How To Grill a Turkey

How to grill a turkey
This tasty turkey is from Southernpixel – Alby Headrick on Flickr

Do you want to know how to grill a turkey?  Grilled turkey will give you a moist and flavorful main dish for your Thanksgiving meal. I learned how to grill a turkey as a Boy Scout when we would prepare a full Thanksgiving meal while camping in a beautiful state park. You don’t have to be camping to enjoy a grilled turkey. If you are at home then it leaves the oven open for all the other side dishes that you want to prepare for your perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

What You Need

Turkey: It doesn’t do much good to know how to cook a turkey if you don’t have a turkey to cook. If you have a smaller grill, make sure before hand that your turkey will fit in the grill with the lid closed.

Propane Grill: Charcoal grills also work, but with a propane burning grill it is much easier to regulate temperatures for the long amount of time that it takes to fully cook a turkey. Just remember to fill up your propane tank prior to Thanksgiving. You don’t want to have a half cooked turkey because you ran out of fuel.

Digital thermometerMeat Thermometer: It is important to have a meat thermometer like this one to be able to tell when your turkey is done.

Roast Pan: A disposable pan that you find at the grocery store will do. Make sure it will fit your Turkey.

Aluminum Foil: There is “grilling foil” that you can purchase, but any regular foil will do.

Butter and Seasonings: I use just butter and season salt, but salt and pepper will also work. You can choose seasonings to fit your taste.


Grilled turkey makes for an excellent ThanksgivingPreheat your grill on high for 10-15 minutes.

Lower the burners to medium, and maintain the grill temperature at around 350 degrees. If you have a large grill with multiple burners you turn the center burners off, place the turkey in the center.

Place the fully defrosted turkey in the pan. Rub it with the stick of butter on the outside, then season it to your taste. Cover the turkey with the aluminum foil, tenting it over the bird so that it is not touching  it. Place it on the grill and close the lid.

After about an hour check on the turkey. According to Butterball, you are looking for an in interior temperature of 180 degrees in the thigh and 170 degrees in the breast. Total cooking time should be around 2-3 hours depending on the size of your turkey. When the internal temperature is around 140-150 degrees remove the aluminum foil to allow the turkey to brown.

Optional: You can add smoking chips to the grill to get that extra smokey flavor.

Once the turkey is cooked to the right temperature remove it from the grill, allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Congratulations! You now know how to grill a turkey. I hope your grilled turkey is a tasty centerpiece to your holiday meal.

Have you ever grilled a turkey? How did it turn out? What is your favorite way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey? Let us know in comments.