Grilled Thanksgiving Turkey and Taters

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By Ryan King
Associated Press
Donít have the time or oven space to do the bird this year? With a sharp knife and a grill, you can free up your oven, cut your roasting time from the standard three to four hours down to one, and get some tasty taters, too.
The trick is to carve your turkey before it is cooked. Breaking it down into large pieces (the breasts, wings, thighs and legs), not only gives you greater versatility in how you cook it, it also saves considerable time (smaller pieces cook much faster than a whole bird).
This approach also lets you cook the different parts of the turkey to different temperatures. Most people say breast meat is best cooked to 160 degrees (the temperature continues to rise after the meat is removed from the heat), while thighs should reach 170 degrees.
Grilled Maple-Soy Glazed
Thanksgiving Turkey and Taters
Start to finish: 1 hour
Makes one 12- to 14-pound turkey with grilled potatoes
For the turkey:
12- to 14-pound turkey
1/2 C. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Salt and ground black pepper,
to taste
For the potatoes:
15 to 20 small red bliss potatoes
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and ground black pepper,
to taste
To break down the turkey, start at the legs, cutting through the loose skin between them and the breasts. Hold both legs and bend them back toward the spine until the thigh joint pops out of the hip. Leave the legs twisted in this position.
Next, remove the breasts. Make your first cut directly in the center of the bird’s chest along the chest bone from the top of the bird to the bottom. With the knife tip, cut along the chest bone and the ribs until you have removed the first breast. Repeat on the other side.
To remove the legs and thighs, turn the bird so the back is facing up, take your knife and cut parallel to the spine and straight through the meat being sure not to leave any flesh on the bird.
You can separate the leg from the thigh easily. Set the piece skin-side down on the cutting board. There is a whitish line on the skin that separates the different leg muscles. If you cut though that line your knife should go through the joints between the leg and the thigh.
To remove the wing, pop the joints and cut through the opening the joint makes after it pops out of the socket.
Arrange the meat on a sheet pan and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Heat a grill to low.
In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, soy sauce, cider vinegar and ginger. Set aside.
When the grill is hot, season the turkey parts with salt and pepper. Use an oil-soaked paper towel clenched between tongs to oil the grill grates. Place the turkey parts skin-side down on the grill grates.
Use a brush to baste the turkey with the maple-soy mixture, then cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the meat and continue cooking, covered, basting every 10 minutes until the turkey is cooked, between 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes. Poke the potatoes with a knife or fork to make several small holes in each. Place the potatoes on a microwave-safe plate, then microwave on high for 7 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes with the oil, thyme and oregano. Toss to coat evenly, then season with salt and pepper.
When the turkey is about 20 minutes from being done, put the potatoes on the grill. After 10 minutes, turn the potatoes, then grill for another 10 minutes, or until tender.