For many families, Thanksgiving comes with a yearly debate: roast the turkey in an oven or cook it outside on the grill. But why limit yourself to just one? Embrace a fusion of tradition and novelty by grilling your turkey this holiday season. Not only does this method deliver an irresistible combination of crispy skin and juicy meat, but it’s also more straightforward than you’d imagine. Here’s a comprehensive guide to grilling your Thanksgiving turkey like a pro.
Table of Contents
Prepping Your Turkey: Thawing, Cleaning, and Oiling
To ensure a delicious and safe feast, your turkey needs to be adequately thawed before you begin grilling. This can be achieved by placing the bird in the refrigerator for several days. Aim for a full day of thawing in the fridge for every four pounds of turkey. Be sure to place a dish underneath to catch any moisture or liquids released during the thawing process.
Once your turkey is fully thawed, give it a quick rinse and pat it dry. It’s best to keep the legs in their “tucked” position and turn the wings back to secure the neck skin in place throughout grilling.
To enhance the flavor and ensure your turkey endures the cooking process, brush its entire surface with a generous amount of olive oil. Don’t forget to season both the outside and inside of the turkey with salt and pepper.
Stuffing: A Separate Affair
Considering the long, dry cooking process involved in grilling, it’s best to prepare the stuffing separately and bake it in the oven. This will make serving the big meal much easier and keeps your turkey safe and moist.
Ensure Adequate Propane
Running out of propane mid-cooking would be a Thanksgiving nightmare. As a rule of thumb, ensure you have enough propane in the tank for the entire grilling process. A large tank typically lasts around 18 hours, so if you have less than a third left, it would be wise to refill or replace your tank before you start.
Grilling Turkey: The Main Event
With a couple of tips and tricks, grilling your turkey can be straightforward and fuss-free. It’s a good idea to place your turkey on a wire cooking rack set in a heavy gauge foil pan. This allows for the collection of falling turkey juices without flaring up the fire in the grill.
Preheat your grill for about 20 minutes over medium heat. It’s crucial to ensure that the heat source is indirect. You can achieve this by having all burners on while preheating, but once the turkey is placed inside the grill and the cover is closed, turn off the burners (or move the charcoal over) directly under the bird.
Grill your turkey for approximately 10 to 12 minutes per pound, and make use of a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature. Your turkey is fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in the thigh and 170 degrees in the breast.
Let Your Turkey Rest
Give your turkey a break after grilling. Letting it rest for about 20 minutes will allow the juices to settle, ensuring that your bird is moist and flavorful. After this, it’s time to carve the turkey and serve up a feast.
Conclusion: Unleash the Grill Master this Thanksgiving
Ready to impress your guests this Thanksgiving? Grilling your turkey is a delectable and straightforward way to do it. If you’ve always stuck to the traditional roasting method, consider this the year to embrace the grill. It’s a simple process that can yield a juicy and flavorful bird, making your Thanksgiving dinner an unforgettable experience.