According to a recent article from The Washington Post, the weather has been unseasonably warm on the east coast. In fact, the article states that in some areas, temperatures have reached their highest levels in early November in decades. This means you can finally cook your Thanksgiving Day turkey outdoors without chattering teeth and having to dress in layers.
You might be raising your eyebrows at the thought of cooking your turkey outdoors, rather than the traditional oven method. However, we can assure you the following methods will ensure your bird is tender and juicy!
Smoke It – A kamado-style grill, or a smoker, will give your turkey a crisp exterior with a moist interior. The first step is to add wood chips to the bottom of your smoker for added flavor; then build your fire in the coal pan, just as you would with any other type of meat. When the coals are heated, fill the water pan and set in place. Next, place your pre-seasoned turkey on the grill grate, and close the lid. Remember, the slower you cook the turkey, the more tender it will be. Keep your smoker at approximately 300 degrees. And, if you don’t already know the tricks of the trade, poultry cooks for about 20-30 minutes per pound, so be sure to watch the timer. Also, expect to add fresh coals and water to your smoker throughout the cooking process.
Fry It – If you live in the south, chances are you have probably had a deep fried turkey. Frying a turkey can be a dangerous task, if you don’t follow the right steps and take the needed safety precautions. Place your fryer in a grassy area, away from the rest of your preparations that are being completed at your outdoor kitchen. Fill your fryer with enough oil to fully cover your turkey; this is probably the most important step to adhere; heat to 350 degrees. Very carefully, lower the room-temperature, dry-rubbed turkey into the hot oil. Fry your bird for three minutes per pound, plus an extra five to ensure it’s cooked through. Again, carefully, remove the turkey from the fryer and place on a large plate with napkins to soak up the oil.
Grill It – This may not be the most common method to cook a turkey outdoors, but it sure can be tasty! Once you have cleaned the bird, tie the legs together and twist the wing tips under the back. Brush with olive oil; salt and pepper to taste. Preheat your gas grill to 500 degrees then turn the burners down to a medium flame. Place your turkey breast side up in a roasting pan and position on the grill rack; cook for approximately 11-13 minutes per pound, or until the thermometer reaches 180 degrees.
As a helpful tip for all three methods, once your turkey is cooked through, let it rest 15 minutes prior to carving. Serve with your favorite sides.