Tuscan Grilled Whole Turkey

Tuscan Grilled Whole Turkey
Yield: 15 -20 Servings


For the Brine
1 1/2       Gallons Water
1 Cup      Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Cup      Kosher Salt
3 Tbsp.   Hartz Seafood & Poultry Seasoning
1 Bunch  Fresh Thyme
1 Bunch  Fresh Rosemary
6 each     Garlic Cloves – Sliced
4 each     Lemons – zest (reserve the zested lemons for below)

For the Turkey
1 each       Whole Turkey (15 to 20 Pounds) – Giblets Removed
1 Bunch    Fresh Thyme
1 Bunch    Fresh Rosemary
1 each       Yellow Onion – Chopped
10 each    Garlic Cloves
4 each       Lemons from above (1 cut into 8 chunks, 3 cut in half)
2 Tbsp.     Olive Oil
1 Tbsp.     Black Pepper
3 Tbsp.     Hartz Seafood & Poultry Seasoning


  1.   Combine the water, brown sugar, salt, and the 3 Tbsp. Hartz Seafood & Poultry Seasoning in a large pot.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
  2.   Add the 1 bunch of thyme, 1 bunch of rosemary, 6 garlic cloves sliced, and the zest from the 4 lemons.
  3.   Mix well and chill completely.
  4.   Once the brine is cold, add the turkey and brine for about 10 to 12 hours.
  5.   Remove the turkey, rinse off and pat dry.
  6.   Light a charcoal BBQ. (You can use a gas BBQ, just prepare it to cook indirectly)
  7.   Stuff the turkey with the 1 bunch of thyme, 1 bunch of rosemary, yellow onion, garlic cloves, and the lemon chunks.
  8.   Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the 1 Tbsp. black pepper and 3 Tbsp. Hartz Seafood & Poultry Seasoning all over.
  9.   When the coals are hot, arrange them on either end of the BBQ to cook indirectly.
  10. Place the turkey breast side down for 1 hour.
  11. Flip the turkey over so the breast side is up and drizzle with one of the lemons that are cut in half.
  12. Cook for about an hour more or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F.
  13. Remove the turkey from the grill, drizzle with another lemon, then cover with foil and allow to rest for about an hour.
  14. Cut the turkey off the bone and place on a platter, squeeze the last lemon over it and serve.

Internal Temperatures of Cooked Food

Meat Thermometers

A meat thermometer (every kitchen should have one) is the best way to know what is going on inside your meat.  They are also known as Instant-Read Pocket Thermometers and can be purchased in grocery stores, kitchen stores, and online for under $10.00.  Think about it, you probably paid more for meat for two than you would for a thermometer, so why take a chance of over or under cooking the meat?

So how do you use a meat thermometer?
1. Choose one that has a range of 0 degrees F to 220 degrees F
2. Check the internal temperature of the food near the end of the cooking process.
3. Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat or in the center of the food to get a true reading.  Do not touch the bone with the stem of the thermometer, this will give a false reading.
4. Leave the thermometer in the food for 15 seconds to get an accurate reading.
5. Check the temperature of large cuts of meat in two or more locations to be sure.
6. Wash and sanitize the thermometer each time you check the temperature of the food.
7. Refer to the temperature guidelines below for desired results.

When using a food thermometer you will need to be sure it is calibrated.  Calibrating is an easy process done either by using ice water or boiling water.  Calibrate your thermometer every time you use it and whenever it is bumped or dropped.  If you do you will know it is telling you the correct temperature.

Ice Water Calibration
1. Fill a cup with ice cubes.
2. Fill the cup with water.
3. Put the stem of the thermometer 2 inches in the ice water and wait 30 seconds.
4. The thermometer should read 32 degrees F.
5. If it reads 32 degrees F then you are good to go.  If not see the Adjusting Diagram.

Boiling Water Calibration
1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
2. Put the stem of the thermometer 2 inches in the boiling water and wait 30 seconds.
3. The thermometer should read 212 degrees F.
5. If it reads 212 degrees F then you are good to go.  If not see the Adjusting Diagram.

Adjusting Diagram
1. While holding the head, use pliers or a wrench and turn the nut on the back of the thermometer until the needle reads 32 degrees F for the ice water or 212 degrees for the boiling water.
2. Test the thermometer in the ice water or boiling water to see if it needs more adjusting once more.

This simple, inexpensive tool can help make a dining experience memorable.  Below is an Internal Temperature Guide for meats to be removed from the heat (cooking source) and allowed to rest.  The meat should “rest” for about five minutes for smaller cuts (Steaks, Chicken Breast, Chicken Legs, Fish, Hamburgers) and up to 45 minutes for larger cuts (Whole Chicken, Prime Rib, Whole Turkey).  During the resting process the meat will continue to cook and the temperature will rise but this resting process will also allow the meat to relax.

Internal Temperature Guide
(for Meats to be Removed From the Heat and Allowed to Rest)

Rare Beef                    115 Degrees F
Medium Rare Beef   120 Degrees F
Medium Beef             125 Degrees F
Medium Well Beef   130 Degrees F
Well Done Beef        140 Degrees F

Lamb                          125 Degrees F
Pork                            140 Degrees F
Fish                            125 Degrees F
Chicken / Turkey    165 Degrees F

Turkey Tostada

Turkey Tostada
Yield: 6 Servings

2 Tbsp.            Olive Oil
1/2 each          Yellow Onion – Small Diced
2 each              Cans Black Beans with Juice
1 each              Can Refried Black Beans
2 tsp.                Hartz Garlic & Herb Spice Blend

3 pounds         Turkey Breast
1 tsp.                Hartz Black Bayou Spice Blend (Use more if you desire a spicier kick)
2 Tbsp.            Olive Oil
1 each              Yellow Onion – Small Diced
2 each              Garlic Cloves – Minced
2 Cans             Diced Tomatoes with Juice

As Needed      Tostada Shells
As Needed      Queso Fresco Cheese (Crumbled)
As Needed      Crema Mexicana Agria
1 bunch           Fresh Cilantro – Chopped
2 each              Limes – Quartered

Procedure for the Black Beans
1.   In a 2 quart pot add the first 2 Tbsp. olive oil and the 1/2 yellow onion and sauté on low until the onions have soften and become translucent.
2.  Add the black beans with juice and Garlic & Herb spice.  Simmer for about 30 minutes stirring often.
3.  Add the refried black beans and heat through.
4.  Place the beans into a bowl.

Procedure for the Turkey
1.  Dice the turkey into 2 inch cubes.
2.  Sprinkle with the Black Bayou Spice blend.
3.  In a 4 quart pot add the second 2 Tbsp. olive oil and the yellow onion and garlic and sauté on low until the onions and garlic have soften and become translucent.
4.  Add the turkey and sear all sides.
5.  Add the diced tomatoes and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
6.  Cover and continue to cook for about 45 minutes or until the turkey can be shredded easily.  Stir often so it does not burn.
7.  When the turkey falls apart easily remove it from the pot onto a sheet pan.
8.  Using two forks shred the turkey.
9.  Place the turkey into a bowl.

Procedure for Building the Tostada
1.  Spoon some black beans onto the tostada shell.
2.  Add some shredded turkey.
3.  Add the crumbled Queso Fresco cheese.
4.  Drizzle with the Crema
5.  Sprinkle with some of the cilantro.
6.  Squeeze a lime wedge over the top.
7.  Enjoy.

*  You can prepare the beans and turkey meat at the same time.
*  Add more Black Bayou Blend to the turkey to make it spicier and you can also add it to the black beans.
*  Diced avocados if you like.
*  The Tostada Shells, Queso Fresco, and Crema can be found in most grocery stores.