Made this brine for our Thanksgiving turkey and it was amazing! The bird was juicy and well-flavoured. Distinct, but not overpowering. I also used the suggested rub, but did not prepare the mile gravy. I will use this brine recipe year-round!
Chile and Spice Grilled Turkey
Photo: Shelly Strazis; Styling: Valerie Aikman-Smith
This recipe goes with Mole Gravy
Yield: Serves 16 to 18, with leftovers
More From Sunset
3 Hours, 30 Minutes
Amount per serving
- Calories: 253
- Calories from fat: 42%
- Protein: 32g
- Fat: 12g
- Saturated fat: 3.2g
- Carbohydrate: 2.5g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Sodium: 731mg
- Cholesterol: 93mg
- BRINE AND TURKEY:
- 1 1/3 cups kosher salt
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 6 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 cinnamon sticks (each 3 1/2 in.)
- 6 ancho chiles, rinsed
- 1 turkey (16 to 18 lbs.)
- CHILE AND SPICE RUB:
- 2 tablespoons ground ancho chiles
- 2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1. Make brine: In a large pot, heat 1 qt. water with salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve. Remove from heat, add 5 qts. cold water, garlic, cinnamon, and chiles, and let cool to room temperature.
- 2. Remove leg truss from turkey; discard. Remove neck, tail, and giblets. Discard tail; save the rest, chilled, for Mole Gravy. Pull off and discard lumps of fat. Rinse bird inside and out. Lower turkey into brine (see tips below). Chill, covered, 12 hours.
- 3. Thanksgiving Day: Prepare grill for indirect medium-low heat (about 325°). For charcoal: Light 40 briquets on firegrate. When coals are spotted with ash, 20 minutes, bank evenly on opposite sides of firegrate and let burn to medium-low. Set a metal or foil drip pan (about 9 by 15 in. and 2 1/2 in. deep) between coal mounds and fill with 1/2 in. warm water. To each mound of coals, add 5 briquets now and every 30 minutes while cooking. Oil cooking grate and set in place. For gas: Set the metal or foil drip pan on center burner(s) and fill with 1/2 in. warm water. Turn burners except for one(s) under drip pan to high, close lid, and heat 10 minutes. Reduce heat for active burners to 325°. Oil cooking grate and set in place.
- 4. Remove turkey from brine, rinse, and pat dry. Discard brine. Tuck wing tips under turkey.
- 5. Make rub: Combine ground chiles and oregano. Rub turkey all over with oil, then sprinkle evenly inside and out with seasoning.
- 6. Set turkey, breast up, on cooking grate over drip pan. Grill, covered, until a meat thermometer inserted straight down through thickest part of breast to the bone registers 160°, 2 to 3 hours; as turkey cooks, use foil to tent any areas that start to get too dark.
- 7. Tip turkey so that cavity juices run into drip pan, holding turkey with oven mitts. Transfer turkey to a cutting board; save pan juices for gravy. Tent turkey with foil and let rest in a warm place 15 to 30 minutes while you make gravy.
- 8. Carve and serve with gravy.
- Turkey Tips
- Brining. It's the secret to a moist bird. Brine the turkey, breast down, in an oversize pot such as boiling-water canner (if it fits in the fridge). Or use an ice chest. Bag turkey in a turkey brining bag (available in grocery stores and from surlatable.com). Put bagged bird in chest, pour brine over turkey, and seal bag tightly. Add ice to cover.
- Tying. For the most even cooking, leave turkey legs loose. Or if you prefer a tidy look, tie them.
- Garnishing. Add color with herbs, a banana leaf, and fruit like kumquats.
- Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1/4 lb. serving of white and dark meat with skin.
Note: Total time does not include overnight brining.
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