Thanksgiving Recipes


Barbecued Turkey with Maple-Mustard Sauce


Barbecued Turkey with Maple-Mustard Sauce

The secret to a moist, tender barbecued turkey is what you do to prepare it, and how you manage your heat source. For a flavorful golden bird, begin by making a brine solution to soak your turkey overnight. Your final results will be barbecued turkey with maple-mustard sauce.

Start by thoroughly thawing the turkey if it was frozen. Whether fresh or frozen, wash the turkey inside and out. Now it is ready to be submerged in your prepared brine solution overnight.

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You will want to select a turkey that has not been injected with a salt solution already, so be sure to read your label. It is always clearly stated if anything is added to meats you find in the store. An injected salt solution may react badly with your brine process.

Brine solutions start with water and salt, but this one is slightly sweet. It includes brown sugar and aromatic herbs added for a special flavor. Six quarts of water, a gallon and a half, should be enough to submerge a turkey that weighs about thirteen pounds.

Heat the water, salt, sugar and herbs, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Heating will also bring out the flavor of the herbs. It is important to completely cool the solution before putting the turkey in it. A hot solution would be similar to boiling the turkey. The turkey will absorb the flavor of the solution as you soak it overnight.

This is an excellent recipe because it has instructions for multiple types of grills. Some people prefer charcoal, but this recipe will work for gas grills and electric grills as well. No guesswork on where to add the smoke chips or how to direct the heat as the instructions are included.

The recipe calls for hickory smoke chips, but you can use fruit woods, hardwoods or mesquite as well. Choose your favorite for a subtle smoky sweet finish. This will be a Thanksgiving feast to remember. Barbecued turkey will make a casual yet delicious main dish.

Once the turkey is almost done cooking on your grill, you will baste it all over with the sweet maple and mustard sauce. The recipe calls for Dijon mustard but other grainy brown mustard will work. Barbecued turkey with maple-mustard sauce will have a shiny, glazed appearance. Basting it with sauce then cooking it one more hour will give a luscious golden brown color to the skin.

Is your Thanksgiving dinner going to be served picnic-style? Serve up traditional picnic dishes with it. Potato salad and coleslaw would be good for starters. For a different salad make an Asian salad with chow mien noodles. Roast some sweet potatoes on the grill while the turkey cooks and offer butter and cinnamon sugar to top them. Or do something a little different and definitely portable – sweet potato balls!

Delicious desserts are always part of Thanksgiving as well. Try rich vanilla ice cream topped with fried apples. Brownies would stand up well to the barbecue theme, too. You even have the option of warming thick slices of your favorite pumpkin bread on the grill.

Thanksgiving is a holiday about gatherings and family. Have the most fun possible while preparing much of your meal on the grill. I think you will enjoy this barbecued turkey with maple-mustard sauce for a casual meal.

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Barbecued Turkey with Maple-Mustard Sauce

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink



For turkey:

  • 6 quarts water
  • 2 large onions (quartered)
  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh ginger
  • ¾ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 4 large bay leaves
  • 4 whole star anise
  • 12 whole black peppercorns (crushed).
  • 1 13- to 14-pound turkey, giblets discarded.
  • 4 cups hickory smoke chips (soaked in water 30 minutes, drained)
  • Disposable 9×6 1/4×1-inch aluminum broiler pans
  • 2 large oranges, cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons oriental sesame oil


For glaze:

  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ⅓ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons (¼ stick) butter.


  1. First the turkey is soaked overnight in a brine to improve flavor and ensure moist meat. (Be sure to use a pot large enough to hold both the brine and the turkey.)
  2. Combine first 8 ingredients in very large pot. Bring mixture to simmer, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Cool brine completely.
  3. Rinse turkey inside and out. Place turkey in brine, pressing to submerge. Chill overnight, turning turkey twice.

If using charcoal barbecue:

  1. Mound charcoal briquettes in barbecue and burn until light gray. Using tongs, carefully divide hot briquettes into 2 piles, 1 pile at each side of barbecue.
  2. Sprinkle each pile with generous ½ cup hickory chips. Place empty broiler pan between piles.
  3. Position grill at least 6 inches above briquettes. Position vents on barbecue so that chips smoke and briquettes burn but do not flame.

If using gas or electric barbecue:

  1. Preheat barbecue with all burners on high. Turn off center burner and lower outside burners to medium-low heat.
  2. Place generous ½ cup hickory chips in each of 2 broiler pans. Set pans over 2 lit burners.
  3. Place empty broiler pan over unlit burner. Position grill at least 6 inches above burners.
  4. Remove turkey from brine; discard brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Place orange wedges in main cavity.
  5. Mix olive oil and sesame oil in small bowl. Brush over turkey. Arrange breast side up on grill, centering above empty broiler pan.
  6. Cover; cook until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 160°F, adding 1 cup hickory chips (and 6 briquettes if using charcoal barbecue) to barbecue every 30 minutes, about 3 hours.

For glaze:

  1. Bring all ingredients to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Brush glaze over turkey; cover and cook until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F, covering any dark areas of turkey with foil, about 1 hour longer.
  2. Transfer turkey to platter. Tent with foil and let stand 30 minutes.


Serves 8.

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