Apple Juice /Maple Syrup Brined & BBQ With Apple Wood Smoked Turkey....There Is Always A First Time

Ok fellas I was brave enough to cook our Christmas Turkey on the BBQ. Read many of my favourite chefs' suggestions and mixed them all up to make up in my way. The legs and wings came out slightly tough but the breast came out juicy and deliciously well cooked. Exactly the reverse of what usually happens..... I think it needed another half hour on the grill....
Stage 1: Brining.
Stage 2: Preparing Turkey for the cooking.
Stage 3: Cooking.
Stage 4: Gravy.

Ingredients for the Brine:
  • 5 kg turkey.
  • 3 litres apple juice.
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup.
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar.
  • 1 cup coarse salt.
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary.
  • 4 sprigs thyme.
  • 4 sprigs sage.
  • Enough ice water to cover the turkey when immersed.
  • Pour out 3 litres of water and replace with 3 litres of apple juice.
  • Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, coarse salt and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
  • Add the sprigs of rosemary, thyme, sage.
Stone use to keep turkey immersed in brine.

Empty bucket which contained olives taken from friendly delicatessen.
Very well washed to get rid of the odour of olives. 

  • Add turkey which should always be totally immersed.
  • Seal the bucket lid and transfer to the refrigerator you use the least. This is to keep low temperatures between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius for 24 hours.
  • After time elapses, get rid of the brine, keep the rosemary, thyme and sage to add to the charcoal to add smoke flavor. 
Preparing the turkey for the BBQ and ingredients:
  • 25 gr butter softened.
  • 25 gr butter melted.
  • Freshly ground pepper.
  • Dry the turkey using kitchen paper.
  • Melt some butter and brush all over turkey skin from outside.
  • Using two finger try to spread some soft fresh butter below the skin as far in as possible without tearing it.
  • Keep giblets in the fridge to make the gravy.
  • BBQ turkey on indirect heat over hot coals at 150 degrees Celsius constant temperature for 4 hours.
  • Place an aluminum dish near the charcoal on the charcoal grate to keep the atmosphere humid.
  • Place the grilling grate in place and the turkey breast facing down in a non stick pan on the grilling grate with the legs facing the indirect coal. Grill for one hour at a constant 150 degrees Celsius and smoke by adding a couple of apple wood chunks to the charcoal. Keep upper vent opened to let the smoke out so as not to over smoke the turkey.

  • After one hour invert the turkey breast facing upwards and let cook for 3 more hours at the constant temperature of 150 degrees Celsius. 
  • Keep on adding new lit charcoal every time you see the temperature falling and more apple chunks of wood to maintain the flow of smoke.

  • The turkey will be cooked when inside temperature in the thickest part of the leg not touching the bone is more that 74 degrees Celsius. The breast inside temperature should be around the same.
  • Carefully take pan with turkey to the kitchen where you will put the turkey to rest on the cutting board covered with a "tent" of aluminum foil for about 30 minutes before carving while you deal with the pan drippings and the gravy.
Making the gravy and ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice.
  • 50 gr fresh butter.
  • 59 gr flour.
  • 6 cups chicken broth.
  • The turkey giblets. 
  • 2 Carrots chopped.
  • 1 sprig of celery.
  • 1 large onion.
  • I had already prepared about 6 cups of chicken broth using some celery, carrots, and onion, where I used the turkey giblets for extra flavor. 
  • Added that broth into the pan with the dripping on medium high heat and with a flat wooden spoon scraped all the goodies from the bottom of the pan. Added some cranberry juice, gave it  a final boil and turned off the heat.
  • In a separate sauce pan, I made a " Brown Roux " meaning mixed 50 gr of butter and 50 gr of all purpose flour and kept on stirring the melted mixture for enough time on soft heat until the mixture turned to the color of peanut butter.
  • At this point I strained the broth and slowly added to the brown roux and stirred vigorously  to make the gravy.
  • Made sure no lumps were present and let it simmer till the right consistency was obtained.

Carving the turkey:
  • Carve the breast as usual.
  • Cut off the two drum sticks for the drum sticks lovers (me).
  • Cut off the two wings in two parts and serve as they are for those who like eating meat off the bone like Vikings!
  • Serve the upper part of the drumstick whole or carve as you wish.
  • Serve the gravy in a gravy dish (sauciere).

Fantastic!! And Enjoy!!
Happy Holidays,


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