How to Grill a Thanksgiving Turkey

How to cook a turkey… THAT is the question. At least, the question on the minds of hundreds of thousands of Americans right now, as we quickly near the holiday season. From first-time Thanksgiving hosts to seasoned chefs simply looking for a new recipe, the search is on for new and delicious turkey techniques.

Most of the recipes you’ll stumble upon first will give you directions for a traditional-style, oven-cooked turkey. Some may even tell you to try and deep-fry your turkey, though we must warn you that such attempts are not always the most successful.

But there is another way, and it comes highly recommended by all of us at Total Home Supply: Why not try your hand at grilling your turkey this year?


Why grill your turkey?

First of all, it saves a ton of space. A 30″ range features an oven somewhere between 4 and 6 cubic feet in size, and a 16 lb. turkey can take up a pretty good portion (if not half) of that. Putting your turkey on the grill as opposed to in the oven will give you twice as much room to cook sides or get a jump start on dessert.

It also doesn’t hurt that your kitchen will feel significantly less heated just by taking the turkey to cook outside. When you opt to grill your turkey, you’ll never sit down to a Thanksgiving meal uncomfortably overheated again!

Did we mention how incredibly easy it is? Here are Total Home Supply’s tips on how to grill a Thanksgiving turkey, for both gas and charcoal grills.


Gas Grill Instructions:

  • Preheat grill on high, 10-15 minutes.
  • Wash and remove the insides of the turkey as you normally would, patting the turkey dry with paper towels before brushing with vegetable oil.
  • Turn grill down to 350° F.
  • Place turkey (breast up) on grate over drip pan.
  • About halfway through cooking, turn turkey over.
  • A 10 – 16 lb. turkey will take approximately 2 – 3 hours to grill, but always take your bird’s temperature to make sure it’s really done. A fully cooked turkey will read 180° F at the thigh, and approximately 170° F at the breast.
  • Let stand 15 minutes before carving.


Charcoal Grill Instructions:

Charcoal grilling is more of an art form than gas grilling is, and getting the hang of using a charcoal grill takes practice. We have previously written about how to prepare and ignite a charcoal grill, and so if you are not entirely familiar with the process that might be the best place to start. If you feel confident in your charcoal grilling, however, keep reading!

  • Remove cooking grate and open all vents.
  • Place drip pan in the center of charcoal grate and place 25 – 30 briquettes along each long side of the drip pan. NOTE: Do not use lighter fluid infused briquettes!
  • Light coals and let burn for approximately 30 minutes, or until coals are coated in a gray ash.
  • Replace cooking grate over burning coals.
  • Prepare turkey as usual – wash, remove the insides, pat dry with paper towel, and brush with vegetable oil.
  • Place turkey (breast up) on cooking grate over drip pan.
  • Cover grill, making sure to leave vents open.
  • Add 6 – 8 new briquettes to each side every 45 – 60 minutes.
  • A 10 – 16 lb. turkey will grill in about 2 – 3 hours. A fully cooked turkey will read 180° F in the thigh and 170° F in the breast.
  • Let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Happy grilling!

Looking for other awesome Turkey Techniques? Check out our friends at!

Kristen Turner

Featured blogger for Total Home Supply.

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