Cooking your Thanksgiving turkey on the grill in a roasting pan saves your precious oven space for other dishes. Instead of stuffing the bird with the stuffing, I like to stuff the cavity with aromatic herbs, onion, and lemon, baking the stuffing in a separate dish. Pairs well with a spicy Gewürztraminer, or a juicy Zinfandel for red wine fans.
Adapted from "The Winemaker Cooks," by Christine Hanna.
1 cup unsalted butter
1 bottle Chardonnay
One turkey, 12–15 pounds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme, plus sprigs for stuffing
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage, plus sprigs for stuffing
2 small onions, halved
1 lemon, halved
Chardonnay Gravy, for serving
Preheat a gas grill/barbecue to medium-high heat, or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill/barbecue. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the Chardonnay over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and soak a large cheesecloth/muslin in the butter mixture.
Remove the turkey giblets from the turkey and reserve to make stock for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out; dry well. In a small bowl, make the paste with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and finely chopped herbs. Rub the outside of the turkey with the herb paste and place it on a rack in a roasting pan/tray, breast side up. Tuck with wing tips under the turkey. Stuff the body cavity with the onion and lemon halves and the herb sprigs.
Drape the soaked cheesecloth/muslin over the breast of the turkey, covering the top portion of the leg as well. Remove the remaining Chardonnay butter for basting.
Place the roasting pan/tray on the grill/barbecue and close the cover. Roast for 30 minutes, then uncover the grill/barbecue and baste the cheesecloth/muslin with the Chardonnay butter mixture, using a pastry brush. If the bottom of the roasting pan/tray is dry, add 1/2 cup water to keep the drippings from burning. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and roast, basting the cheesecloth/muslin every 30 minutes, for another hour and a half. Add a little more water if the bottom of the pan is dry.
Discard the cheesecloth/muslin and baste the turkey with the pan juices. Cover again and roast for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, for a total of 2 3/4–3 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh but not touching bone registers 165 degrees (the turkey will continue to cook as it rests). Transfer the turkey to a carving board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for at least 20 minutes. Pour the drippings through a fine-mesh sieve into a four-cup glass measure, then skim off the fat and reserve. Reserve the roasting pan/tray for making the gravy. Carve the turkey and serve with Chardonnay Gravy.