A couple of years ago, we went to my parents for Thanksgiving. They didn’t have their deep fryer anymore and I was broken-hearted. I refused to go back to regular baked turkey, so I embarked on a grilling method since they still had their grill. My mom didn’t want me experimenting with her baked turkey so she bought me a turkey breast to experiment on. Since they have a normal grill and not a smoker, I used a technique to create a makeshift smoker. I will say this… the bacon weave turkey was the first to be devoured.
- One turkey breast, cleaned and skinned.
- Turkey injector marinade (I used Creole Butter)
- Your favorite rub (I used garlic powder, Jane’s Krazy Salt, and a little bit of oregano)
- A pack of pork bacon (Turkey bacon simply does NOT have enough fat, it will crisp up and break apart while on the grill)
- Apple juice (In a spray bottle. Any spray bottle from the walmart travel hair section will do)
- Olive Oil
- Wood chips soaked in water overnight
If you have the time to let the turkey sit overnight, definitely do the turkey prep part first and let it sit in the fridge. Following instructions on the injector marinade you are using, inject the breast meat and apply the marinade while withdrawing the needle. The guidelines on the bottle usually say half a bottle per turkey, but I use the whole bottle for this breast. Lightly coat turkey breast in olive oil and apply rub liberally to the meat.
On a large cutting board, prepare to start bacon weaving. line up 7-8 strips (however many strips it takes to equal the length of one strip of bacon laid across lengthwise) of bacon vertically side by side and starting at bottom (or top), lay one strip of bacon horizontally, going over and under. It may help after this first row to put toothpicks on the end to keep the ends in place. Fold each vertical strip that is on the “under” side of the horizontal strip down over that horizontal strip so that only the “over” strips are still lined up. Lay another horizontal strip of bacon above previous horizontal strip and over the vertical strips. Now fold back “up” the vertical strips you folded down before and then fold down the strips that were previously “up”. Repeat this step until to you get to the end and you should have a nice bacon weave. There are other ways to weave but this worked out easy and efficiently for me. It will definitely help to have extra hands to help you transfer this to the turkey or you can lay the turkey breast-side down on the weave and then pin the edges of the bacon to the turkey with toothpicks. (Let sit overnight in fridge if you have the time available)
Prepare the grill for indirect grilling with a drip pan in the middle. With aluminum foil, put a handful of the soaked woodchips into the middle and loosely roll this up into a tube, leaving the ends open (so that the smoke can escape). Be prepared to either have multiple tubes ready or to refill the ones your using throughout the cooking process. Place one tube on each side of the grill, directly on top of the coals. Place the turkey into the center of the grate and close lid. Spray with apple juice every 10-15 minutes, but very quickly as to not let the heat/smoke escape. (The apple juice add flavor and helps keep the bacon from cooking too crispy or burning. When the bacon looks nice and done, after about 25-30 minutes, remove turkey and wrap with foil and then return to grill and cook for another 20-25 minutes. The time depends on the size of your bird and this was just a breast. For a whole turkey, say 15 pounder, you’re looking at about 3 hours total cook time. And always check the meat to make sure its done deep down inside.
Remove turkey to a dish and unwrap from foil into dish. You will want a dish with high edges because as soon as you cut into the turkey, juices will be flowing. Make sure you get your plate first before serving everyone else, they may not leave any for you. Enjoy! (This also works with cornish hens).
The slideshow below shoes the detailed steps. I apologize for not having a picture in process of the weaving, I did this 3am while everyone was sleep.