Thanksgiving Rosemary Smoked Turkey
I can’t even remember how long a Rosemary Smoked Turkey has been a family tradition at my home – but it’s definitely here to stay. For one thing – it gets the bird out of the kitchen which is a very good thing. For some reason Thanksgiving seems to take just about every pot, pan, burner, oven, dish and utensil a kitchen has, and this is one thing that can be moved out of the mayhem. It also is a fun process that family and guests can participate in without tripping over them in the kitchen!
- 1 Turkey (preferably free-range and organic fed)
- Butter (preferably pastured, I use Kerrygold)
- Lots of fresh Rosemary!
- Charcoal briquets
- Disposable drip pan (like these) that will fit your grill
Having an abundant supply of fresh Rosemary is necessary – you’ll need a bunch. I am fortunate to have the ‘mother of all Rosemary plants’ in my garden. What seems like barely a haircut, yields armloads of this fragrant plant. Harvesting is always a fun thing – and your hands smell so good!
Prepare your turkey by removing (or undoing) the leg truss, and reserve giblets and neck from the cavities for the stock pot. Rinse and pat dry the bird, then add stuffing if desired. Then rub butter all over turkey and close up the cavities.
Preparing the Grill
You’ll need a kettle BBQ or smoker with a lid – I use a basic Webber grill, which is perfect. Start a mound of about 40 charcoal briquets on the fire-grate (lowest grate). When the briquets are mostly gray and nice and hot (about 15 minutes), divide the pile in half and push to the sides of the grill. Place the drip pan in-between them and add 5 new briquets to each side pile (10 total). Then place 3-4 sprigs of Rosemary on top of the new briquets. (NOTE: You will continue adding 5 new briquets to each pile of coals and new sprigs of Rosemary every 30 minutes until turkey is done.)
Put the grill back on, then place several sprigs of Rosemary on top of it before laying the turkey down. I put the turkey breast-side down to keep the white meat moist. Cover the lid and cook the turkey until the thermometer registers 160. Because sizes of turkeys, temperatures, whether the bird is stuffed or not, can all vary, start checking doneness after 2 hours.