GBBBQ Bunting

December recipe: Christmas turkey

This Christmas serve up a lunch to remember by cooking it on the barbecue instead. Barbecuing your turkey will give it a unique flavour and creates a juicier dish than when oven cooked.

To add extra flavour to your turkey, try cooking it over woodchips rather than coals to infuse the smoke from the wood. We would recommend a delicious cherry or pecan wood to complement the meat.

Christmas turkey recipe

  1. Allow the turkey to come up to room temperature. Wash and clean the turkey well, inside and out. Pat dry with kitchen towels and tie the legs loosely together with string. Season the turkey well with salt and pepper, and rub the outside generously with olive oil.
  2. Place the turkey in a roasting tray and pop it in the centre of the BBQ (not directly over the flames - see gas and charcoal barbecue advice below). Add a couple of glasses of water to the tray to prevent the turkey from burning - this will keep the air moist while it cooks and prevent it from drying out. Always make sure that there is enough water in the tray while the turkey is cooking.
  3. Allow 20 minutes per pound, cooking the turkey at approximately 160oC – 170oC; brushing with oil occasionally and checking the water levels regularly. Once cooked, the internal temperature of the turkey should be a minimum of 170oC. Always double check the temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey is fully cooked. Test the thickest part of the thigh, without touching the bone.
  4. Remove the turkey from the BBQ, cover with foil and leave in a warm place to rest for 45-60 minutes. Serve with crunchy roast potatoes, parsnips, seasonal vegetables and lashings of gravy - sit back and enjoy!
  5. Optional - you can place bacon over the top of the prepared turkey before cooking to seal in extra moisture. Also think about covering the turkey with foil if you are worried about it burning. Do ensure that you remove the foil during the final hour of cooking to help the skin turn nice and brown.

BBQ Tips

Charcoal BBQ Tip: If you are using a charcoal BBQ, light approximately 4kg of charcoal briquettes. Once these are hot, place the coals into the barbecue baskets at each end of the barbecue. If your BBQ does not have baskets, pile them at each end so that you leave the centre free. Place the turkey over the centre to ensure that it does not burn during cooking. This is known as indirect cooking.

Gas BBQ Tip: If you have a gas BBQ, you will also need to use the indirect method of cooking. Turn on the outer burners only, allow the BBQ to heat up, then place the turkey in the centre away from the burners.


Recommended drinks to go with your meal
Courtesy of Mr Drink 'N' Eat

The most important thing to consider is how much cooking your turkey on the BBQ will affect its texture and flavour, therefore deciding the beverages that will match with it.



Sparkling wines aren’t just for toasts & canapés, vintage fizz is often rich, complex and great with Turkey. There’s Champagne of course, but why not stay local with the likes of Nyetimber, Ridgeview, Camel Valley & Gusbourne here in England? If you’re on a tighter budget then look for Cremant from other parts of France, Cava from Spain, South African Cap Classique, plus sparklers from Australia and New Zealand. For whites, good value white Burgundy from Maconnais or white Rioja would hit the right notes.

If you are feeling brave try an off dry Riesling from Germany or Alsace, both produce BBQ bird-worthy bottles.

Now for Reds, I’m a Pinot Noir man when it comes to Turkey, but nothing too light and acidic, it’ll get lost in those charred flavours. Cote Chalonnaise in Burgundy, Chile or Australia gets my vote. But a decent Beaujolais Cru from Moulin a Vent, Morgon or Chenas would be nice too. If you want something bolder, Rhone is good, or give Crozes Hermitage or Gigondas a whirl.



What leaps to mind is Rauchbier or smoked Beer, originally produced in Bamberg in Germany it has spread across the globe. Schlenkerla is top dog but plenty of breweries here in the UK make some lovely stuff. Look out for Okells’ Aile, Dark Star’s Smoked Porter or Lovibonds Henley Dark. If you want something more contrasting, I would go for a Weisse or Wheat beer. Many consider the benchmark to be Schneider-Weisse, but London’s Pressure Drop Wu Gang Chops the Tree Hefeweisse really impressed me recently.



A cranberry juice and soda or sparkling water punch is an idea. Hot drink wise I would go for Earl Grey, or if you are feeling lucky, chai tea. No sugar or milk mind!