Free Up an Oven, Do Your Turkey on the Grill!

Turkey on the GRILL. A Gr8 way to roast your turkey, your oven space is free for other dishes and you don't get the mess in your oven.Turkey on the GRILL?!?!? Yes, it is a Gr8 way to roast your turkey. Your oven space is free for other dishes and you don’t get the mess in your oven that roasting a big bird often causes.

Turkey on the GRILL. A Gr8 way to roast your turkey, your oven space is free for other dishes and you don't get the mess in your oven.When we were first married our home was a small condo with one oven and we were having our family over for Thanksgiving dinner…20 people, one oven, what to do? My friend, Terri, told me that she had heard of people cooking turkeys in their gas grills, so of course, this seemed to be the perfect solution!

Turkey on the GRILL. A Gr8 way to roast your turkey, your oven space is free for other dishes and you don't get the mess in your oven.

We have done our turkeys on the grill ever since. They are always juicy, flavorful, and beautifully browned; and they seem to cook a little faster than in the oven.Turkey on the GRILL. A Gr8 way to roast your turkey, your oven space is free for other dishes and you don't get the mess in your oven.

A few notes about this method:

  • I have always used a gas grill with a lid and at least 2 burners.
  • The cooking time will vary depending on the weather. Because a gas grill lacks insulation, the outside temperature will affect the inside temperature and hence, the cooking time.
  • The pan of water creates a convection like environment to cook the bird.
  • You will have to monitor the turkey and the grill temperature. I had to turn my burner down so the turkey didn’t cook too quickly. If it is cold outside, you may need the grill full blast.
  • Be sure to take the internal temperature in the meaty part of the thigh with an instant-read thermometer. It should be 165°F. Here is the USDA’s Minimum Internal Temperature guidelines.

Turkey on the GRILL. A Gr8 way to roast your turkey, your oven space is free for other dishes and you don't get the mess in your oven.

Also, check out our Sweet and Savory Cranberry Apple Sauce, a perfect make ahead dish!

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Turkey on the Grill

Author Anna

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh or thawed turkey
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 large lemon, cut in half
  • 8 large fresh sage leaves
  • 8 stems fresh thyme
  • kosher or sea salt to your taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to your taste
  • 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat your grill by turning on all the burners and closing the lid.

  2. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the bird.
  3. Season the cavity with the sea salt and pepper.

  4. Stuff the cavity with the onion, lemon, sage and thyme leaves. This will make yummy drippings for the gravy! (My sister adds an orange, too.)
  5. Pat the outside of the bird dry with paper towels and discard.

  6. Spread the olive oil liberally over the skin and season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper.

  7. Fill a saucepan 3/4 full with water.

  8. Open the grill, turn one of the burners OFF.

  9. Place the pan of water over the burner that is still ON.

  10. Place the roasting pan with the turkey over the burner that is OFF and close the lid.

  11. Every 30 minutes, turn the roasting pan to ensure even cooking.

  12. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the roasting pan as necessary to keep the drippings from burning. You want to make sure you get a delicious gravy!

  13. Replace the water in the saucepan as needed to keep the convection environment going.

Cooking Time

  1. Use a grill thermometer and try to keep the grill at 350º - 375ºF. (I used my oven thermometer.)

  2. My turkey was 13 pounds and took 2 1/2 hours to get to the required 165º internal temperature. Remember, we live in California and it was a warm day.

  3. Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey.
  4. When the turkey is done, let rest for 20 minutes before carving. You can move it to the cutting board and tent with foil. The fruit and herbs in the cavity can be removed before carving or can remain, your choice. But they should be discarded, do not serve.

  5. While the turkey is resting, make your gravy using the dripping in the pan.


  6. Happy Holidays!

Recipe Notes

 

A few notes about this method:

  • I have always used a gas grill with a lid and at least 2 burners.
  • The cooking time will vary depending on the weather. Because a gas grill lacks insulation, the outside temperature will affect the inside temperature and hence, the cooking time.
  • The pan of water creates a convection like environment to cook the bird.
  • You will have to monitor the turkey and the grill temperature. I had to turn my burner down so the turkey didn't cook too quickly. If it is cold outside, you may need the grill full blast.

Gr8 Tip:

Be sure to practice safe handling when dealing with your holiday birds. Here is a guide.

Recipe edited 10/15/17, ingredients, "halved" and "quartered."

turkey on the grill a
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Turkey in the Oven

This is the same recipe I use for my Turkey on the Grill only cooked in the oven, in case the weather isn't cooperating for you to use the grill.

Author Anna

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh or thawed turkey
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large lemon
  • 8 large fresh sage leaves
  • 8 stems fresh thyme
  • Kosher or sea salt, to your taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to your taste
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil, I use extra-virgin

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Make sure the rack is low enough that the turkey will fit without touching the top of the oven.

  2. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the bird.

  3. Season the cavity with the sea salt and pepper.

  4. Stuff the cavity with the onion, lemon, sage and thyme leaves. This will make yummy drippings for the gravy! (My sister adds an orange, too.)

  5. Secure the drumsticks with skewers or kitchen twine.

  6. Pat the outside of the bird dry with paper towels and discard.

  7. Spread the olive oil liberally over the skin and season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper.

  8. Place the turkey in the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 350ºF.

  9. Baste with the pan juices every 20 minutes or so. (Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the roasting pan as necessary to keep the drippings from burning. You want to make sure you get a delicious gravy!)

  10. Cook until a thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165ºF. See below for approximate cooking times.

  11. Remove from oven, transfer turkey to platter and tent with foil. Let rest in a warm area of the kitchen for at least 15 minutes.

  12. If any part of the turkey is getting too brown while cooking, protect those parts with pieces of foil.

  13. Use the drippings to make your gravy.

Recipe Notes

Approximate Turkey cooking times:

WeightTime
6 to 8 pounds2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds2 1/2 to 4 hours
12 to 18 pounds3 1/2 to 5 hours
18 to 24 pounds4 1/2 to 6 hours

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Brenda Perlin | 15th Nov 15

    This looks good enough to eat!!!! Yum. Can’t wait.

    • Anna | 15th Nov 15

      I think it is easier than the oven…and for some reason, juicier.

  2. Claudia Kerns | 16th Nov 15

    I think I am going to give this a try. Makes sense and looks delicious!!

    • Anna | 16th Nov 15

      Please let us know how it turns out, Lon!

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