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5 from 1 vote

Turkey on the Grill

This recipe will give you an extra oven when you are making a turkey.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Turkey on the Grill
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Anna

Special Equipment


  • 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


  • Preheat your grill by turning all the burners on to high and closing the lid.
  • Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the bird.
  • Remove any excess fat from the bird.
  • Season the cavity with the sea salt and pepper.
  • 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.)
  • Secure the drumsticks with skewers or kitchen twine.
  • Pat the outside of the bird dry with paper towels and discard.
  • Spread the olive oil liberally over the skin and season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper.

Cooking the Turkey on the Grill

  • Fill a saucepan 3/4 full with water.
  • Open the grill, turn one of the burners OFF.
  • Place the pan of water over the burner that is still ON.
  • Place the roasting pan with the turkey over the burner that is OFF and close the lid.
  • Every 30 minutes, turn the roasting pan to ensure even cooking.
  • 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!
  • Replace the water in the saucepan as needed to keep the convection environment going.
  • Use a grill thermometer and try to keep the grill at 350º - 375ºF. (I used my oven thermometer.)
  • 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.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey.
  • 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.
  • While the turkey is resting, make your gravy using the dripping in the pan.
  • Happy Holidays!

Cooking the Turkey in the Oven

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF. Make sure the rack is low enough that the turkey will fit without touching the top of the oven.
  • Place the prepared turkey in the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 350ºF.
  • 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!)
  • Cook until a thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165ºF. See below for approximate cooking times.
  • 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.
  • If any part of the turkey is getting too brown while cooking, protect those parts with pieces of foil.
  • Use the drippings to make your gravy.



A few Gr8 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 temperature of the turkey before removing the from the grill.

Approximate Turkey cooking times for the oven:

Weight Time
6 to 8 pounds 2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds 2 1/2 to 4 hours
12 to 18 pounds 3 1/2 to 5 hours
18 to 24 pounds 4 1/2 to 6 hours

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."
Tried this recipe?Mention @Great8Friends or tag #gr8food!