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Christmas on the BBQ – by Ganesh Raj

It’s Christmas time. And there’s no need to be afraid.

You’re about to make an incredible turkey dish (or chicken if you’d prefer) that everybody is going to be talking about…forever!

And nothing beats turkey on a Weber BBQ. Ah the smoky, juicy, delicious flavour of a perfectly cooked bird, there’s nothing quite like it! This isn’t an ordinary turkey recipe, it’s got one huge advantage, and that’s using a turkey that has been brined.

Let me tell you more.

Brining is where you soak the turkey overnight in a salt-water solution. It’s got aromatics in it and the final result is that the turkey is super juicy when cooked. You don’t need anything fancy to cook it either, just make sure you have a pot that is large enough to put the whole turkey in.

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need for the turkey:-

  • 5.4kg turkey. This should feed between 7-9 people.
  • Salt &pepper.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.

Ingredients for the brine:-

  • 1 cup salt.
  • 7 bay leaves.
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds.
  • 3 tbsp whole pepper corns.
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds.
  • 2 whole onions cut in half.
  • 6 crushed cloves of garlic.
  • 1 handful of thyme or large leaf of oregano.
  • 1 bottle dry white wine.

Method

Put all of the brine ingredients into your pot. Drop the turkey in. Get the turkey all lathered up and then put it into a refrigerator or icebox. Leave for a number of hours - I like to leave it for at least 12 hours.

It’s Christmas morning, everyone is asleep. Except for you. You’re up early to start on your turkey.

Pull the turkey out of the pot and pat it dry, tie the legs up and pop it into a roasting tray along with enough brining liquid to come up the side of the turkey by about an inch. Season with salt and pepper and rub it with oil. Leave to the side.

Time to get the BBQ up and running. Whether you use beads, old-fashioned charcoal, or gas, it does not matter. What important is that you keep the temperature right and maintain the cooking time.

Heat the BBQ up to about 160-170C.

Place the turkey in the centre of the BBQ, but not directly over the flames. Cook for 3-3.5 hours. Make sure that there is always water in the tray so that the meat does not dry out.

To test if the turkey is cooked, use a meat thermometer pierced into the thickest part of the thigh. The turkey is cooked when it has an internal temperature of 80C. If you don't have a thermometer, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a small sharp knife, and check if the juices given off from the meat run clear. If they are at all pink in colour return the turkey to the oven and cook until the juices do run clear.

With an hour to spare, place some boiled potatoes on the grill around the tray and let them cook till golden brown. Easy.

Always leave the turkey to rest for between 30 - 60 minutes before carving; this makes for a really tender, succulent bird. Don't forget the gravy, which is made from using all those lovely juices.

While the turkey is resting…….crack on with the vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 2 large courgettes.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  • 1 tbsp honey.
  • 1 small crushed garlic clove.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

Place a stainless steel pan on the BBQ and get the heat going. Make sure you put the lid on so it gets nice and hot.

Grate the courgettes on the course side of the grater. Toss them in olive oil, lemon, honey and the crushed garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The secret here is to wait until the bird has fully rested which is about 30-40 mins. Get someone to carve it, and as they are doing that get the veges going.

Open the lid and check the pan. Use a tea-towel or mittens as the pan will be very hot. Fry the courgettes for 2 minutes and then cover the BBQ. Let them sit in the BBQ for 6 minutes until tender and some of the water is evaporated. Then it’s ready to serve.

And there you have it. A delicious stress free Christmas BBQ lunch!