The Best Grilled Turkey Recipe – Thanksgiving on the Grill

In our home, Thanksgiving Day used to be a flurry of activity centered around the kitchen, trying to get everything from the turkey to the yams cooked and ready for the early afternoon meal. Even if we had a triple oven setup, it probably would still be a madhouse. It's time to move some of that preparation outside to your grill; it not only tastes better, but it will make the workflow less stressful. The Best Grilled Turkey Recipe will get your turkey outside, and it will turn out more golden, smokier, and moister than any indoor preparation – this is Thanksgiving on the Grill.

The preparation is actually pretty similar to using a conventional oven, but as a fellow grilling enthusiast, you know the extra flavor and mesquite goodness that comes from roasting over a fire. The turkey cavity gets filled with onion, lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs, and it is placed in a roasting pan with chicken stock and more onion and lemon. Rubbed with butter and seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs, the turkey is roasted for 2.5 to 3 hours at about 425 degrees. Some tips are to raise the bird to room temperature before grilling to help with uniform cooking and make sure you have plenty of fuel. Your spouse will be so blessed with the new-found oven time for side dishes, you will be the VIP of the morning. So get outside this Thanksgiving with your grill for great tasting food and more rewarding experiences.

Serves 8-10

The Best Grilled Turkey Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 (15 to 18 pound) whole turkey
  • 2 onions, halved
  • 2 to 3 lemons, sliced
  • 1 bulb of garlic, top sliced off
  • 1 large bunch of fresh herbs, including sage, thyme, rosemary
  • 8 to 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (enough to cover the entire bird)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • dried herbs, like sage, thyme, and rosemary
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus more if needed during cook time.

The Best Grilled Turkey Recipe Directions

  1. The night before grilling your turkey, remove any giblets and the neck and pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Place the turkey in a large baking dish. At this point, I stick it in the fridge overnight, uncovered – away from anything that it could touch. I’ve been doing this for a few years, and it makes for amazing crispy turkey skin!
  2. Remove the turkey from the fridge for one hour or so before grilling. Before grilling, make sure your propane tank is full and that you have a backup!
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, about 450 degrees F. I preheat all burners. Prepare a stack of disposable foil roasting pans (about 2 or 3 pans) stacked together.
  4. Place the turkey in a roasting pan, breast-side up. Fill the cavity with 1 halved onion, 1 lemon, the garlic bulb, and a bunch of fresh herbs. Tie the legs loosely together with kitchen twine. Tuck the wings under the turkey.
  5. Rub the turkey all over with the softened butter. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. I also like to add a sprinkling of dried herbs, like thyme, sage, and rosemary.
  6. Pour 1 to 2 cups chicken stock in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the other lemon wedges and onions.
  7. Place the roasting pan on the grill and turn the center burner to medium-low. Close the grill. Ideally, you want the temperature to be about 425 to 450 degrees F during cook time, so adjust accordingly with your grill.
  8. Grill the turkey for 2.5 to 3 hours, checking the bird every 30 minutes or so. You want to be sure you don't run out of propane and that the grill is holding its temperature. You can baste it with the juices in the bottom of the pan, but only keep the grill open for a minute or so at a time.
  9. Halfway through cook time, rotate the roasting pan and add more stock to the bottom of the pan, if needed.
  10. After 2.5 hours, check the turkey - you want to cook it until the temperature taken in the thigh reaches 180 degrees F.
  11. Once the turkey is finished, let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes before slicing.

Taken from