McClatchy News Service Beer columnist Barry Shlacter offers a round-up of foods for holiday feasting. If you yearn for something more flavorful than a plain roasted turkey, try this recipe for a marinated and grilled bird made with holiday spices, hard cider and brown ale:
24 ounces brown ale (or more to cover)
24 ounces hard cider
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
3 fresh bay leaves
2 oranges, washed, quartered, seeded and sliced thin
1/2 cup canola oil
1 medium-sized turkey (10 to 12 pounds), giblets removed
Special equipment: large stockpot, food-grade 5-gallon bucket (available from home brew supply shops)
The night before, start the marinade. Blend ale and cider, salt, spices, oranges and oil in large stockpot and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and let cool. Wash and rinse outside and cavity of turkey. Place turkey in food-grade plastic bucket and pour marinade over it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (Tip: You may have to remove a few shelves to get the bucket in the refrigerator — or put the bucket in a large cooler packed with ice instead). After several hours, turn the bird so it marinates evenly on all sides.
After 12 to 24 hours, remove bird from marinade, and pour marinade through sieve into 1-gallon stockpot. Bring marinade to a boil, skim off foam and reduce heat to simmer. Use ladle to measure out 3 cups of sterilized marinade. Prepare grill with drip pan and arrange coals or burners for indirect cooking. Disjoint the legs from the turkey (without cutting the skin) as this will let it cook more evenly. Place bird on grill over indirect heat at 300 degrees 2 to 4 hours, depending on size of bird. Allow about 15 minutes per pound. Be sure that drip pan is large enough to collect fat and juices. Baste often with cooked cider ale marinade, mixed with pan drippings, to keep it moist. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees when thermometer is inserted into thickest part of thigh. Finish bird with 10 minutes direct grilling over hardwood chips to crisp skin and add smoky flavors.
Move turkey to a platter and cover with 2 layers foil. Let turkey rest 30 minutes before carving. Makes about 12 to 14 servings.