Cooking your Christmas turkey on the BBQ 'is quicker and tastier' than in the oven

8 December 2020, 14:14

Cooking your turkey on the BBQ might be a new favourite Christmas tradition
Cooking your turkey on the BBQ might be a new favourite Christmas tradition. Picture: Getty

For people who have struggled together a turkey and all the trimmings in the oven on Christmas Day, there is an alternative.

A top chef claims cooking your turkey on the BBQ is the quickest way to prepare Christmas dinner - and makes it incredibly tasty.

For many people, finding space for the bird and all the trimmings can be a logistical nightmare, especially if they have a big family or are cooking for a lot of guests.

But Martyn Lee, Waitrose’s Executive Chef, says taking your festive cooking al fresco is a great solution.

He said: “I cook my turkey on the barbecue every Christmas. It never fails to impress and I predict many will join me in doing the same this year.

“It’s really easy, quicker than if you were to cook it in the oven and gives a beautifully succulent taste with a crispy skin.

“And it’s not just the turkey, you can cook the full Christmas feast on the barbecue - trimmings, desserts and all.”

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Sadly, it’s not as simple as lighting up a disposable BBQ and turning the turkey over every now and then.

He says: “Barbecuing a turkey calls for indirect heat – it’s very different to grilling a steak or burgers over hot coals.

“The best way to do this is to stack coals along one side of the barbecue and the meat on the other side. My tip would be to use foil to deflect the heat if necessary.”

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If you’re up for the challenge and fancy having a BBQ turkey on the big day, you’ll need to allow time for the meat to marinade so it doesn’t dry out.

Martyn starts prepping the bird from Christmas Eve, marinating it by fully immersing it in a brine made of 80g of salt per litre of water for 24 hours.

An empty and clean summer cool box is great for this task. Ahead of cooking, it is vital to ‘desalinate’ the bird by soaking for an hour in fresh water.

Then it’s time to fire up the coals and get cooking.

Martyn said: “I love to cook the whole bird on the barbecue as it gives everyone the option of white or dark meat, however I always remove the thighs and legs and cook them separately as the dark meat benefits from longer, slower cooking.

“Cooking both at the same time means the white breast meat will overcook before the thighs and legs - leading to the dreaded dry turkey!

“If you prefer to focus on the turkey crown – or are planning for a smaller gathering - then this will cook beautifully too.”