This delicious Grilled Turkey recipe will not only become a Thanksgiving favorite, but you’ll cook it off-season as well. I used the Big Green Egg, but any grill will do great!
We don’t cook turkey enough, but we’re going to change that right now. Grilled turkey is so easy to make since it is virtually hands-off after you spend 15 minutes preparing it. It quietly grills into perfection while you are off working on your honey-do list. Just make sure your better half is convinced that the grill (and your beer 🍺) needs a lot of monitoring!
We decided to do an off season grilled turkey as we wanted to make a larger piece of meat that we could turn into several additional meals throughout the next week. We could see that our calendar was backed up and this was an easy way to have the main meat course grilled ahead of time and now we could either make full recipes or simply add vegetables and salads. I found the turkey on sale right after thanksgiving, and waited until I had some time to put it on the grill.
This bird would be fantastic if you are having out of town guests coming, where you need to feed a crowd or need meat to make sandwiches to take guests out on the trail to hike.
How to Grill Turkey
Set the grill to 325 degrees on indirect heat and bring it up to full temperature. I used the plate setter on the Big Green Egg.
Step One: Combine the olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme into a container and stir.
Note: I used dried herbs as they seem to do better during long grills. Fresh herbs tend to turn black. I think they still taste great, but it isn’t as aesthetically pleasing.
Step Two: Clean the turkey and remove the neck and package of the organs. Keep them for the gravy, though. Spray the roast and rib rack so the turkey doesn’t stick. Yes, it will stick as I tested that before, unintentionally! Rub the turkey with the olive oil mixture and place in the turkey rib rack.
Step Three: Place turkey rib rack onto a disposable pan and add the turkey. I tied the legs using butcher’s twine to keep it neat and tidy. Add some wine, water or chicken broth to the drop pan. Some folks use the drippings for gravy, but I haven’t had a lot of luck with that. At best, it stops the droppings from hitting the pan and smoking. The smoke from drippings tastes acrid, and the liquid will help eliminate it.
Step Four: Place the turkey on the grill and grill for 12-15 minutes for each pound. Ours is 13 pounds, so we will start looking at it after two hours. Rotate the bird if you notice one part of the skin is getting darker than other areas. It is time to take the turkey off the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Other than that, it is really a great hands off recipe.
Can I Freeze Grilled Turkey
Absolutely! It is usually just the two of us, and it would take a long time to eat the whole turkey. Definitely freeze the leftovers. For this one, I recommend cutting it up and placing the pieces in freezer safe ziplock bags. I also like to double wrap mine in Press n Seal to give it a little bit more security. It might be overkill for a lot of people, but I spend a lot of money and time on the food so I try to protect it as much as I can. I hate it when my food gets freezer burn!
Meal Prep Grilled Turkey
My wife loves to meal prep so this is always an option for her.
- Clean out the turkey and pat it dry. Cover it and set in the refrigerator overnight.
- Prep the olive oil and herbs into a container or jar. Simply shake and spread in the morning before placing it on the grill.
- Prep the roast and rib rack and drip tray to have on hand so you aren’t scrambling to find them in the morning.
Make sure to check out these awesome grilled recipes:
Amazing Grilled Turkey Legs We made these incredible Turkey Legs when we were having guests over. We made them using four different seasonings, so everyone could choose their own favorite. Next time, I would do the same and offer sauces as well. It was a really fun way to have friends over for a BBQ!
Beer Can Chicken We make this several times a year as it is one of our favorite “go to” recipes that is super easy and fool-proof! It always produces incredible results. You could take the rub from this chicken and use it on a whole turkey as well. It is versatile and packed with flavor.
**Even though it says to grill on Big Green Egg, this can be grilled on a gas grill with success!**
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp herbs we used rosemary, thyme and sage
- salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the Herb and Olive Oil Mixture
Mix the dried herbs and the olive oil in a small glass bowl. In the photo above, you can see that I used a little canning jar. I like to do that so I can shake the olive oil/herb mixture and pour it out. I can also save the remaining in the same jar.
Prepare the Grill
Set up the grill to 325 degrees using indirect heat.
Grill the Whole Turkey
Use butcher's twine to tie the legs together
Place a disposable aluminum tray on the grill grate. Fill it with a cup or two of water. As the juices from the turkey drip, it will fall into the water and will eliminate excessive foul-smelling smoke.
Place the turkey in a rib/roast rack and place it over the disposable pan.
Check the turkey after about two hours. If a hot spot is developing, rotate the bird to get an even cook.
The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let the turkey rest for an hour before slicing and serving.