The smell of freshly cut grass, the sound of crickets as the sun sets and the aroma of barbeque have all come to symbolize summer. Although care should be taken when grilling, there is no denying that a little sizzle can add to the season.
The secret is using a marinade – which reduces the amount of carcinogens formed when grilling meats - and the right grilling technique.
It starts with a great marinade. This recipe calls for mojo, whose origin is shrouded in mystery. Today, having mojo means you lead a charmed life. Having mojo (pronounced mo-ho), on the other hand, means you can lend a recipe an extra kick. There are many types of commercial mojo sauces available in America, but you can't beat creating your own.
This week's recipe uses a version of the pungent sauce that features cilantro, orange, lemon, oregano, cumin and garlic. One thing is certain; there is no mystery about its power to punch up the flavor of meat, making it easier to cook.
The citrus acts to tenderize the turkey and keep it moist. The herbs infuse the meat with a special flavor. The cilantro imparts a tropical flavor. And cumin adds a distinctive, slightly bitter warm flavor as it complements the tangy citrus. This pale green seed is a small herb belonging to the parsley family. The ancient spice is native to the area around the Mediterranean Sea. A favorite of Romans, it was used widely in Europe. Over time, however, it became popular in Latin foods.
The oregano's somewhat spicy, robust flavor further enhances the taste of the mix. Although its presence is subtle, this versatile spice is integral to the marinade. Garlic completes the mix. Its pungent flavor mellows and adds both taste and nutrition. Mashing the ingredients together creates a paste which ensures that all of the elements of the mojo fully mingle.
Whether cooking with a gas grill or over charcoal, the secret to creating succulent turkey is to use indirect heat. This gives a great grilled taste without charring the meat. So, put some magic on the grill and enjoy the peak of the summer season.
Mojo Marinated Grilled Turkey
Makes 6 servings.
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 limes juiced
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 pounds turkey breasts or thighs, skin removed
- Mash spices, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper to create paste. Mix paste with the citrus juices, and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add marinade to a sealable plastic bag and add turkey. Marinate for at least 2 hours.
- For gas grill, clean grill rack. Set burners to high and close lid. Grill temperature should be about 500 degrees. Use indirect method by turning off burners directly beneath turkey and turning burners on either side to medium to low when cooking. For charcoal grills, use same technique, separating coals to create indirect heat.
- Once fire is ready, remove excess marinade and place turkey parts on grill and cook for about 30 minutes. Turn over and brush with remaining olive oil. Continue this process—turning, basting and grilling. Total cooking time is roughly 12 minutes per pound of turkey. Use a meat thermometer. Breast meat should be at 170 degrees and dark meat should be at 180 degrees.
- Whether you use a gas or charcoal grill, keep the lid closed as much as possible to maintain heat.
- Cover turkey with foil and set aside for 5 minutes, then serve.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
13 g total fat
4 g saturated fat
13 g carbohydrate
24 g protein
0 g dietary fiber, 350 mg sodium