How to cook a turkey on a grill
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It’s that time of the year again, when turkey takes the center stage on the table. My better half, Randy, is here to share how to cook at turkey on the grill. Grilling turkey is a great way to conserve that precious oven space and this method is quick too, with tasty results. Take it away, Randy!
Here’s an alternative to the traditional whole roasted holiday turkey: grilled turkey cut up into pieces … as in legs, thighs, wings and breasts. If you are okay skipping the whole-bird, Normal Rockwell moment, and you want to try something new (or maybe you’re short on oven space), try this flavorful and fast grilled turkey method. I think you’ll be very glad you did.
If you are indeed dedicated to preparing a whole bird—a golden browned bird on a platter is certainly a beautiful presentation—you can’t do better than this Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey Recipe. Be sure to check that out.
A few notes on how to cook turkey on a grill:
- There are a few good reasons to go ahead and cut the turkey up. Cooking turkey in pieces lets the food cook evenly so you can avoid overcooking or, even worse, undercooking. And it’s quick. Total cook time for this 11-12 pound bird was one hour and ten minutes. Plus, this is a terrific option on the big day if you find yourself short on oven space and/or time.
- Please note, this method is for grilled turkey, not smoked turkey. For this grilling technique the meat will turn out juicy with a mild grilled flavor. Smoked turkey has a much more prominent smoke flavor. The smoked turkey I’ve had in the past is not as moist as this grilled turkey in my opinion.
- A meat thermometer is critical for cooking turkey with any technique you choose. Don’t guess and don’t trust the plastic pop-up indicators. With a meat thermometer you can be sure the food you are serving is safely cooked while not being overdone.
- This recipe requires a grill that won’t flame out of control. Mine is a charcoal grill with a lid.
- Start out by choosing a small 11-13 pound fresh turkey at your local market and ask the butcher to cut it into pieces for you. We have found that smaller birds tend to taste better.
- For a slew of other turkey cooking tips, and the Mayonnaise Turkey Recipe mentioned before, be sure to read all about it: Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey Recipe. And even more tips for How to Roast a Turkey from Valerie’s Kitchen.
- And if you have a big bowl and a turkey, check out this recipe from Sweet Basil for how to cook Turkey in a Bowl.
Check out these grilling essentials and gift ideas for the grill master:
How to Cook a Turkey On a Grill
How to cook a turkey on a grill.
Grilling turkey is a great way to conserve that precious oven space and this method is quick too, with very tasty results.
- 11-13 pound fresh whole turkey, cut up
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1- 2 oranges, sliced
- 1 large onion, thickly sliced
- 8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Preheat your grill to 325-degrees F.
Place turkey pieces skin side up in a large disposable aluminum pan. Rub olive oil all over each piece. Pour orange juice over turkey. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Arrange/tuck orange slices, sliced onion, thyme and rosemary all around and under turkey in pan.
Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil and place on grill. After 45 minutes of cook time remove the pan from the heat. With tongs or oven mitts, carefully peel aluminum foil off the pan. Use tongs to remove turkey pieces from the pan and place the turkey pieces skin side down directly on the grill. Strain and collect the cooking liquid from the pan for basting the turkey. (If you wish to use the basting liquid for stuffing or gravy it will need to be heated in a saucepan to a simmer to 165-degrees F.)
Back to the turkey on the grill- Watch closely and continue cooking, basting and turning pieces a couple of times until internal temperature reaches 165-degrees F. Be sure to stop basting several minutes before meat is removed from the grill to give the basting liquid time to reach a safe temperature.
Remove from heat. Allow to rest, loosely covered for about 15 minutes. After the meat has rested, carve and enjoy.
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I absolutely love this! My Hubby would be so happy if we could make this for Thanksgiving! Gorgeous photos, Amy!
This is such a great idea. My family has been asking that we do something different for Thanksgiving and this would be perfect. Plus, temperatures are usually mild here in Houston so sitting outside, glass of wine in hand and grilling would make me very happy.
Mouthwatering! Thanks for the How-To Amy!
Wow Amy, seriously gorgeous turkey! Love that it’s done on the grill!
My mouth is watering….how many days ’til Thanksgiving? Thanks for the great pictures and instructions.
Gorgeous! Grilling a turkey sounds a little intimidating but you make it look easy!!!
It was pretty doggone easy, Amanda. Really.
Can I brine the turkey after it’s been cut up like this?
Great recipe, sounds easy to follow. I don’t have much experience cooking turkey. We’d like to try this for Christmas. What cooking times would you recommend for a 15-17 lb turkey?
I don’t recommend a specific cooking time. Just be sure to cook until internal temperature reaches 165-degrees F.