Technique | Turkey on the Grill
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we can’t wait to eat our weight in turkey. Some of you may plan on cooking your bird the old-fashioned way – in the oven. But your Broil King barbecue is so much better at delivering the perfect golden turkey that will be the centrepiece of your meal. This week’s blog will cover a few techniques and some accompanying recipes that will deliver the juiciest turkey on the grill.
Cooking With Gas
Cooking turkey on a gas grill is simple and works much the same way as your oven. You’ll utilize an indirect grilling method to deliver steady convection cooking. This means you won’t light the burners directly below your turkey, as this will provide too much heat too quickly and end up burning the bottom of your bird while the internal meat reaches temp. If placing your turkey in the centre of the grill, you can turn on one or both the outside burners of the grill, set to medium-low. The general rule of thumb is that you will need to account for 15 minutes of cooking time per pound. You will need to monitor the temperature closely, either with an Instant Read Thermometer or Side Table Thermometer. Start checking after a couple of hours, checking different parts. The breast meat should be 170˚F (76˚C), and the dark meat should be 180˚F (82˚C).
You can choose to cook the turkey directly on the cooking grids (just make sure you oil them well to prevent sticking). If using this method, we suggest placing drips trays under the grids to catch drippings so you avoid flare-ups. Fill them with water or flavoured liquids to help maintain moisture inside the grill.
You can also cook turkey inside a standard roasting pan or Cast Iron Multi Roaster. This will add a layer of protection from the heat to prevent charring. The Rib Rack and Roast Support is also an excellent option for smaller birds, as it allows the heat to move freely around all sides of the turkey for even cooking. Finally, if you’re in a time crunch, break down your turkey before you cook it, and roast them in the Grilling Basket. This is far more efficient and yields more meat than trying to carve a cooked turkey.
On the Rotisserie
If your grill has a rotisserie, it’s a great way to ensure a perfectly cooked-through turkey. Rather than relying solely on the convection of heat inside the grill, you’re also moving your meat around so every inch gets equal exposure. And if you have a rear rotisserie burner, it’s perfect for crisping up the skin for that delicious golden hue. You can use a similar method for cooking as if you were grilling directly on the grids. Turn on your outer burners on medium-low, or you can use your rear rotisserie burner exclusively on low. Be mindful that if your skin is darkening too quickly, you may want to switch from the rotisserie to the lower burners. You will also want to utilize a drip pan to catch drippings for less mess and to keep it filled with liquid, so you maintain the moisture levels in the grill.
The trick with cooking your turkey on the rotisserie is to ensure you have your counterweight appropriately balanced so you don’t burn out your motor. The top side (where the breasts are located) is the heaviest, so your counterweight should be positioned opposite the breasts. You may need to tweak this slightly after starting your rotisserie, but that is a good place to start. Watch to see if the motor stalls at any point in the rotation, as this is indicative that the balance is off.
The standard forks are suitable for small turkeys but consider upgrading to the Mega Forks. These are more robust and better suited for holding larger roasts. And be mindful of how large of a turkey you purchase if you intend to use the rotisserie. Anything under 20 lbs (9 kgs) should be fine, including the weight of your stuffing. You may need to plan on a different method if you’re cooking a jumbo bird.
On the Smoker
If you haven’t tried a smoked turkey, you are truly missing out. Of all the methods for grilling a Turkey, on the smoker is definitely our favourite. Since you’re cooking for several hours, it allows plenty of time for the smoke to really penetrate the meat for incredible flavour. Your smoker also maintains moisture better than a gas grill, so there’s less need for drip pans filled with fluids. You’ll still want to baste your turkey, as this will help get that juicy, golden skin.
You’re still cooking with indirect heat, but it’s a little different than with gas. You can use the Diffuser Kit and Pizza Stone on your Keg to diffuse the heat. If you’re using one of the charcoal Smoker Grills, set up your lit coals to one side of the chamber, or use the offset chamber. Our pellet grills are probably the easiest method since the grill already uses indirect heat to cook. It’s exactly like your oven, but with an added smokiness. Simply dial in your temperature and let it preheat. If you’re cooking on a Regal Pellet grill, you also have the option of using the rotisserie motor for an even cook with lots of smoke.
Whatever method you choose, we hope you have fun exploring a new way of cooking a thanksgiving staple. Not only are there new flavours to discover, but it also frees up your oven inside for cooking some of the sides and fixings. And with the extensive range of Broil King accessories and unique barbecue features, there’s no better time to do more with your grill. We hope you have a wonderful holiday spent with those you hold dear!