Here are a few tips to successfully grilling a whole turkey:
- Truss your turkey! No need for complicated French trussing. Just tuck the wings under the bird, use a couple toothpicks or a small skewer to close the skin over the opening to the cavity, and tie the legs together. Trussing keeps the wings and legs close to the body and helps to prevent the meat from drying out and to ensure that your turkey will cook evenly. Plus it makes for a better presentation!
- Remove the all of the meat in sections before carving, even if you are not serving it all. Leaving it sit on the bone, will keep it cooking (carryover heat) and it will begin to dry out.
- Using a sharp knife, remove the leg (thigh and drumstick) in one piece. The leg section should be fairly loose if the turkey is cooked through; cut through the skin and push the leg toward the cutting board and you should see the joint that joins the leg to the body. Cut through the joint.
- Starting at the breast bone, cut along the bone and rib cage to remove the breast and wing in one piece;
- Cut through the leg joint and separate the thigh and drumstick, cut the wing away from the breast, then slice the breast across the grain of the meat. Repeat with the other side of the turkey.
- If you are brining your turkey, monitor the browning. Brined turkeys brown faster.
- Grill set up: indirect cooking over medium-low heat (300° to 350°F). Place the pan so it is not directly over any heat. Close the grill cover and cook until the skin is nicely browned and the juices at the thigh run clear.
- Timing: about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours (12 to 15 minutes per pound).
- To test for doneness, the temperature of the thigh, away from the bone, should be 170°F and the breast should be between 155° to 160°F. Remember – carryover cooking will continue to raise the temperature of the turkey another 5° to 10° after it comes off the grill.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!
Main photo credit: Heather Winters