BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub

A unique & spicy BBQ turkey.

BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub

BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub BRINE

1 cup kosher salt*
1 cup sugar
2 lemons, washed and sliced
1 orange, washed and sliced
1 jalapeno with seeds, sliced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns

The day before you plan to cook the turkey, make the brine. Place all the ingredients in a large container. Add 2 quarts water, stir well; making sure the sugar and salt is fully dissolved.

Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Rinse well under cold running water; place turkey into the brine breast side down. Add enough water to cover the turkey completely. Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

In the morning remove the turkey from the brine, along with the slices of orange and lemon (discard the remaining brine). Rinse the turkey well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.


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
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 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.


1 turkey (12 - 14 pounds), preferably all natural or free-range*

Place the turkey in a large disposable 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 some of the lemon and orange slices (you will not need to use them all). 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 the 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 10 more briquettes to each mound of coals 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 (add more briquettes to each mound of coals if using charcoal); 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.

Serves 6 with generous leftovers.

*If using a turkey that has been injected with a solution; cut the salt in the brine to 1/4 cup as the solution contains a great deal of salt. Kosher turkeys have already been salt brined, omit salt completely from brine solution.

Variation(s): If you have a heavy duty rotisserie (strong enough to handle the weight of the turkey) you can use it for this recipe. Place the turkey on the spit, fasten tightly. Tie the wings and legs with string to hold the body of the turkey. Hold the spit on each side and roll it in your hands to check the balance. Readjust as necessary so it will turn evenly. Remove the cooking racks and preheat grill; place a drip pan under where the turkey will sit, grill over low heat, about 3 hours for a 12 pound turkey. Be sure to check periodically to insure the bird is turning and to baste with pan juices.

This recipe can also be made the oven, roast at 350°F until cooked through; basting occasionally with pan juices.

To make gravy from the pan drippings: Spoon the fat from the pan. In a small sauce pan, make a roux by combining 2 tbsp. butter with 2 tbsp. flour, cook until lightly browned; add a good pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Pour in the pan drippings and cook until slightly thickened (if the gravy gets too thick, add a bit of chicken broth or water). Add 1/4 cup zinfandel; taste, adjust seasonings and serve.

Serve with:
Kunde Family Winery Syrah