There are few dinners on the North American calendar as iconic as Thanksgiving dinner, with a golden turkey at the centre of the table and all of the bounty of the fall harvest surrounding it.
A lot of effort goes into getting the dinner prepared, and with a house full of family and friends it can create a chaotic scene in your kitchen. However, by taking your turkey to the outside to the grill, you can ease the activity in your kitchen, leaving the house for socializing and enjoying company.
“Your backyard grill is, essentially, an outdoor oven with a versatility you simply can’t replicate in your kitchen,” says Stephen Schroeter, co-Chief Executive Officer of Napoleon. “You can add exciting flavours and bring a whole new experience to your traditional Thanksgiving dinner by cooking the entire meal on your barbecue.”
Stephen offers these pointers for cooking your Thanksgiving dinner on your grill.
• The Main Course. Thanksgiving and turkey are near synonymous. Start by preparing your grill for indirect cooking, and placing a drip pan with water above the unlit burners, but below the cooking grate (if possible, try to leave a space between the cooking grates where you can fit a baster). As the barbecue warms up — aim for a steady temperature of 350°F — get your bird ready. Even though you are cooking it on your grill, proceed as if you were doing it in your oven. Stuff it with your preferred mixture, season the skin (Napoleon suggests rubbing the outside of the turkey with butter and then liberally seasoning it with coarse salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh thyme, sage and rosemary from your herb garden), truss the legs and, when the barbecue reaches the desired temperature, place it on the grill. Check and baste it every hour. Cook until it reaches the desired internal temperature — 165°F, or about 20 minutes of cooking time per pound. Let it rest after your remove it from the heat – but don’t turn your grill off yet.
o Be creative. If you want to bring new flavours to your turkey, fill a smoker tube with apple wood chips and place over one of the lit burners. The natural smoky flavour is something you simply can’t replicate in your oven.
o If you can’t access the drip tray with your baster, try making a basting liquid with melted butter and white wine.
• The Side Dish. Save the stress on your stovetop by doing the potatoes on your barbecue. Wrap your chopped potatoes in tinfoil, with a liberal amount of butter or olive oil (or both!), fresh chopped chives and a minced clove or two of garlic. Place the foil packet on the top shelf and leave it for about an hour, maybe flipping it once. Once they are ready, you are free to serve as is or to mash them up with some butter, cream cheese and milk.
• The Vegetables. The barbecue brings a whole new flavour experience to seasonal harvest vegetables. Brushed with oil and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, the charred, smoky flavours are unlike anything you can do on your stove. Place them directly over low to medium heat, or use a grill topper to cook up a medley of peppers, zucchini and carrots. Do you have a side burner? Use it to boil corn on the cob, you can also grill the corn directly in the husk.
• The Gravy. The concoction of the turkey drippings (be careful when removing the drip tray from the grill, as it will be hot) and the white wine-and-butter basting liquid is an excellent base for an incredible turkey gravy. Once the turkey is removed from the grill and is resting, turn on all the burners and place the drip tray on top. As it comes to a gentle boil, whisk together some flour and chicken stock until all the lumps are gone, then whisk that into the drippings. Keep stirring until it is smooth, skim off the fat and pour into your gravy boat.