- Best Smoked Turkey on the Weber *
by Max Hein 2006
The Basics You Will Need: a covered Weber with a 22" grill, 10 lbs. of good quality charcoal a, set of charcoal rails to keep the charcoal banked along the sides, an aluminum drip pan to fit between the rails, a cooking rack to hold the turkey, long tongs and cooking mitts, 15 -16 lb. fresh turkey, unstuffed. Note: I always do a 12 lb.+ turkey because my Weber lid might not fit over a 16-lb bird.
Procedure: The Turkey cannot be gigantic because the lid will not fit on the barbecue. A good size is under 16 lbs. and fresh rather than frozen.
Rinse the bird in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the skin with vegetable oil.
Open all the air vents on the bottom of the grill and leave them open during the cooking. Ignite all 10lbs of the charcoal- or start half and add the rest. Start the coals in the middle of the grill, allowing 45 minutes for all of them to light and to be coated with grey ash. Add the remaining briquets.
Transfer the coals to the sides behind the charcoal rails, using the long tongs and the charcoal mitts. Center the drip pan between the rails. Add about 8 to 10 twigs of applewood, add the grill, add the Turkey on the cooking rack and the Weber Grill Cover/Lid. Open the air vent in the Cover.
Optional: soak the applewood twigs in water for 30 minutes before adding or use hickory, almond pear wood or even, walnut shells. or, just use mesquite charcoal.
Note: Now I stack my charcoal briquets like a ring of dominos, touching side-by-side. on the outer edge of the grill. I start it with hot coals on one end. As each ignites the next, I never add more coals during the ‘low and slow’ smoking time.
Now, sit back and relax. There’s no need to baste. Leave the barbecue covered and don’t peek- lifting the lid releases the heat and will slow the cooking process.
So, put it on the Grill and forget it for two hours for a 15 lb. unstuffed bird.
Remove the bird when the meat thermometer reads 170°F in the center of the breast and 185°F in the thigh. The meat and the juices may be slightly pink, this is characteristic of the smoking process.
Let the bird rest for 30 to 40 minutes before carving. The juices in the Drip Pan will make an excellent gravy.
The first year that I followed Max’s instructions for this grilled Turkey, we went to a movie while the bird cooked and came home 2 hours and 30 minutes later to a perfectly roasted 16-lb. bird!
Do not be alarmed if the meat looks pink, it is not uncooked. The smoking method turns the turkey flesh pink, just like the pink of a smoked ham.
I did move the Weber Grill to the center of the backyard - far away from the house and deck. It is not wise to leave it untended. Our house did not burn down (there are urban tales about the Deep-frying Turkey that tips gallons of hot oil and burns down the house/garage/deck…)
For the gravy:
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, apple, and reserved turkey neck. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the neck is browned on both sides and the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the bourbon, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits, and simmer until the alcohol is nearly evaporated. Add the apple cider or juice and bay leaf, continuing to scrape up any browned bits, and boil until reduced by half. Increase the heat to high, add the broth, and bring to a boil. Remove and discard the neck. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, whisking constantly until it’s the color of peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the strained sauce, whisking constantly until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, for 2 minutes more. Season as needed with salt and pepper.