Barbecued Turkey Recipe

At Thanksgiving or any time of year, barbecued turkey is a unique and lively treat.

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by Unsplash/Peter Bravo de los Rios

Unless there’s four feet of snow on the grill, barbecued turkey is great any time of the year. The barbecue sauce can be made any time ahead. Since the turkey breasts are expensive, I use drumsticks and thighs. Throw some sweet potatoes on the grill, toss a salad, and you have a perfect meal for guests.

Barbecued Turkey

Turkey drumsticks or turkey thighs, not too large
Olive oil
Garlic cloves, smashed 
Fresh or dried thyme, oregano 
Sweet potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

BBQ sauce (or use your favorite natural brand):

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper (about 1/2-inch long), seeded
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
pinch cloves
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp liquid smoke
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup water
1 12-oz can tomato puree
1/4 cup lemon juice (or pineapple juice)

Sauté the onion, garlic, and jalapeno in olive oil until they just start to brown. Add all the ingredients up to and including the water. Simmer about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Pour into a blender and blend until smooth. Return to pan with the rest of the ingredients. Simmer about 10 minutes until bubbly. Add salt, pepper, and additional hot stuff to taste. Add water until you have the desired consistency.

Variations: Add beer instead of juice and water. Try adding some chipotle peppers or ancho chili powder.

Steam the sweet potatoes in a covered pot for 15-20 minutes until they start to soften. Prepare the grill. Simmer the garlic and olive oil in a saucepan for about 5 minutes. Brush on the turkey pieces and sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with herbs. Lay the turkey in the center of the grill with the potatoes on the outside. (The sugar in the potatoes makes it necessary to watch closely. Flip them over if they start to burn.) Cover the grill and cook until the turkey starts to brown. Brush on the BBQ sauce and continue grilling until the turkey is done in the center. Serve with additional sauce on the side for potato dipping.

For more innovative ways of using turkey see Recipes for Turkey Beyond Thanksgiving Dinner.