Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Turkey Rubs: Barbecue Turkey for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is not at my home this year, so we won't be Barbecuing the Turkey. Unfortunate, because we really love the smokiness and flavor that the barbecue brings to the bird. Barbecuing the turkey also leaves the ovens free for all the side dishes and pies.

Two years ago we started barbecuing our turkeys with spicy chocolate rubs. Here are two great recipes. We've made some adaptations, but this first recipe is for Spicy Chocolate Rub Recipe from  The BBQ Report.  Just combine everything in the Cuisinart until finely ground and pat on turkey. This recipe is for chicken, so if you're planning a 20 lb. turkey, you'll need to increase the amounts.


1 cup natural unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Want to get a little more sophisticated with the Rub? Kunde Family Estates (great wines to accompany your turkey) has a recipe for BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub. This recipe includes brining the turkey first. If you buy a kosher turkey it will already be brined. This recipe is for a 12-16 pound turkey, so if yours is bigger than that, you'll need to adjust the measurements.


3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. chile powder
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. chipotle chile powder
2 tbsp. softened butter

In a small bowl, combine all the dry rub ingredients. Mix well. In another small bowl, mash the butter together with 2 tbsp. rub – set aside.

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. With your fingers, gently loosen the skin over the breast meat and insert the butter/rub under the skin; gently rub over breast meat. Rub the outside of the bird well with olive oil; then sprinkle generously inside and out with rub. Loosely pack the cavity with the lemon and orange slices. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string. Place in refrigerator and let sit; uncovered, 5 – 6 hours, or until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, prepare grill. If using a charcoal grill, prepare it for indirect cooking. For gas grills, heat to medium high. Put turkey in the roasting pan on grill; add 2 cups water; cover. Turn all gas setting to low. Grill-roast turkey, basting with pan juices and rotating the pan 180 degrees every hour, for 3 hours. (If using charcoal grill, add briquettes or mesquite every hour to maintain an even temperature). After 3 hours, insert an instant-read thermometer in the fleshy part of an inner thigh to check for doneness. Thigh meat should register 175° F and the juices should run clear when the thigh is pierced. If not done, cover and continue to cook; checking every 20 minutes for doneness.

When done, transfer turkey to a heated platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before carving.

Does Chocolate have a place at your Thanksgiving Table this year? Please make a comment!

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