Saturday, May 4, 2013

Grill Roasted Turkey Breast

April 21, 2013

Grill Roasted Turkey Breast
Oven Roasted Carrots
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Relish
Oak Leaf Pinot Grigio

Roasted Carrots from Cook's Illustrated

I'd been thinking of having turkey for a while and finally it happened. I found a recipe for a grill-roasted turkey breast in my collection of saved recipes. Roasting a whole turkey for just the two of us was out of the question, but this would produce enough turkey for a good Sunday dinner and a generous amount of leftovers for the following week.

The recipe is for a full bone-in, skin-on turkey breast, 5-7 pounds worth. To prepare it you split the breast, remove the bones, and tie the halves together making a compact boneless roast. When I got to the butcher case at the market I found that for a $1 more a pound I could get a boneless turkey breast. I purchased one of the larger ones which weighed 2¾ pounds, a much better size and better deal when there are only the two of us to feed.

The turkey is easily prepared for grilling. It is first sprinkled with kosher salt and refrigerated for an hour. The roast is then rubbed with vegetable oil and seasoned with black pepper. It is roasted on indirect heat until it reaches an internal  temperature of 150°, which took about 75 minutes on our grill, but it could take much less time on a hotter grill. The meat is then put on direct heat for a few minutes and browned on all sides.

The biggest challenge was determining the temperature. I used a probe thermometer to get an initial reading then an instant read thermometer for more accuracy. The instant read thermometer met varying degrees of resistance when inserted into the roast and the temperature varied greatly from place to place. At one point I found temperatures ranging from 95° to 140°. After 60 minutes the roast was still not done and I turned the burner on the cool side of the grill on low to speed things up a little. This led to a flare-up which was easily controlled by moving the meat. I took the turkey off of the grill when the temperature reached 150° in the firmest part of the roast.

For side dishes we had mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, and something new: roasted carrots. The cranberry relish is a Thanksgiving tradition that my mom always made. Diane made the relish by grinding fresh cranberries that we had frozen together with a whole orange (peel and all) then adding sugar to taste. It's a wonderful condiment that brightens up the meal with a mix of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors all mixed together. In contrast, the carrots were less sweet than raw or glazed carrots, having an earthy flavor that worked well with the bright relish and mild-flavored turkey breast.

This was a nice meal which we both enjoyed. (Our cats enjoyed it too, one of them, Shenzi by name, stole a slice of the turkey without our noticing until it was gone.) The meat tasted good but it was a little dry, probably overdone as a result of the problems getting an accurate temperature. The turkey was easy to roast on the grill. To add more flavor I should have added a packet of wood chips to produce some flavorful smoke. And like the ham from the previous week, we now have some really good leftover meals to anticipate.

We had leftover turkey prepared several different ways during the week. We had turkey slices served with mashed potatoes, peas, cranberry relish, and gravy from a mix (which helped the dry turkey) and open-faced hot turkey sandwiches. Diane fixed one of our favorite leftover turkey recipes: Almond Turkey with Peas from our old copy of the Sunset Wok Cookbook which features chunks of turkey with fresh snow peas and crisp, crunchy water chestnuts.


  1. Yes, but not on this Sunday. The post for that dinner should be posted a week from Saturday.