Barbecued turkey with herbs and aromatic vegetables

This was served at the memorable Thanksgiving Day feast of 1988.

  • 1 cup fresh thyme, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh sage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 4 oz lite unsalted <butter>, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp <salt>
  • 1½ tbsp dried thyme
  • 1½ tbsp rubbed or ground sage
  • 1½ tbsp dried oregano
  • 1½ tbsp dried basil
  • turkey big enough for the occasion
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 large carrots, sliced ¼”
  • 4 leeks, cut in ¼” rounds
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced ¼”
  • 1 head garlic, quartered
Herb Butter
  • 1 cup unsalted <butter>, melted
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh basil, minced
  • ½ tsp fresh oregano, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • <salt> and pepper, to taste

Prepare the herb butter in a blender (can be prepared days ahead, if desired). Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.

Remove the cooking grids from the barbecue and preheat with all burners on high, lid down for 10 minutes, or until temperature reaches 400F. Sprinkle enough presoaked mesquite wood flavoring chips to cover the bottom of a small disposable aluminum foil pan.

Mix first 12 ingredients in a medium bowl. Rub mixture into turkey cavity. Pack onions, carrots, leeks, celery, and garlic into cavity. Truss the turkey with string.

Rub outside of turkey skin with olive oil. Turn center burner off. Place a foil pan on the coals in the center of the barbecue to catch drippings. Replace grids and place foil pan of wood chips inside and to one side. Place turkey on the grill, taking care not place it over the wood chips. Close the lid and cook high-off-high just long enough for wood flavor bits to char and release smoke, about 15 minutes. Immediately turn burners to medium-off-medium and cook until tender and thermometer inserted into inside thigh registers 165F, about 20 minutes per pound of bird. Baste occasionally with the herb butter during cooking.

Transfer turkey to a platter and let stand for 20 minutes. Remove and discard the stuffing. Garnish with fresh herbs. Deglaze the drip pan for use in the gravy.