When Rachael Best, President of TEC Infrared Grills, was developing our Infrared Smoker/Roaster Rack accessory she literally grilled a dozen or more turkeys. No, she doesn’t love turkey that much that she wanted to have turkey sandwiches for days. She was working on perfecting the Smoker/Roaster, so that anything smoked or roasted on it would turn out perfectly cooked every time.
So what better meat to use as a test subject than turkey? Notoriously dry, bland, and usually in need of a whopping spoonful of gravy, turkey needs a lot of work to make it juicy and tasty. You might try techniques like brining, air-chilling, spatch-cocking, high heat roasting, etc. in order to combat turkey’s normal ho-hum state.
While these tricks may help out a bit, in the end you still end up putting the turkey in the oven or on a conventional grill or BBQ. And this is the real source of the problem. These cooking methods use hot air to cook your food, so no matter how hard you try the turkey will be enveloped in a bunch of hot air for hours which results in that dry tough turkey that we all know (and hate) at the holidays.
Instead, TEC Grills use 100% infrared technology to cook your food, which is totally different. The radiant glass panels beneath the grates block the rising hot air from the burners, so your food will retain up to 35% more of its own juices naturally. You put that together with our Infrared Smoker/Roaster rack accessory, and you have a fool-proof grilling method for perfect turkey.
So what does that mean for that old turkey bird? It means that you can smoke/roast a perfect moist and juicy turkey with very little effort at all. Really, this recipe for Rachael’s Smoker/Roasted Turkey is so simple and easy that you may just make it more than once a year!
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Prepare the Turkey
The longest and hardest part of preparing the turkey is letting it thaw in the fridge or in an ice bath if it is frozen. Once the turkey is defrosted, the rest of the steps are a cinch:
1. Rinse the turkey under cold water. Remove the packet of giblets and neck (save for turkey stock).
2. Pat the turkey dry all over with paper towels, and place on a sheet pan. Make sure that the turkey is completely dry. If you have time, place the uncovered turkey back in the fridge (up to overnight) to chill and dry.
3. Remove the turkey from the fridge about 30 minutes to one hour before you will grill it to allow it to come to room temperature.
4. Rub Canola or Vegetable oil all over the skin of the turkey, top and bottom.
5. Season all over with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. You can add additional spices and seasonings at this point (see below for some ideas), but it is entirely optional.
6. Let the turkey sit at room temperature while you preheat the grill.
Smoke/Roast the Turkey
Here’s the really easy part!
1. Place the Smoker/Roaster rack on top of the grates of your TEC Grill. Position the chip corral in front of the rack, and fill the corral with small wood chips (we suggest apple wood with turkey). No need to pre-soak the chips!
2. Preheat the grill on medium for 10 minutes with the hood closed until the chips start to smoke.
3. Place the turkey on its back on the Smoker/Roaster rack. Don’t tie up the legs or wings of the turkey. Leave them open, as this will allow the heat to better penetrate the thigh area.
4. If desired, position a remote thermometer deep in the thigh of the turkey, taking care not to touch the tip of the probe to the bone (this will give you an incorrect temperature reading).
5. Turn the heat down to low, and close the hood.
6. Check on the turkey about every 30 minutes to replenish the wood chips, check its temperature, and admire as the skin turns a beautiful golden mahogany color.
7. Cook until the turkey’s internal temperature reaches 160°F, about 3 hours for a 12-14 pound turkey.
8. Let the bird rest for at least 15 minutes, and preferably 30 minutes, before carving. We know it’s hard, but worth the wait!
TEC Tips: While you are waiting for the turkey to rest, you can use your grill as a second oven to reheat all of the other delicious dishes you are serving alongside the turkey! Or make your gravy from the drippings collected in the bottom of the Smoker/Roaster rack.
Turkey Flavor Ideas
If you want to venture beyond our basic (yet, delicious!) turkey recipe, try one of these rub or glaze recipes for extra flavor: