This recipe is for a 12 pound turkey. Adjust according to the weight of your bird.
First, you’ll want to brine your turkey. This helps to add flavor and keeps your turkey from drying out during cooking.
In a large pot mix the following:
8 cups water
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup kosher salt
½ cup freshly cracked peppercorns
16 smashed garlic cloves
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Heat until the salt and sugar are completely dissolved and then cool until the solution is cold.
Clean your turkey and place it in a 2 gallon zip bag. Adjust bag size for your bird. Pour your brine into the bag and seal it. Place the bag in a shallow pan (in case of leaks) and set it in the refrigerator. Leave the turkey in the brine for at least 24 hours; I usually aim for 48 hours. After brining remove the turkey and rinse it. Then, add this rub:
1/3 cup freshly cracked peppercorns
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh chopped marjoram
¼ cup fresh chopped rosemary
¼ cup fresh chopped thyme
½ cup fresh chopped sage
Mix the above ingredients and rub them into the turkey, get under the skin as much as possible. Place your turkey back into a new zip bag and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Okay, finally Thanksgiving Day has arrived and you’re ready to cook your bird. Remove the bird from the fridge and the bag and spatchcock the turkey. What is spatchcocking? It’s a great way to cook a better bird faster. Some people say it’s the lazy way to cook a turkey and that might be somewhat true but it also gives you an evenly cooked, juicier turkey with crispy skin in a fraction of the usual cook time. Rather than trying to explain the process in words just check out this video on YouTube:
You can also spatchcock your turkey before brining or applying the rub.
Now, in the video, the guy demonstrating the spatchcocking process cooks his bird in the oven but I think grilling your turkey is the only way to go. Here’s how I do that:
Set up your grill with the charcoal to one side and an aluminum pan on the other side. After the charcoal is ready place your bird over the pan to catch the drippings which you can use for gravy, I usually put a little water or broth in the pan first to prevent the drippings from burning. I also use two digital thermometers during the grilling process. I insert one probe into a leg and the other into the breast. You can get by with one probe and just alternate between the breast and leg. Lightly coat the skin of the turkey with canola oil to promote crisping. The last step is to place a small aluminum pan of hickory chips over the charcoal side of the grill. The chips should sit in water for 15-30 minutes and be draining before you put them on the grill. The chips can remain on the grill for about 30 minutes. I usually go through two sets of hickory chips so that the bird is exposed to the smoke for about an hour.
Grill the bird until your breast thermometer reads 150 degrees and the leg thermometer reads 165 degrees. If you spatchcocked your turkey the breast and leg temperatures should hit their necessary marks very close to the same time. If you hit the breast temp of 150, first don’t pull the turkey from the grill until you hit your leg temp of 165, and vice versa, make sure both target temps are reached. Plan for about 90 minutes to 2 hours on the grill.
Pull your turkey off the grill and wrap it in aluminum foil for 15 minutes before carving.
Enjoy your meal and Happy Thanksgiving!