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Grilled Turkey: A Thanksgiving Game Changer

This Thanksgiving, set tradition aside and grill your turkey! For those of you who live in warmer climates, this might not seem totally outrageous, but anyone who’s braved snow drifts before mashed potatoes, knows grilling beyond Labor Day isn’t commonplace. But hear me out…

This Thanksgiving, set tradition aside and grill your turkey! For those of you who live in warmer climates, this might not seem totally outrageous, but anyone who’s braved snow drifts before mashed potatoes, knows grilling beyond Labor Day isn’t commonplace. But hear me out…

Grilled Whole Turkey with Simple Gravy

Why Should You Grill Your Turkey?

  • The fire imparts a smoky flavor and creates a brilliant lacquer – experiment with adding wood chips to the fire, too.

  • Grilling frees up your oven! Imagine how many more pies you can make now.

  • Cooking a turkey on the grill gives you an easy escape outside. Bundle up and enjoy the fresh air and some quiet time.

  • It’s a novel technique, which gives you built-in small talk banter.

  • Frankly, grilling is not that much trickier than roasting in a conventional oven, but you’ll score big points with your guests.

A Few Tips for Conquering the Thanksgiving Grill

  • It’s helpful (although not essential) to use a large roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack under the turkey. This makes handling the bird easier and safer — plus you still get those important drippings for making gravy.

  • If you don’t have a roasting pan, you'll want to put a drip pan under the grill grates to minimize flare-ups.

  • Grilling over indirect heat (i.e. away from the flame) will best replicate how the turkey cooks in a traditional oven.

  • A gas grill keeps this pretty hands off, but if you’re using a charcoal, set a timer to remind yourself to replenish the coals every hour or so. (Though, don’t forget to make sure that your propane tank is full before starting the gas grill as well.)

  • The common turkey rules still apply — everything from making sure the turkey is completely thawed, to tying the legs together, to using an instant-read thermometer and letting the turkey rest before carving

  • Be aware of the outside temperature (and any blustery winds) and adjust the heat of the grill accordingly to maintain an even temperature while cooking. This is also why checking the internal temperature of the turkey is crucial as the grilling time may vary thanks to opening and closing the grill for basting, etc.

We have more turkey tips, Thanksgiving recipes and holiday happiness in our online holiday guide.

Have you ever grilled a turkey? Do you have any expert tips to share? 

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