The Best Roast Turkey. Ever.

This is a recipe that I adapted for La Caja China from my father’s, Master Chef Frank L. Perkins, turkey recipe. The secret is in the brine! I’ve included instructions for both La Caja China, and a standard gas grill.

Southern Roast Turkey

3  12-14lb turkeys, frozen
Salt and pepper to taste
Smoked paprika
3 C melted butter
1 ½ C salad oil
9 C fine sea salt
9 C white sugar

Start with 3 – 5 gallon buckets. Boil 12 cups of water with 9 cups of fine sea salt, and 9 cups white sugar. Allow to cool. Pour 4 cups of seasoned water into each bucket.

Put your frozen turkey in the bucket, and fill with water until you have totally submersed your turkeys, put a weight on each turkey to hold it down. Cover your buckets with towels and leave your turkeys like that over night.

Take the turkey out of the water the next morning, rinse them clean, and pat dry.

Sprinkle turkeys generously with pepper and paprika both inside and outside.

Place turkeys on top of the rack, breast up, and attach top rack using the 4 S-Hooks and tent loosely with foil. Attach probe from a wired thermometer and run wire under short top frame.

Cover box with the ash pan and charcoal grid.

Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for model #1 or 20 lbs. for model #2 and light up. Once lit (20-25 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the charcoal grid. Cooking time starts right now.

After 1 hour (2nd hour) add 10 lbs. of charcoal.

After about 1 1/2 hours, open the roaster and baste the bird with the stock inside the pan to ensure it has the right amount of tenderness.

After 1 hour (3rd hour) add 10 lbs. of charcoal.

Do not add any more charcoal; continue cooking the Turkey until you reach the desired temperature reading, on the thermometer of 175 f.

Remove foil and flip the birds. Cover the box again and brown the top of the turkeys 15-20 minutes, to your liking.

Remove birds and pans from La Caja China, reserving the leftover stock for use with your dressing. Drain the excess fat and save for your giblet gravy.

You can find step-by-step recipes in my cookbook, La Caja China Cooking, as well.

For a gas grill:

Place the turkey, breast side down, on a wire rack in a large heavy-gauge foil pan.

Place the pan on the grill, away from the source of heat. Close the lid.

Cook for 11 to 13 minutes per pound, until the turkey registers an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thigh and 170°F (77°C) in the breast.

Allow turkey to rest 30 minutes before carving and serving.

Serve with cornbread stuffing and giblet gravy.


Place a shallow, disposable aluminum pan, slightly larger than the turkey itself, beneath the rack under each bird. Not only will this save you some clean-up later, but it will also catch some wonderful drippings that will make the best turkey gravy you’ve ever had. Thanks, Dad!

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