Back to Basics

It’s hard to imagine a Thanksgiving meal without turkey, green bean casserole and sweet potato pie. But contrary to popular belief, the spread at the very first Thanksgiving feast in 1621 was not composed of the elaborate stuffed turkeys, saucy vegetable dishes and sweet indulgences we’ve all come to crave once the calendar flips to November. According to food historians at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Mass., the menu was much simpler in the days before Viking, Cuisinart and Sub-Zero became a part of every cook’s vocabulary. So Nov. 27, celebrate Thanksgiving Pilgrim-style by getting back to basics with a feast straight from the grill. A traditional yet unconventional recipe such as this apple-sage-glazed grilled turkey will give your guests one more reason to be thankful this holiday.

Apple-Sage-Glazed Grilled Whole Turkey with
Grilled Apples
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for brushing
   on the turkey 
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped 
1 serrano chile, coarsely chopped 
3 cups apple cider vinegar 
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and coarsely
   chopped, plus 2 more Granny Smith apples,
   peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick slices 
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
1 whole turkey

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Heat oil in a medium saucepan on the grates of the grill. Add the onion, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the serrano chile, and cook for 1 minute. Add the vinegar and sugar, and cook until the sugar has melted. Stir in the chopped apples, and cook until the apples are soft and the mixture is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool slightly. Place the apple mixture in a food processor, add the sage, and pulse until smooth (or crush with a mortar and pestle). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature. 

Position a large dripping pan filled with a little water under where the turkey will be placed on the grill. Brush the entire turkey with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the turkey on all sides until golden-brown. Reduce the heat of the grill to medium to maintain a constant temperature of 350 degrees. Cook the turkey until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees. Begin brushing the entire turkey with the apple-sage glaze during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Remove from the grill, and brush with more of the glaze. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Grill the sliced apples for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, and serve with the turkey. 

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay.

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