By Timothy Hollingsworth
Chef Tim Hollingsworth's secret to the most tender turkey? Mayonnaise. Unlike oil and butter, the high-fat coating stays put when he slathers his turkey with it, basting the bird as it cooks and keeping it moist and tender. It also encourages the Maillard reaction, which is a fancy way of saying it turns the turkey a gorgeous deep brown color. (For the best results you will want to start ahead, coat the turkey, and then let it chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours.) Does the coating make the turkey taste like mayonnaise? Nope. All you taste is delicious turkey goodness.
|14- to 15-lb whole turkey
|1 1/2 Cup
|freshly ground black pepper
|lemon, cut into wedges
|head garlic, cut in half crosswise
|WhistlePig Piggyback Whiskey
Remove the giblets and neckbone from the turkey if necessary. (Reserve for making gravy if you like.) Place the turkey on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Slather the mayonnaise mixture all over the turkey, including inside the cavity and on the bottom to keep if from sticking to the grill. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, lemon, and garlic. Truss the turkey for a better presentation if you like. Transfer the turkey to the refrigerator and let it chill, uncovered, for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the Traeger to 225°F with the lid closed; this will take about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the whiskey and vinegar in a clean spray bottle or a bowl.
Holding a leave-in meat thermometer parallel to the work surface, insert it into the thickest part of the breast next to but not touching the breastbone. Place the turkey breast side up directly on the grill grate and cook for two hours. After two hours, spritz with the whiskey mixture about every 30 minutes. Continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 158°F, 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours total. (The time will vary depending on the temperature outside and the size of the bird.)
225 ˚F / 107 ˚C
158 ˚F / 70 ˚C
Transfer the turkey to a large cutting board with a trough to catch any juices. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. Enjoy!
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