Grilled Turkey

Serves | 8 to 10 |

  • 4 quarts cider, divided
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup mix of whole cloves, whole allspice and peppercorns
  • 1½ cups kosher salt
  • 3 quarts ice water
  • 12- to 14-lb fresh turkey,* cleaned, neck and gizzard removed
  • ¾ lb butter, softened
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered

| Preparation | Two days before grilling, bring 3 quarts apple cider, honey, spices and salt to a boil in a stock pot over high heat. Let cool and combine with ice water in a brining container. Submerge turkey and refrigerate for 36 hours. Remove turkey from brine, rinse and pat dry. Use fingers to carefully separate the skin from meat, starting at the neck and proceeding back to the legs. Refrigerate uncovered on a clean baking sheet for 12 hours. In a mixing bowl, combine butter, shallots and sage to make a compound butter. Apply half the butter in an even layer between the turkey meat and skin.

Prepare grill for indirect cooking. Position a disposable aluminum pan under the cooking area and fill pan with remaining cider. Place apple and onion inside the turkey cavity and place turkey, loosely trussed**, on grill. Add smoking wood and grill, covered, at 250°F. Turn turkey once during grilling. Melt remaining butter to baste the turkey halfway through grilling. Add additional coal and smoking wood as needed. Remove turkey from grill when internal temperature of thigh meat reaches 160°F. Allow turkey to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

* Select a fresh turkey without added basting solution for brining and grilling.

** Loosely trussing the turkey before grilling allows the aromatics placed within the bird's cavity to slowly steam and flavor the inside of the bird.