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From Grill to Table, Reinvent Holiday Classics Outdoors

Thanksgiving 2011 landing page

Year-round outdoor cooking is on the rise as consumers are becoming more adventurous chefs, forgoing the oven or stove-top and opting for turkey and trimmings cooked on the grill, smoker or fryer. According to HPBA’s State of the Barbecue Industry report, 62 percent of consumers are cooking outdoors year-round and 15 percent are cooking part of their Thanksgiving meals outside. Whether it’s for the convenience, minimal cleanup or crisp fresh air, consumers are willing to prepare the entire Thanksgiving meal – from the turkey to desserts – outdoors.

Along with new techniques, gadgets and recipes, Americans agree that there are many reasons they are cooking outdoors this holiday season – and all year round – according to new State of the Barbecue Industry report findings. Consumers say they’ll cook outdoors for:

  • Desire to eat tasty food (58%),
  • Personal satisfaction of making a great meal outside (51%),
  • Convenience (42%),

The National Turkey Federation (NTF) estimates 46 million turkeys will be cooked this holiday. With grilling, smoking or frying the whole turkey or turkey breast gaining popularity, HPBA and NTF offer tips for a safe and delicious meal:

Safety First

  • Check to make sure the grill, smoker or fryer is in working order.
  • Be sure to read the owner’s manual for safety precautions.
  • Stock up on enough charcoal, propane, oil or wood chips needed to cook the meal.
  • Be sure to use the grill, smoker or fryer outside only – never indoors – while set-up on a flat, stable surface, preferably on a protective grill pad, and away from any combustible materials.

Turkey Time

  • Purchase a whole turkey according to the weight recommendations in your grill’s, smoker’s or fryer’s owner’s manual.
  • Thaw the turkey completely and pat it dry. Cook the bird un-stuffed.
  • Brine the turkey for increased flavor and moisture.
  • Outdoor cooking times depend on many factors: the size and shape of the turkey, the distance from the heat and the outside air temperature. Allow more time on cold or windy days and at high altitudes. Allow less time in very hot weather.
  • Have a food thermometer handy to measure the internal temperature of the bird; the temperature should be 165° F, but most people prefer it to reach 170° F in the breast and to 180° F in the thigh.

Reinvent the Classic Side Dishes!

While the bird is the centerpiece of the meal, Thanksgiving’s savory side dishes and trimmings can all be cooked outdoors. Everything from vegetables, to grilled breads and stuffing can be prepared out of the oven. Try these recipes for crispy smashed potatoes, grilled apples slices or grilled vegetable orzo.

Find more ideas at HPBA’s Thanksgiving Recipe Box.

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