Brilliant turkey on the Weber

For many, the anticipation of a juicy turkey roasting patiently while jovial banter ensues, is a treat at Christmas time. Here in South Africa, we can’t snuggle up cosily by the fire awaiting the big lunch but we can enjoy the sunny skies and, with this recipe for turkey on the Weber, we can even take the cooking outdoors.

Perfect turkey recipe

Ingredients (serves 8–10):

6 onions, sliced into thick chunks
1 turkey, approx. 4 kg – if turkeys are tricky to come by in your neck of the woods swap in a few chickens.
100g butter
Handful thyme leaves
Stuffing of your choice – here are two brilliant stuffing recipes
500ml ginger beer, cider or beer
Salt and pepper
8–12 slices prosciutto or parma ham
Fresh herbs, to serve

Ingredients for cooking a turkey on the weber

For the salsa:
2 avocados, peeled and finely chopped
1 papaya, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 3 limes
1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped – add to taste
2 tbsp sesame seeds (white or black)
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 bunch mint, roughly chopped

ingredients for avo and pawpaw salsa

Tools:

Weber
2 large disposable Weber trays
2 bags briquettes
A Weber Chimney Starter works a treat but it’s not essential
Poultry lifters
Meat thermometer

Method:

1. To make the salsa, mix all the salsa ingredients together and season to taste. Leave in the fridge, covered, whilst you start cooking the turkey.

2. To prepare the bird, remove from packaging, rinse under water and pat dry with paper towel. Spread the thickly sliced onions over one of the disposable trays and place the bird on top. Loosen the skin over the breast with your fingers, stuff the butter under the skin and tuck in a few thyme leaves.
3. Now fill your turkey with your choice of stuffing. Here are two tasty stuffing recipes to try.

Turkey stuffing recipes

4. Once stuffed, tie the ankles together. Pour the cider over the bird and season.

Preparing the turkey

5. Cover the breast of the turkey with parma ham or prosciutto.

Procciuto covering for the turkey

6. Cover the bird with tinfoil and secure the edges tightly to the Weber tray. At this point, you can leave the bird in the fridge overnight if you wish to cook it the following day.
7. If you have a fire starter, fill it to the brim with charcoal and burn until the coals are slightly ashy. You will need to set up your Weber for indirect cooking which means placing your coals in two piles opposite each other on the charcoal grate.
8. Carefully place a large disposable tray in the middle of the grid (in between the charcoal piles) and fill about halfway with water. This will help to maintain the temperature of the fire and Weber. Put the cooking grate in place, close the lid and let the coals burn down to a low heat. Keep the vents open.
9. Place the turkey in the centre of the cooking grate. Position the pan so that the turkey legs face the Weber handles and the tray is sitting in between the 2 charcoal piles. Cook the turkey over a low heat (approximately 150ºC), with the lid on, for 1 hour.

Braaing a turkey using the Weber

10. After half an hour, place 20 briquettes in the fire starter to get hot for your ‘refueling’ of the turkey coals. If you have another braai of sorts, you can also use this to get your briquettes ready.
11. After another half an hour (it’s been 1 hour since your turkey went on), add the 20 briquettes using long handled tongs. Check the water in the disposable tray and top up if necessary.
12. After another half an hour, repeat the briquette lighting process.
13. After another half hour, open the foil and baste the turkey with the juice. Once again, add the other briquettes.
14. Continue to cook for another hour to brown the top. If you have a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature. When it is 80ºC at the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone) and 75ºC in the breast, the turkey is done.

TIP: The cooking time will vary between 2.5-3.5 hours. A 3.8kg stuffed bird takes about 3 hours at 150 -160ºC. Remember, cooking a bird with stuffing will increase cooking time slightly.

15. Remove the turkey from the Weber and place on a large wooden board. Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes – best have a beer whilst you wait.

Turkey on the Weber

Finally the moment has come to carve the turkey. Serve this Christmas dinner or lunch treat with the avo and papaya salsa you have waiting for you in the fridge.

No more will the southern Hemisphere pine after snowy yule tides. With fun, outdoor recipes like this, we can enjoy the holidays the way this side of the equator was meant to! Happy stuffing, everyone.