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Turkey Twist

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Circa 1886 chef Marc Collins shares directions for cooking a 10- to 14-pound turkey. Photographs by (turkey) Mike Lang, used with permission & courtesy of (Collins) Circa 1886

November 16, 2016

Turkey Twist
This Thanksgiving, think outside the oven. Learn how to grill the holiday bird with the help of a local pro


written by Jenny Ouellette

Few foods smell as good as an oven-roasted turkey on the final Thursday in November. Yet some Thanksgiving Day traditions are made to be broken. This year, why not fire up a charcoal grill for a crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside bird? Here, Circa 1886 chef Marc Collins shares his strategy that begins with a 24-hour brine two days in advance.

On Tuesday: Brine
1. Brine a turkey (click here for Collins’s recipe) in a covered pot for 12 to 24 hours.

Pro tip: Finding a stockpot or bucket large enough to contain the turkey and the liquid is key, as is clearing enough room in the fridge. Tight on space? You can also brine the turkey in a refrigerator drawer: clean it out, place the liquid and turkey in a sealable bag, and place it in the drawer. (Make sure you thoroughly clean the drawer after use.)

On Wednesday: Spatchcock
1. Remove the turkey from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. (Discard the liquid.) “The key to crisp skin is thoroughly drying the turkey,” Collins says.

2. Place the bird breast-side down on a cutting board. Using a super sharp knife or poultry shears, saw through both sides of the backbone and remove. (You can save the bone to make gravy.)

3. Flip the bird, press down, and flatten.

4. Move it to a pan, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for another 12 hours or overnight.

On Thursday: Butter & Grill
1.Prepare an herbed butter (click here for the recipe) and rub it generously under the turkey’s skin.

2. Once the grill is prepared (click here for grill prep instructions), light the two outside corners of the coals (the heat will move to the center over time) and replace the top rack.

3. When the grill temperature reads 350°F, put the bird directly on the rack and over the pan.

4. Close the lid and cook the bird for roughly 90 minutes at about 325°F to 350°F. Note: If the grill gets too hot, open the vents to let out some heat. If the temperature dips below 325°F, try lighting additional coals or move the turkey to an indoor oven to finish cooking.

5. To check its readiness, insert a meat thermometer into the fattest part of the thigh, not touching the bone. The turkey is done when it reaches 165°F.

Pro tip: Check the bird at 30-minute intervals. Resist the urge to peek more often, as too much heat will escape and it’ll take longer to cook.

6. Remove the turkey from the grill and place on a clean cutting board. Create a tent with foil, and let it sit for 20 minutes. “If you cut into it too early, the juices escape,” notes Collins. “Resting helps produce a moister turkey.” Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, any leftover turkey will keep for up to four days.


For five chefs’ flavorful, veggie-heavy side-dish recipes, click here.

To read more articles from our November issue, click here.