Grilling a turkey is a fantastic way to add a smoky flavor and a crispy skin to your Thanksgiving feast. If you’re wondering how long to cook a turkey on the grill, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step, ensuring your turkey turns out perfectly juicy and delicious.
Preparing the Turkey
Before you start grilling, it’s important to properly prepare your turkey. Begin by removing the giblets and rinsing the bird thoroughly. Pat it dry with paper towels, and then season it with your favorite rub or marinade. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
Choosing the Right Grill
When it comes to grilling a turkey, you have two main options: charcoal or gas grill. Both can yield excellent results, but charcoal grills tend to provide a more smoky flavor. Whichever type of grill you choose, make sure it has a lid and a built-in thermometer to monitor the cooking temperature.
Setting Up the Grill
Before you start grilling, you need to set up your grill for indirect heat. For a gas grill, preheat one side of the grill to medium-high heat and leave the other side off. If using a charcoal grill, arrange the charcoal briquettes on one side of the grill and leave the other side empty. This setup allows for indirect cooking, preventing the turkey from burning.
Grilling the Turkey
Now that your grill is ready, it’s time to start cooking. Place the turkey on the side of the grill without direct heat, positioning it breast-side up. Close the lid to trap the heat and smoke inside. Maintain a consistent temperature of around 325°F (163°C) throughout the cooking process.
Calculating Cooking Time
The cooking time for a grilled turkey depends on its weight. As a general rule, you should allow 15-20 minutes of cooking time per pound of turkey. For example, if you have a 12-pound turkey, it will take approximately 3-4 hours to cook. However, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
Basting the Turkey
To keep the turkey moist and flavorful, basting is crucial. Every 30 minutes, open the grill and quickly brush the turkey with a mixture of melted butter, herbs, and spices. This basting process creates a beautiful golden-brown skin and adds extra flavor to the meat.
Resting and Carving
Once the turkey reaches the desired internal temperature, carefully remove it from the grill and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent the bird with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and succulent turkey. After resting, carve the turkey and serve it with your favorite side dishes.
Grilling a turkey can be a fun and delicious alternative to traditional oven-roasting. By following this guide, you now know how long to cook a turkey on the grill and how to achieve mouthwatering results. So fire up your grill, gather your loved ones, and enjoy a flavorful and juicy turkey that will be the highlight of your holiday feast!