Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Americans! I have so many wonderful memories surrounding this holiday as I am sure most people do. Whenever I think of Thanksgivings past, I am transported back to my childhood when I would help my grandmother and mother in the kitchen. I remember my mother and grandmother getting up at the crack of dawn to engage in the daunting task of preparing the feast to come. We always ate Thanksgiving dinner around midday, so getting up early to get things going was a necessity. I followed this example into my adulthood until just recently when I discovered an easier way to prepare the star of the show which is less work and less stressful - which allows me to actually enjoy the holiday.
I decided to rotisserie a turkey breast on my gas grill over the summer to see how it would come out - somewhat of a test run for Thanksgiving. Now, if you enjoy the whole turkey, you can rotisserie a whole turkey this way as well. You would have to prepare your grill to accommodate the size of the turkey. There are many how-to videos and articles on the internet to help you to achieve this. I don't particularly care for the dark meat as much as the white, so this is why I chose just to cook the breast. If you have a large group and they also don't mind just eating the white meat of the turkey, you could prepare two turkey breasts on the spit to accommodate the number of people you have to feed. The nice thing about this cooking method is that clean up is a breeze. All you have to clean is the rotisserie rod and prongs and throw away the foil that lines the tray, which is placed under the turkey breast. Easy, right?
ROTISSERIE TURKEY BREAST
Recipe by Bonnie J. Thompson
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: Approx. 1 1/2 hr. to 2 hr.
1 6-7 lb. turkey breast, thawed completely
1/2 stick of butter
1/2 cup olive oil, separated equally (1/4 c. & 1/4 c.)
Seasoned Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Gas Grill with temperature gauge
Foil and metal tray
Large metal fork
Prepare a foil lined metal tray and place on center of grill. Set up rotisserie on grill. Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the turkey breast for seasoning. Be sure to follow safety guidelines for handling poultry. Put the turkey breast on a platter and set aside. Wash hands! In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, half of the olive oil (1/4 cup), lemon juice and all seasonings. Stir together and set aside. Take a large metal fork and poke the turkey breast several times, piercing the top and sides (this helps the seasoning mixture to reach the meat and to cook more evenly). Peel back the skin on the breast just enough to make a pocket on each breast. Take a teaspoon amount of the seasoning mixture and spread between the skin and the breast. Slather the remaining olive oil all over the turkey breast. Add a little seasoned salt and pepper evenly on the turkey breast.
Attach the turkey breast to the rotisserie rod and prongs so that the breast is centered on the grill. Attach the rotisserie rod with turkey breast in place to your rotisserie motor on the grill. Turn on the rotisserie and turn off the center burners to create an indirect heat. Close lid.
Maintain a constant 350-400 degree Fahrenheit temperature. You may have to turn your burners up or down, depending on the BTU's of your gas grill in order to maintain the temperature required. Try to keep the center burners at the lowest position if you cannot maintain the temperature required. In my experience, I have had to "play" with the burners to maintain the required temperature.
Brush some of the remaining butter/olive oil/seasoning mixture and brush over the turkey breast with the basting brush as the rotisserie turns the breast, approximately every 20 minutes and close the lid. Keep maintaining the temperature 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, this might mean turning the center burners back on or turning them up a little until the required temperature is reached again. Once the required temperature is reached again, either turn off the center burners or turn the center burners to the lowest position in order to maintain temperature.
You will want to use a meat thermometer to gauge how fast or slow your turkey breast is cooking. When the turkey breast has been cooking for about 1 hour, take a meat thermometer and stick it into the thickest part of the breast to check the internal temperature. At this point the internal temperature should be about half way to done, give or take a few degrees. You will want to keep checking the internal temperature periodically so that you do not overcook the breast. Turkey breast will be done when the internal temperature reaches 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit. Total cooking time on the rotisserie can take anywhere between 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, depending on the size of the turkey breast.
When the turkey breast has reached the required internal temperature, carefully take it off the rotisserie spit and let it rest for a couple of minutes before carving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute which makes the meat moist.
In my opinion, this is the best way to enjoy turkey. The meat is incredibly moist and the skin is crisp. Just the way I remembered it from my childhood...maybe even better. So enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and don't forget to be thankful for not having to clean up a messy roasting pan!