Grilling a turkey for Thanksgiving. It’s the perfect way to celebrate fall, family and friends, especially if you need a breather from your parents, six cousins and the dozen or so children running around your house whose names you’ve forgotten. Not that the turkey really needs or wants your help once you’ve got it on the grill, but it’s a great reason to step outside for a minute or ten. Or maybe you just need a break from the one other person in your house. If that person is your dog, maybe you should get out more. If it’s your spouse, we understand. Holidays are stressful.
Whatever your friendsgiving or family situation, we’ve got your back for grilling a fabulous holiday turkey on your Traeger grill. Don’t have a Traeger? We’ve got you covered for Weber and Big Green Egg too.
It’s late in the year, so we hope you’ve already ordered or purchased your turkey. If not, get to it, or you’ll be stuck fighting over the last one with Brenda and Bob at Lucky’s. Note for next year, heritage turkeys have rich flavors and are the best if you’re concerned about what’s in your meat and how the animals lived their lives. While pricier than your traditional factory farm birds (which are fed a steady diet of soy and corn pellets with a healthy side of regular antibiotics – and you eat what they ate) they are well worth it. A note on basted or self-basting turkeys: they’re called that because they’ve already been injected with salt and flavor solutions, making them unsuitable for customizing with your own brine or rub, so we don’t recommend using those.
WHICH TRAEGER DO YOU HAVE?
Traeger created this handy graphic to help you figure out how many turkeys you can grill at one time. We’re not sure who’s grilling six turkeys at once or how many pounds of potatoes that means they’re boiling, but more power to the six-pack turkey grillers out there.
THAW THAT BIRD EARLY. AND WE MEAN EARLY.
You’ll want to be thinking about your bird, not the day of, but the week of the big day. The best way to thaw your bird is to upgrade it from the freezer to the fridge. It’s the only truly safe way and it will take many hours to thoroughly thaw even the smallest bird. For each four to five pounds of turkey you’ll need 24 hours of thaw time. That’s four to five days for a 15 to 20 pound bird. The best part is all you have to do is remember. Early. Mark your calendar. Seriously.
ADDED GOODNESS ANYONE?
Grilling a turkey is versatile and there are so many ways to add tastiness and juiciness to your bird – smoking if you’ve got lots of time on your hands, brining, injecting, dry rubs. And if you don’t have a lot of time, try spatchcocking with a simple butter and mixed herb rub.
Dive on in and try one of these recipes for your grilled bird this year.
For a southern twist, try Weber’s Barbecued Turkey with White Wine Gravy or a Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey by Traeger. And you can’t go wrong with this Butter-Injected Turkey and Sides by Big Green Egg. (They had us at butter.) If you’re wondering about sides, we’ve got those for the grill too.
BRINING IS WORTH IT
Brined turkeys are incredible: moist, tender, juicy, but they do take extra time and planning. Start these recipes a day before you’re planning to grill:
- Simple Brined Turkey by Traeger
- Beer-Brined Turkey by Weber
- Bourbon-Brined Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey by Big Green Egg
If you’re feeling very ambitious this year, try Traeger’s Brined and smoked turkey. Or, if you just want a simple, quick turkey recipe, this Herb Roasted Turkey from Traeger will do the trick.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
- 1 (12-14 lb) turkey, fresh or thawed
FOR THE HERBED BUTTER
- 8 Tablespoon (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 Tablespoon chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, sage, rosemary and/or marjoram
- 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher salt
FOR THE RUB
- 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- To Taste Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub
FOR THE BAKING PAN
- 2 Cups chicken or turkey broth
- Set the grill temperature to 325˚F and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes.
- Make the herb butter: In a small bowl, mix together the butter, herbs, salt, and pepper with a wooden spoon until fluffy. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The herb butter can be made up to 5 days ahead; bring to room temperature before using.
- Remove any giblets from the turkey cavity and save for making gravy, if desired. Wash the turkey, inside and out, under cold running water. Dry with paper towels.
- Place the turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Tuck the wings behind the back, and tie the legs together with butcher’s twine.
- Using your fingers or the handle of a wooden spoon, gently push some of the herbed butter underneath the turkey skin onto the breast halves, being careful not to tear the skin. Massage the skin to evenly distribute the herbed butter. Rub the outside of the turkey with the melted butter and sprinkle with the Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub. Pour the chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Insert the probe into the thickest part of the turkey thigh, avoiding the bone. Put the roasting pan with the turkey directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and roast the turkey until internal temperature reaches 165˚F and the skin is brown and crispy, about 3 hours. Continue roasting if needed to reach the indicated temperature, checking every 30 minutes.
- When the turkey is done, carefully transfer it to a cutting board and let rest for 20-30 minutes (do not tent with foil; the skin will lose its crispiness). Use the drippings from the bottom of the roasting pan to make gravy, if desired. Carve the turkey and serve. Enjoy!
From our family here at Hassett Hardware to yours, we wish you a wonderful, tasty Thanksgiving holiday!