Turkey a la Southern California for the holidays


A delicious aroma wafting from Monark Premium Appliance Co.’s showroom (near Nordstrom and South Coast Plaza’s north parking structure) made us curious about turkey cookery.  Was there a way to take the turkey out of the overworked kitchen oven on Thanksgiving with equally impressive results?


Monark’s branch manager, Chris Arnold, shared the benefits of rotisserie-cooking the holiday turkey on an outdoor stainless steel grill, a concept that we think is well-suited to Southern California homes year-round.


Why break tradition and use a barbecue rotisserie to roast a turkey?

Because it’s easier. The self-basting action of the rotisserie’s spin makes it virtually foolproof, keeping it moist and tender–I’ve never had a dry turkey. Say good-bye to brining or the messiness of a deep-fried turkey. And depending on the model of the grill, it can have a faster cooking time.

What size turkey is best to cook on a rotisserie?

Size the bird to the grill, as each grill is different and it needs vertical space to spin. Generally speaking, around 15 pounds or less; we tested a 17 pound bird on the Alfresco Pro Grill with Sear Zone and Infrared Rotisserie. It was cooked to perfection.

What’s the prep?

Rinse and pat dry the turkey to include its cavity, then rub the skin with olive oil and salt and pepper inside and out.  Herbs can be inserted under the skin and those flavors will permeate the meat as it cooks. I like to put oranges or apples into the cavity—the juices baste the turkey as it turns.

Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together and wrap the twine around the bird tightly at the wings, to keep them close to the body.

Take time to thoroughly read manufacturer’s instructions on centering the bird with the rotisserie shaft and spit fork, securing it correctly.  

How long to cook?

The rotisserie grill temperature is about 350 degrees.  Always use a meat thermometer; the deepest part of the thigh should read 180 F with an instant read thermometer when cooked. Generally speaking, it’s about 15 minutes cooking per pound, but it depends on the grill, as the state-of-the-art ones have infrared searing which quickens the cook time.  

What else do you need or need to know?

For tools, the rotisserie kit for your specific model of grill, an aluminum pan to catch the fat, fuel for the grill and hot pads or fireproof gloves.

A rotisserie cooked turkey should not have bread-stuffing and there are no drippings for gravy.

The showroom has state-of-the art barbecue outdoor grills. What are some of your favorites?

There are some beauties—Alfresco, Hestan, Kalamazoo and Wolf all make outstanding outdoor grills that can be used year-round in California. It’s a worthwhile investment for anyone who loves to cook.