Barbecue Turkey Marinade {Sanpete County Style}

by Maria on July 26, 2010

Anyone who grew up anywhere near Sanpete County, Utah knows exactly what I am talking about….and has already started drooling just thinking about this delicious meat.

Someone knew what they were doing when they came up with this winner. It is Crazy tasty…..More-ish if you will and is absolutely perfect for your summertime barbecues.

Turkey breast is traditionally the star in this recipe, but chicken shines almost as bright and can be used in a pinch.  In Sanpete County turkey meat is easily accessible, and affordable because of the many turkey farms in the area.  Anytime we had a major family gathering my mom would go over to the local Turkey Plant (yes, that is the place where the turkeys from the farms retire to,) and come back with her twenty pound frozen brick of turkey that she paid a dollar something a pound for, and usually within 48 hours we had barbecue turkey coming out of our eyeballs.

However, when you live in, say, New Jersey – it is a little harder to find fresh turkey breast.  If you are fortunate enough to come across it at your local grocery store, it is usually to the tune of “way more then you are willing to pay,” so…………..go ahead and use chicken.  It will still be awesome!

BBQ Turkey Marinade

2 cups Sprite or 7up
1 cup cup Soy Sauce
1 cup oil
1 TBSP horseradish sauce
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
5 lbs  fresh turkey breast or fresh chicken breast

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl (I use a clean 5 quart ice cream bucket.) Once you have the marinade mixed well add the meat and put a very tight fitting lid on it. Refrigerate over night. You can also use zip-lock bags. If you use zip lock bags you will probably need to divide the meat and marinade evenly between two gallon size bags. Refrigerate over night or at least 12 hours.  Pull the meat out and grill it on your barbecue until cooked through. Viola…..enjoy.


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne July 27, 2010 at 3:53 am

Yum Maria, can’t wait tp try this out!


Michelle July 27, 2010 at 4:44 am

Oh, what a great picture. It’s not even 8 am and I’m wishing for dinner!


Kira July 27, 2010 at 7:35 am

We love this recipe, its a family favorite but we have never put the horseradish in it. We totally adding that next time!


Chris July 27, 2010 at 8:23 am

Our family has used a similar recipe for years…but I never had the right proportions and have been winging it! Thanks for sharing.


Destri July 27, 2010 at 9:01 am

“yes, that is the place where the turkeys from the farms retire to,”
You crack me up!

Aaron said I’d better have this on the menu this week, so I guess I will go see if I can find some turkey!


Tina July 27, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I bet the turkeys on the farm think the retirees are off in Palm Beach. Little do they know…..
You had me at horseradish. Ok, you had me at BBQ…bu we are pretty snobby here in Kansas City about our BBQ. The horseradish is winning me over!


Aubrey July 28, 2010 at 5:13 am

Yum! BBQ turkey is also a family favorite! I’m going to Utah soon, I’ll have to try it out.


Tammi Coen July 30, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I was reading the tutorial on how to make the hanging buckets – darling! I am going to make a bunch for my home preschool room to hold markers, etc.
Then, I noticed the turkey marinade recipe from Sanpete County, Utah.
My husband and I lived in Mt. Pleasant in the early 80′s . My husband taught at Wasatch Academy and I was a house mother in one of the dorms.
We go back and visit whenever we can and always dream of moving back some day.
It was so much fun to read the marinade recipe too. I had forgotten how much we loved it.


David Call March 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I lived in Sanpete until my mid-30s, then unfortunately had to move out of state for work. This turkey is absolutely amazing! You can buy pre-marinated turkey in frozen 30 lb. bags at Moroni Feed Company if you’re lucky enough to be in town. We barbecue turkey several times each summer for our friends and neighbors and get rave reviews every time! Our children were raised on Sanpete BBQ turkey during the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti and the Scandinavian Festival in Ephraim. They always look forward to summer barbecue time. The best complement to the turkey? Piccadilly chips! Sanpeters know what I’m talking about…


Kendall Jackman May 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I’d never heard of Sanpete turkey until out daughter brought some home from Snow College for family BBQ. I thought, “grilled turkey… Yeah, right.” Threw it on the grill, not expecting much.

I was hooked from the first bite. I’d have eaten all of it if everyone else hadn’t beat me to it. We stopped by Moroni Feed last weekend, and I’ve got a tray of marinated turkey steaks thawing in the fridge right now. Can’t wait to fire up the grill!

The packages are labeled “Sanpete Turkey” right on the front, branded just like you’d see at a grocery store. Does anyone know if Norbest ships this stuff to regular stores?


Bob Scannell May 6, 2014 at 6:54 pm

I served my mission in San Pete Country during the landslides and floods of 1983. I fell in love with BBQ Turkey and have cooked it many times since then and while experimenting, I found that it works wonderfully with pork as well. Try it, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.


Maria May 7, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for the tip Bob, I will have to give it a try with pork! :)


Paula Davis June 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

LOVE Sanpete BBQ turkey! Thanks for posting the recipe. I had forgotten the horseradish when I tried to do it from memory. I got the recipe when I went to Snow College in the 80′s. Still love it!


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