Grilling Turkey For Thanksgiving: The Best Way To Do It
Thanksgiving sneaks up on us quick, and you need to start preparing for this great grilling holiday!
One of the best and easiest ways to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey is right on your grill.
If you consider yourself to be a true grill master, grilling your turkey will solidify your accolade.
Don’t argue with your spouse if they usually make it in the oven; just buy a second turkey and make your own out back on the grill.
When you bring in a second bird with that wonderful smoky grilled flavor, all of your dinner guests surely won’t complain.
If you don’t know how to grill a turkey, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll cover proper prep for your turkey, cooking practices, proper grilling time, and how to recognize when your bird is properly cooked.
The following is a step by step list of how to grill your next Thanksgiving turkey:
1. Select the right bird.
If you’re going to grill a turkey, size matters.
Most grills won’t fit a 25 pound bird, so try to select one in the 15 pound range.
That option is just about the perfect size for most popular grills, and if you’re grilling a second bird, you don’t need a monster anyway.
2. Fresh or thaw it out.
Buy a fresh turkey, or if you choose a frozen one, allow plenty of time for it to thaw out properly.
Incomplete thawing will lead to incomplete cooking and possible health hazards.
If you are unfreezing it in the refrigerator, it may take 5 or 6 days for your bird to defrost.
If you are thawing in a sink full of cold water, allow 30 minutes per pound for the bird to reach the proper temperature.
We also recommend that you put your bird in a plastic bag when defrosting in water to prevent any contamination.
3. Brine it.
One of people’s major concerns when grilling turkey is that it might turn out too dry.
This issue is a legitimate concern, but it can be corrected with a little brining right before cooking.
Make a brine of salt and water with one cup of salt to each gallon of water and soak your turkey. Allow one hour per pound for the soak.
For example, a 15 pound bird should be brined for 25 hours. Soaking in brine will make sure your turkey turns out nice and juicy.
4. Soak some wood chips.
The whole point of grilling your bird is to get that smoky flavor, so you need to get your wood chips ready.
Use two handfuls of cherry and one handful of hickory wood, and soak for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Add chips during cooking as necessary.
5. Clean Turkey
Rinse with cold water and make sure the insides are removed.
Nobody likes it when they find extra little surprises in their turkey dinner, so just be thorough and make sure everything is how you want it.
Pat your turkey dry with paper towels.
6. Apply any seasonings or dry rub to your turkey.
Now is your chance to flavor your bird as you wish.
Be creative, or use a tried and true seasoning mix from the Grill Masters Club.
Use a rub that’s made for poultry or fish for the best results.
7. Preheat to correct temperature.
Preheat your grill.
Put a drip pan under the grates where you are going to place the turkey. Then, fire up your grill. and let it warm up for at least 15 minutes.
The temperature you’re looking for is somewhere between 325-350 degrees; however, you must use indirect heat.
No burners or charcoal should be directly under your turkey.
8. Spray entire turkey with cooking or vegetable oil.
This layer of oil will allow your bird to reach that awesome golden brown color.
9. Place turkey on grill over drip pan breast side up.
Now, close the lid, and try to avoid opening it more than you have to.
Ten to fifteen pound birds should take two to three hours to cook, so check at halfway, three quarters, and when it should be done.
Use a meat thermometer to measure temperature inside the thigh and the center of the breast.
When the thigh reads 180 degrees and the breast reads 165 degrees, your turkey is done.
Remove turkey from grill and let rest for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes are up, carve, serve, and enjoy!
Now you should be prepared and ready to cook your turkey on the grill!
Don’t forget, sauces and rubs are sometimes the most important part of preparing a meal. You can get the help of Certified BBQ Judges by joining Grill Masters Club to receive 4-5 sauces and rubs that are sent to your doorstep every month so that you can keep grilling every holiday.
If you’re interested in trying new sauces, rubs, and recipes, then checking out what is inside Grill Masters Club is something you should do right now.