Growing up the son of Cuban and Peruvian immigrants, Thanksgiving has always included ceviches, empanadas and a lot of Latin-influence for Victor Albisu, the chef/owner of award-winning South American grill, Del Campo. Pavo a la brasa is a twist on the popular Peruvian chicken dish (pollo a la brasa), which we serve at Del Campo.
- 1 Cup duck fat
- 1/2 Cup butter
- 1/2 Cup coarse salt
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon oregano
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
- Dried thyme and oregano for smoking
Let the turkey sit at room temperature at least 1 hour. Stuff turkey with aromatics. In a bowl combine duck fat, butter and whisk until the fat is softened and the ingredients are well mixed. Form the fat mixture into two oblong shaped balls and refrigerate.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture for the outside of the turkey. Once the fat is cold and set, place the balls under the skin of the turkey breast and tie. Rub the bird with the remaining fat mix and season with salt.
Open grill vents. Place a chimney starter on the small lower grill grate, put 50 charcoal briquettes in starter, and ignite; let burn until ash gray.
Remove chimney starter, center a roasting pan on grate, and pour out coals, dividing evenly along the long sides of the pan. (Be careful not to spill ashes into pan, since it will collect the turkey drippings.) Top with main grill grate.
Place turkey on top grate, directly over roasting pan, and cover with grill lid (keep lid vent open). Every 45 minutes, add 8 briquettes on each long side of roasting pan to keep heat even. (Some grills have a grate with space on the sides that allows for this addition. Otherwise you'll need a helper to lift the grate with the turkey while you add the coals.)
Add dried herbs (thyme and oregano are recommended) directly to the coals to create an aromatic smoke to flavor the meat. Cook turkey until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (and the stuffing) reads 165 degrees, 2 to 3 hours (about 10 minutes per pound with aromatics, 12 minutes with stuffing). Remove from heat, and let rest 20 minutes before carving.