Grilled Turkey Injection and Brine Recipes
If you ever needed more space in the oven during Thanksgiving, you need to move the infamous holiday bird out to your Grilla smoker grill. There are a couple of ways to go about producing a fantastic turkey on the Grilla, and this recipe covers both.
The first way would be to brine the turkey; this will ensure plenty of moisture and flavor in the bird. The second way is to skip the brine and inject the bird during the cooking process. Read on below for more about our brined and injected turkey recipes.
- 1 turkey, thawed
- 2 gallons cold water
- 2 C apple cider
- ¾ C kosher salt
- 2 TB peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 oranges peeled, juiced and then peel cut into strips
- 1 lemon peeled, juiced and then peel cut into strips
- 3 TB rosemary
- 3 TB thyme
- 1 box chicken broth
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 TB granulated garlic
- 2 tsp granulated onion
- 2 tsp seasoning salt
- Food Injection Needle
The day before the big show, mix together all the brine ingredients in a large pot (including the juice of the orange and lemon as well as the peels) and bring to a boil. After about 5 minutes on boil, cool the brine down and place in the refrigerator. You can toss a couple of handfuls of ice into the brine to help cool it down.
Once the brine has cooled to about 50 degrees, fully submerge turkey in the brine, making sure to get the brine into the cavity. Add cold water as needed. Chill the turkey in the brine in refrigerator (or use a large cooler and pack ice around the pot to ensure everything stays at 40 degrees).
Let the turkey rest in the brine for 16 to 24 hours.When you’re ready to cook, pull the turkey from the brine, rinse it off in the sink and pat dry. Discard the brine. Preheat Grilla to 275 to 300 degrees.
Place the bird on the Grilla and spray with cooking spray (this will help give the bird great color). Cook for an hour and then check for color. At this point, you can begin checking the bird every 30 to 45 minutes.
At the 2.5-hour mark, lightly re-spray with cooking spray and then dust with your choice of herbs (rosemary, thyme, and sage are our favorites) or use our Citrus Herb Salt recipe.
At the 3-hour mark, the bird should be approximately 165 degrees. If your bird has reached the desired color, place a tent of foil over the bird or wrap the wing tips and lay a layer of foil on the breasts. Once the bird is solidly at 165 degrees in all parts of the bird, it is done. Remove and let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Rinse bird and pat dry. Preheat Grilla to 275 to 300 degrees.
Mix the injection ingredients together in a saucepan and heat through until the butter is melted and well mixed. Keep the injection mixture on the stove as you will need to reheat it as you inject throughout the cooking process.
Place the bird on the Grilla and put 4 injections into each thigh/leg and 4 in each breast for a total of about 16 injections. Spray the bird with cooking spray and close the lid. Cook the bird for an hour and then check it for color. Re-inject, being sure to warm the injection mixture on the stove first (always inject with warm injection once the bird warms up to keep from slowing down the cooking process). After another hour, inject again (you should be out of injection after this round).
At the 2.5-hour mark, the bird should be approximately 165 degrees. Reapply the cooking spray and dust with herbs or our Citrus Herb Salt.
At the 3-hour mark, wrap the wings and breasts with foil if your desired color is reached (foil earlier if you hit your desired color sooner). The color will be very pit-dependent. Once the bird is solidly at 165 degrees in all parts of the bird, it is done. Remove and let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Why Brine a Turkey Before Grilling?
As you probably know, turkeys and other types of poultry turn out pretty juicy even without brine. However, brining a turkey takes it to a totally different level. Brining ensures that the meat is not going to dry out. This is super important because you know the disappointment when you bite into turkey that has been overcooked to the point of dryness. The juicier your turkey meat, the more flavorful it will be.
We have tried this grilled turkey brine recipe so many times that we can call it foolproof. Be sure to use it on chicken, too. It works great for all your favorite poultry entrees!
Tricks When Brining a Turkey for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Whenever
You can follow our grilled turkey injection recipe and never think twice about anything else. However, we know pitmasters like to do everything to perfection. Follow these tips and your brined, grilled turkey will be the star of your table:
- Keep your turkey completely submerged in the brine and refrigerate it while it is brining. This helps ensure your turkey will be safe for consumption.
- Take the rest period after grilling and smoking your turkey seriously. Sure, you want to dive in. We get it. But those 15-20 minutes are essential.
- Swap the spices now and then. Maybe you have a special seasoning you love. Perhaps you are known for your secret poultry blend. After getting the hang of this grilled turkey brine recipe, mix it up and make every turkey a one-of-a-kind experience.
- Get some really good butter. You can absolutely taste the difference when you invest in high-quality stuff. The butter you choose should have low water content.
- Stick with kosher salt. It creates a brine worth bragging about.
- Remember to rinse off your brined bird before grilling. Otherwise, its salty flavor will overshadow its sweet tenderness.
Ready to dig into a grilled turkey injection recipe for your next big meal? We have you covered!