How to grill turkey
Many manufacturers provide directions for preparing the grill when cooking meats like turkey, and we encourage our customers to familiarize themselves with and follow those recommendations. Below are some basic tips to help ensure you get the best results.
- Prepare fresh or thawed turkey by removing giblets and neck, draining juices and patting dry with clean paper towels.
- Turn wings back to hold neck skin in place and tuck legs. Brush entire turkey with cooking or vegetable oil.
- Place turkey, breast up, on cooking grate over drip pan. Cover grill, leaving vents open.
- For charcoal grilling, add 6 to 8 briquettes to each side every 45 to 60 minutes
- Using meat thermometer, cook turkey to internal temperature of at least 165° F in the breast.
- 10 to 18 lb. turkeys will take 2 to 3 hours to grill. When done, remove and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
- For gas grilling, turn temperature down to approximately 350° F.
Charcoal vs. Propane
Certainly it comes down to personal preference, but there are advantages to both. Gas grills are, in general, easier and more convenient than charcoal grilling. Gas grilling also gives you more control over temperature, allows for different “cooking zones,” produces a more natural flavor with less smokiness, and offers better searing. Searing creates complex savory flavors.
Charcoal grill cooking tips
With the grill cool, coat the grill grates with a high-heat cooking oil, such as canola or peanut oil. Apply using a towel — avoid using aerosol sprays when the coals are burning, as they can produce flames and will actually evaporate quickly. Tongs are best for turning and flipping your meats except when cooking turkey burgers — use a metal spatula.
Speed up the process
Spatchcocking is a cooking technique that speeds up the cooking process by as much as 90 minutes. Spatchcocking also helps achieve moist breast meat since it reaches 165° around the same time as the legs and thighs reach 190° — the temperature they need to be cooked at to be tender. Spatchcocking is ideal for whole turkeys and bone-in breasts.
Starting/preheating a gas grill
Light the grill according to instructions and allow it to preheat to 550ºF (approximately 10 minutes). We encourage the purchase of a grill thermometer that can be placed directly on the grill grates, as this will read the proper temperature of the grill.
Gas grill cooking tips
With the grill cool, coat the grill grates with a high-heat cooking oil, such as canola or peanut oil. Apply using a towel — avoid using aerosol sprays when the grill is running, as they can produce flames and will actually evaporate quickly. Tongs are best for turning and flipping your meats except when cooking turkey burgers — use a metal spatula.
Direct heat vs. indirect heat: When to use each
Direct heat is cooking directly over the heat source. Turkey tenderloins and turkey burgers would be best suited for this method. Indirect heat is cooking adjacent to the heat source. Many of the bone-in products would be best to cook this way as they take a bit longer and you will avoid over-charring and burning of the turkey.
Indirect Heat-Cooking on a Gas Grill
Indirect heat can be accomplished by leaving one of your burners off. During the preheating, note the position of the burner that is off. Once the grill is heated, place the turkey over the burner that is turned off.
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