For those of you lucky enough to live in climates that allow you to grill year round, I propose this: Spatchcock and grill your turkey. Trust me, it will be the best turkey you’ve ever had.
Oh, not into turkey? Well, I am biased and suggest you grill whatever your main entrée of choice is anyway. Nothing beats a grilled Thanksgiving Feast, but hey, I’m not in your kitchen slaving away over your stove all day long. Growing up in Maryland, our grill wasn’t a year-round commodity because no one wanted to stand around in a snowdrift to grill. Living in south Florida? I might just use it more than my oven some most months.
I regularly spatchcock my birds. All of them. They cook up so much quicker, so much crisper, even in the oven! Better yet, I get to make soup with the spine, which would have otherwise gone to waste. Who eats the spine? No one, that’s who. Bon Appetite has excellent instructions for spatchcocking any fowl. They tell you how to roast it too, but seriously, grill that sucker.
I grill pretty exclusively with natural lump charcoal, tumbleweeds, and a chimney starter. No accelerant for me. Two chimneys seem to keep me from having to re-stoke my grill halfway through. Maybe your grill is smaller and one will do, but mine takes two full chimneys to have an even layer of charcoal across the entire thing. I do the turkey first before anything else is grilled because it takes the longest, but any sides that will be made in the kitchen I do before grilling. Those can almost always be kept warm in the oven while the grilling is happening. I usually get around a 15 pound bird, and it takes around an hour to finish with the grill reading around 400F (give or take, it really averages from 350F – 450F depending on how often I open the grill) for most of the hour. This turns out the juiciest, most tasteful turkey I have ever made, every time. I’m not a big fan of any fowl – but even this is heaven. Don’t forget to stuff some butter and some sage leaves (I like whole fresh leaves for this) under the skin, and whatever else you like on top, but butter & sage usually do it for us. Maybe a little salt & pepper.
I tend to do an assortment of sides. I like to serve up some old favorites along with something new every year. I learned last year to get kitchen cooking done first, because the turkey cooked up so quick! No one wants a cold turkey unless it’s next day leftovers. Carrot soufflé is a favorite, homemade cranberry sauce, turkey soup (use that spine, the neck, and whatever scraps you have leftover from prepping the salad and other sides), those yummy gf cheese rolls we made last year, I’m both hungry and exhausted thinking about it! I haven’t put together a full menu yet this year (and what am I thinking, letting it wait this long?!) but I at least have everything I need… everything being two frozen turkeys, a bag of charcoal, and fully stocked liquor cabinet. What, that cider bourbon gravy isn’t going to cook itself!
Jenn has been described as “the archetype of the next generation matriarch” – whatever that means. She resides in not-so-sunny south Florida. With her children working on being nearly grown, she dreams about living in a tiny house almost anywhere else. Jenn runs the technical aspect of Punky Moms. Whenever there is a tech problem, she fixes it. She is the great and powerful Oz.