Thanksgiving Files: Turkey Two Ways

This year we were warned that with smaller family gatherings, small turkeys would be scarce. So when I went turkey shopping, I was not surprised the smallest turkey I could find was about sixteen pounds.

I know for many, that IS a small turkey, but I’m used to buying a couple of twelve-pound turkeys, cooking one if Thanksgiving is going to be small, or both if it’s a larger crowd. I think they cook up better and are less likely to get dried out.

What to do with this large bird? I decided to slice it in half and cook it two separate ways. They cook up similar to a spatchcock bird.

One half, I made the traditional way: Roasted Spatchcock Turkey. I deboned it and froze it into 1 lb packages for use in soups and casseroles later.

The other one, I had some fun with. I knew I was going to grill it, so I went rummaging around the spice rack and the refrigerator looking to take it up a notch.

I decided on a Peruvian Chili Lime Spice mix and Jalapeno Jelly. The flavors were a perfect complement to each other and created an amazing bird.

I first rubbed the half bird all over with the Peruvian spices. The mix is a combination of: cumin, chili powder, annatto, turmeric, aji amarillo, lime, Mexican oregano and cilantro.

Then I heated the Jalapeno Jelly in the microwave for about 30 seconds, just enough to make it easy to brush on the bird. I refrigerated the prepped bird over night and before grilling it the next day, I let it come to room temperature and brushed more jelly over it.

I roasted it on the grill at about 375 degree F and basted it with the jelly every fifteen minutes. It roasted for about 90 minutes, until the internal breast temperature was 160 degrees. Remove, tent with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes and that will bring the final temperature up to 165 for the breast.

I served it with Cranberry Apple Sauce (recipe here) and Garlic Mashed Potatoes and herbed stuffing.

For more not-so traditional sides, try Wild Rice Stuffed MushroomsPan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta and Caramelize Onions or Brussel Sprouts Potato Gratin

I haven’t done anything pumpkin yet this season, so I’m thinking later this week I’ll make a Buttermilk Pumpkin Bundt Cake

I hope if you can’t be with friends and family this Thanksgiving, you have good food and a peaceful day.