Do you find yourself wishing you had two ovens every time it comes to a family holiday? I find the most difficult one to be Christmas and Thanksgiving when that turkey is using all the space and you have to micro-manage the rest of your dishes and timing because you can’t fit it all in. We decided to solve that problem by using the rotisserie this year and it was a great success. Having so much space to cook in the kitchen while the turkey was doing it’s thing on the grill was the perfect solution. The meat was very moist and I found the dark meat exceptionally tasty. I normally stick to white meat but both were moist and tender and perfectly scrumptious! Unless you are an expert at trussing a turkey, the key to success is finding a good butcher who will perform this task for you. There are lots of videos on You Tube if you want do it yourself but it`s important to be sure it`s done very tightly so that it cooks evenly. If you have a leg or wing dangling down it`s going to get burned. We ordered a free range, organic turkey a week ahead of time and the butcher deboned and stuffed it for us that morning. The turkey was 17 lbs. which we found was a little too big because the motor on the rotisserie was working hard to turn it consistently so I would suggest 15 lbs. and under. You can see we added some weights to the bar to try to help it along. The general rule is to grill it 13 minutes per pound if stuffed and 11 minutes per pound unstuffed. Use your meat thermometer and grill until 175 F when the tip is inserted into the deepest part of the breast or thigh, not touching the bone. I have to admit, the stuffing was a bit of a disaster. Not that disasters bother me all that much when I`m cooking because I believe that you have to try everything once and it`s the only way to learn. Given that we had never done a rotisserie turkey, the consensus was that the stuffing should have no raw eggs or meat in it just to ensure there wasn`t a problem in case it didn`t cook properly. If you research this subject you will find that a lot of folks are dead set against stuffing a turkey on the grill at all but I decided to go with one of Martha Stewart’s recipes because if you can’t trust Martha who can you trust? Now don’t get me wrong, the stuffing was cooked and eventually it was delicious but it was MUCH MUCH MUCH too moist. I was so surprised when I read the recipe and it called for 6 cups of chicken stock. First of all, I had decided I would cut the recipe in half because it seemed there was enough to stuff 3 turkeys. But even after cutting it in half, I reduced the liquid and butter again by 1/3 and it was STILL too much. The flavour was fantastic but we had to put it in the oven to dry it out so that was time consuming and disappointing. I will definitely use the recipe again but will use less than 1/3 of the liquid and butter. I added apples, dried cranberries, roasted pecans and sultana raisins as well. The fresh herbs are what makes this stuffing special but please be careful of the measurements! **UPDATE: New recipe for stuffing has now been added below.
Be sure to let your turkey rest for a minimum of 30 minutes to ensure the meat retains it’s moisture. I didn’t carve the turkey but I’m told it was the easiest turkey to carve ever! I have yet to develop good meat carving skills but it’s good to know that this method makes the job easier. When the turkey is trussed so tightly like this, it makes for a great presentation as well. This will definitely be the way I’ll be cooking my turkeys in the future. If your better half is not already involved in the cooking of a holiday dinner, this is a great way to include them – besides, we all know how they love to claim ownership of the grill! 🙂 Ohhh, one last thing – I recommend rubbing some olive oil over your turkey and salt and pepper. We forgot. Ha! Was yummy, anyway!
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 large fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 3/4 cup Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
- 1 1/2 stale loaves bread, (about 36 slices), crust on, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, leaves
- 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1 apple, chopped (leave skin on if organic)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup sultana raisins (optional)
- Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions and celery, and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add sage, stir to combine, and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/2 of the stock, and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes, until liquid has reduced by half.
- Transfer onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients, including the remaining stock; mix to combine. You may have to add some more chicken stock according to how moist you want your dressing.