Follow these quick and easy tips how to cook a whole turkey on a gas grill to make this season’s best Grill Roasted Turkey ever.
How to Cook a Whole Turkey on a Gas Grill
Make this Grill Roasted Turkey Recipe the hit of your next Thanksgiving or party with these helpful tips how to cook a whole turkey on a gas grill.
If you want an amazingly moist and smoke laced turkey, than this recipe for grilled turkey is just for you. It requires minimal preparation and ingredients and cooks evenly for a perfect cooked bird for Thanksgiving or any time of the year.
Our family has a tradition on the weekend before Thanksgiving, we have our own immediate family Thanksgiving dinner to pause and give thanks for all the blessings we have received.
Each year is marked by a number of milestones that have shaped us as a family. Change can be good for us, if we face it with positivity.
So, that is why we decided to grill our turkey rather than roast it in the oven. Now, I know it isn’t the traditional way, but sometimes it’s nice to try something new.
DID YOU KNOW? You can use the tips provided below for oven roasting your whole turkey in the oven. The oven time and temperature is the same, too!
Tips to Roast a Whole Turkey on a Gas Grill
It really is easy to roast a turkey on the grill, if you know how. Here are some quick tips to make it a success:
Prepare and preheat your grill. This is essential in order to get the optimum temperature ready for grill roasting your whole turkey. Most grill manufacturers recommend preheating the grill to 500 degrees F. In addition, I still like to clean the grill grates, even though no meat will be touching them. This is because I don’t want any unnecessary flare ups or smells to affect the perfect roasting of my turkey.
Grill only a thawed bird. Doing so is not only the healthiest and best way to grill turkey, but you will have less success with a frozen one.
No need for a drip pan. If you roast your turkey like I have, use two heavy duty disposable aluminum pans (one inside the other) made for the grill. Make sure it’s high-sided. Doubling the pans work well in the grill, plus it keeps it safe when transporting your grilled turkey back into the house.
Grill your turkey breast down. This is an unconventional way to roast a turkey, I get it, but I have used this method for over 30 years to great success. This has always given me the most moist turkey legs and breast meat. Give it a try!
Center your turkey in the grill. Be sure to place the turkey in the center of the grill and use indirect heat.
Keep the temperature low. The temperature of the grill should hover somewhere around 350 degrees F. Any higher and your turkey could become too dry.
Limit basting. If you cook your turkey breast down, you won’t have to worry about basting, although if you feel better doing so, (even I succumb to basting now and again), do it no more than once every 30-45 minutes. You want to keep the grill box at constant temperature for optimum cooking. And, if you do baste, try using sprigs of rosemary as your basting brush. This imparts a delicious herb flavor to the meat.
Give it smoke. For a pleasing smoky flavor, use your favorite wood chip flavor and a smoke box and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. I like to leave the smoke box in the grill until everything has cooled. It’s safer that way and I don’t have to worry about Fido or one of the kids (or adults) getting burned.
Allow enough time to cook your turkey. An unstuffed bird will take approximately 15 minutes per pound, or 3 to 3 1/2 hours for a 10-15 pound turkey. Note: If it is very cold or very hot outside, this will affect the total cooking time of your bird.
Know when to take the bird out of the grill. Stop cooking the turkey when the internal temperature reaches 165-180 degrees F. We like the skin crispy, so we cook it a bit longer, but you don’t have to. RELATED: Solving the Heated Debate Over Turkey Temperatures
Let your turkey rest. Give your grilled turkey time to rest at least 15 to 30 minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to flow back into the meat.
Refrigerate leftovers. Never leave raw or cooked turkey unrefrigerated. Any leftovers, place immediately in the refrigerator to avoid spoilage. I like to cover mine with aluminum foil or place the meat in a sealed container. Cooked turkey meat can also be frozen to be used at a later date.
What to Serve with Grilled Turkey
Here are some great side dishes to serve alongside your grilled turkey:
- Sour Cream Cucumber Salad
- Easy Apple Stuffing
- Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing
- Flemings Creamed Corn
- Succotash Salad
- Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Need more ideas? Check out this seasonal recipe round up: 20 Simple Thanksgiving Side Dishes
What to Make with Leftover Turkey
If, and I mean “if” there is any grilled turkey left, here are my favorite recipes that use leftover turkey:
And, don’t forget that you can easily freeze any leftover turkey for quick and easy meals later on. Enjoy!
Grill Roasted Whole Turkey Recipe
- 12 lb whole turkey
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- rosemary sprigs
- Preheat your grill to 500 degrees F and clean grates. Turn down burners on center grates to Low for indirect grilling. The outside burners should be set to Medium-Medium High heat to keep the temperature in the grill box at 350 degrees F.
- Remove the turkey from its packaging, making sure that you have also removed the neck and giblet packet usually found inside the turkey cavity.
- Place your turkey breast down in double-layered large aluminum roasting pan that’s made for grilling. Note: This means use two pans, one inside the other, for extra support because of the weight of the bird.
- Add 1 cup water to the pan to keep the bird from burning.
- Place turkey in grill and allow to roast for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Check the turkey periodically and baste with butter using rosemary sprigs.
- If you need to, add a little more water to keep the drippings from scorching to the bottom of the pan.
- At the end of the cooking time, check the internal temperature using a digital meat thermometer. You are looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- If the turkey has not reached this optimum temperature, keep grilling until it does and remove.
- Allow the turkey to rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
- Slice. Serve. Enjoy!