, provides more surface area for seasoning and lessens the cook time.
Spatchcocking is simple and here’s how it works:
Lay the bird breast side down on a cutting board.
Cut on both sides of the spine and remove it.
Spread the two halves apart.
Turn the bird over placing your hands over the breast bone and push down hard, like giving CPR.
Season both sides, place on the grill or smoker and that’s it.
The method of getting the maximum amount of smoke into meat is to put the meat on the smoker cold.
The colder the meat, the better (not frozen).
Right out of the refrigerator or cooler is when the meat will take the most smoke.
As the internal temperature of the meat increases, the meat will take less smoke.
When the internal temperature reaches 140 to 150, the meat will not take on any more smoke.
Between 40 and 70 degrees, the meat accepts the most smoke.
From 70 to 140, it takes much less smoke.
Above 150 you are just generating heat, regardless of whether you are continuing to cook with wood.
So the best method is to get your meat on the smoker cold.
It seems that turkey cooking has been relegated to the busiest holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. That shouldn’t be so. When smoked it makes for a great meal and when chopped up makes some fantastic barbecue.
There are so many ways to cook a turkey that this would require a separate article dedicated to just that.
Today we want to discuss smoking a turkey.
Now many of you do not have the luxury of owning a smoker but that doesn’t mean you have to sit on the side line of this discussion.
More on this later.
One of the finest ways to cook a turkey is to smoke it.
I’m not putting down the indoor oven or deep frying. It’s just that smoking a turkey imparts a taste like no other.
Now, I’m not talking about smoke to the extent of making jerky. I’m simply saying that a light flavor of smoke from the right smoking woods is the perfect partner for turkey.
Before we talk about some of the ways to smoke a turkey let’s first discuss some basics.
Turkey is no different than any other poultry. It is susceptible to Salmonella and other pathogens. There is no way around this because of their living conditions. So, it is important to handle with care and make certain all prep areas are completely disinfected. There is a “school of thought” that washing the turkey will help remove some of the pathogens. It doesn’t. It only spreads the pathogens around the prep area. The pathogens are deep in the skin.
To stuff or not to stuff? That is the question. Don’t stuff. Stuffing the bird requires that you cook the stuffing to 160 degrees because it will have absorbed juices from the raw turkey. In achieving the temp needed will require you to overcook the rest of the bird. With the body cavity empty, heat can flow in and out of the body cavity freely providing consistent and even heat distribution.
Make the stuffing over the stove and bake separately.
Don’t put the bird directly in a roasting pan. You can put it on a rack with the pan underneath. This allows heat to circulate around the bird to provide even cooking.
Prepping the bird:
Check the body cavity and the neck area for any “inards” that might have been placed back in the turkey after processing.
You have three choices at this point. To brine, inject or neither.
If you choose to brine you will need a rather large pail or container to hold the turkey. We use a special pail called “The Briner”. It can hold large turkeys and chickens and has an interior locking lid to hold the birds down in the brine and eliminates placing a plate or heavy object on top.
You can make your own brine. There are 100’s of different recipes that you can find on the Internet or purchase a pre-made one. We use one of two that we sell, Oakridge Game Changer or Mad Hunky’s Poultry Brine. They just require mixing with water and add some great taste and moisture to turkeys or chickens. Let them brine for the timeline outlined on the package.
Injecting is basically a quick way of brining. Instead of waiting for the meat to absorb the brine over a period of time injecting infuses the meat immediately. Now, with that being said, it is always better if the bird can sit for a while to allow the injection to migrate through the tissue. We never seem to have that time so we inject and smoke. For injection we love the Butcher products especially Bird Booster and Bird Booster Honey (for chicken we like Bird Booster and Bird Booster Rotisserie).
Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel in and out.
Apply a light coat of vegetable or peanut oil to the exterior to aid in “glueing” the seasoning to the skin.
When it comes to turkey we don’t get fancy with seasoning as we would with other meats (see our article on layering).
Our go to seasonings are either Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper or Plowboy’s Yardbird. They are equally good.
Attempt to apply the seasoning under the skin on the breast and liberally apply to the exterior and the inside of the body cavity.
If you have time allow the turkey to sit covered in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
For gas grillers see our article on “How to do an Indirect Cook on Gas Grill”. To achieve smoke use either our GrillKickers, Smoke Tube or Pellet Pot.
Light up the smoker bring it up to around 275 to 300 degrees and get the wood on. Our favorite by far is sugar maple. It adds a light sweet delicious taste to poultry. If not available use peach or apple.
The smoking/cooking time is going to vary widely based on the type of smoker, the size of the bird etc. The most important thing is to have a good digital thermometer to check the birds temp which should be no less than 165 degrees in the breast. It won’t hurt to bring the temp up to 170 or 175 to play it safe.
When the turkey is done let it sit loosely covered for a few minutes than go to work carving.
Note-if you would like to decrease the cook time think about Spatchcocking the turkey.
Those that have cooked or smoked large cuts of meats or meats that require a long cook time are familiar with two zone cooking. Some of the meats that fall into are pork butts, briskets, ribs etc. The reason for two zone cooking is to keep the meat out of direct contact with the fire eliminating over cooking the exterior and under cooking the interior. With this technique you are basically like creating an oven.
If you have a gas grill-
If you have gas grill with 3 burners light one and keep two off and 4 or more turn off half. On the unlit side place a foil pan with water under the grate. Light the other burner(s) and bring the grill up to your desire temperature. Place the meat on the unlit side over the water pan. The water pan does a couple things. Water is a great absorber of heat therefore it will help to maintain the grill at a lower temperature which can be difficult sometimes with a gas grill. Also the water will help to create some humidity in the grill which can aid in keeping the meat moist.
If you have a charcoal grill-
Use one half of the grill for the fire and the other half for a water pan. Fire up the coals, bring to up to temp and place the meat on the unlit side. Basically the same principle as above with a gas grill.
Those that have cooked a brisket or a pork butt are very familiar with the stall. The stall occurs when cooking thick cuts of meat at low temps over a long period of time such as cooking on a smoker. An example would be you are traveling in your at 70 mph on US 95 for a few hours with no problems until you reach the outskirts to Washington DC and you come to an abrupt stop due to traffic. You are stuck in this traffic for 1 to 3 hours until you get through DC where again you are on your merry way.
The stall can be alarming to the first time cook because he may not understand the reasoning behind it. The stall will commonly occur at around 160 degrees and not move from this temp for 1 to 3 hours. One belief is that the stall is due to the breakdown of collagen (connective tissue) in the muscle into a gelatin state. This doesn’t add up since collagen only accounts for 2% to 5% of the weight of the meat. There just isn’t enough mass to cause a stall. The most credible reason is evaporation. Butts and briskets are 60%-70% water. The moisture deep in the meet is coming to the surface to evaporate and in doing so it has a cooling effect on the surfaces of the meat similar to us when we sweat. Not until the heat rate exceeds the evaporation rate you will move passed the stall.
One way to get around or decrease the stall is to use the “Texas Crutch”. Here’s how it works. When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 150 to 160 degrees wrap the meat tightly in two layers of heavy duty tin foil. This method reduces the stall by controlling the evaporative effect and allowing the heat rate to increase and help reduce the stall.
So next time you should not panic when you encounter the stall. You have two choices, either deal with it or use the Texas Crutch.