Thanksgiving on the Grill: Consumers Bring Holiday Feasts Outside | Grilling with Rich Thanksgiving on the Grill: Consumers Bring Holiday Feasts Outside

Thanksgiving on the Grill: Consumers Bring Holiday Feasts Outside

Posted By: Richard Wachtel
Published: November 4, 2013

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The following is a recent press release by the Hearth, Patio & Barbeuce Association located in Arlington VA.

Arlington, VA (November 4, 2013) –Year-round outdoor cooking remains a popular trend among households from coast to coast, with many consumers opting to cook their holiday turkey on a grill, smoker or fryer, freeing the oven and stove top for other fare. According to a 2013 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) poll, when it comes to cooking their Thanksgiving meals, consumers are most likely to cook their turkey outside (53%), followed by vegetables (21%), appetizers (12%), classic sides (11%) and desserts (3%).*

A whole roast turkey with fresh herbs, grapes and pumpkin

Click here to see Grilling with Rich’s Great Bacon Thanksgiving Recipe ideas

“While the turkey is the heart of the meal, savory side dishes, including vegetables, fruits and desserts also taste great when cooked outdoors,” said Sue Crosby, communications director at HPBA. “Cooking the Thanksgiving meal outdoors frees up space in the oven, allows for easier clean up, and creates a mouthwatering meal packed with flavor.”

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) estimates 46 million turkeys will be cooked this season. Turkeys can be fried in less than an hour, smoked over low heat for several hours or even cooked on a grill.

Whether planning to cook the turkey, sides or full feast outside, HPBA encourages consumers to review all safety information prior to cooking.

“Consumers should start by reading the owner’s manual and making sure the equipment is in working order,” says Crosby. “Also, consumers should make sure to use outside cooking equipment outdoors only, placed on a flat, stable surface, preferably on a protective grill pad, and away from any combustible materials.”

The following cooking tips and know-how from HPBA and NTF are sure to satiate the whole family’s appetite for trying their Thanksgiving bird on the grill, smoker or fryer:

From the Grill (Indirect Grilling)

Purchase a turkey that is broad and flat to fit underneath the grill top.

  • Allow for at least one-inch of space between the turkey and the grill lid.
  • Apply a thin coating of non-stick vegetable cooking oil to the unheated rack and brush the outer surface of the turkey with cooking oil.
  • Do not tie the legs together when grilling a whole bird. The turkey will cook more evenly if hot air circulates to all areas of the bird.
  • Allow two to three hours of indirect cooking for an 8-12 pound turkey and three to four hours for a 12-16 pound turkey.

Smoked Turkey

Be sure the smoker reaches an internal temperature of 250° F to 300° F before inserting the turkey.

  • Place the turkey in the smoker with the breast facing up.
  • Allow for at least one inch of space between the turkey and the smoker lid.
  • If using charcoal or wood, add fuel often to maintain the 250° F to 300° F temperature necessary to produce the hot smoke that cooks the turkey.
  • Smoke the turkey 20 to 30 minutes per pound.

Fried Turkey

Thaw the turkey completely and pat it dry. Cook the bird un-stuffed.

In addition to frying a whole turkey, turkey breasts, legs and thighs are also ideal for frying.

If using an oil fryer, always use a high-smoke-point frying oil, such as peanut oil. Never allow the cooking oil to exceed 375° F.
Always lower the turkey slowly into the hot oil.
Allow three to four minutes of fry-time per pound for whole turkeys in an oil fryer and eight to ten minutes per pound in an infrared oil-less fryer.
Allow oil to cool completely before removing from pot.

*About the National Barbecue Month Consumer Poll
Cited statistics are taken from a survey of 1,000+ people, conducted by the polling company™, inc., from March 11-13, 2013. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.


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