Easy Thanksgiving Turkey on the Grill
By: Jeff Hillyard
Halloween is behind us and that means that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. While I like a traditional oven-baked turkey (especially if it’s my Grandmothers!), there is something about a turkey cooked on the grill or smoker.
For many years I never bothered to try a turkey on the grill, but I recently have tried it and I don’t know why I never bothered to do it earlier! It’s dead simple and it turned out better than I ever could have hoped. My turkey was juicy, a little smokey, but the real star of the show was my Stuffins – more on those later.
I prepped the turkey like I do all my chickens, by spatchcocking it and removing the backbone; ultimately flattening out the bird. This also meant I was able to cook the turkey in about half an afternoon.
Since I was cooking the turkey flat I can’t make stuffing in the traditional sense. However, I still wanted stuffing. So I made a little something that I am calling Stuffins – individual sized portions of stuffing made in a muffin pan.
For the gravy I filled a drip pan with your usual suspects: onion, carrots, bay leaf, etc. and added hot water then placed it underneath the grill grate. Any fat from the turkey dripped into the liquid and added flavor. Finally, I removed it before the turkey was done, reduced, and added it to a roux for a delicious gravy that paired well with the turkey and stuffins.
I cooked my turkey on my Weber Kettle with a little help from my Slow ‘N Sear, but any grill capable of cooking indirect @ 350°F can do the job. I added one small chunk (about half the size of my palm) of hickory wood for smoke flavor, and it was the perfect amount.
Like I said, I only wish I’d done this years ago. Now I’m having a battle with my wife about letting me cook the Christmas Turkey on the grill. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Easy Turkey on the Grill with Stuffins & Gravy
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2.5 hours
- ♣ 10 – 12-pound turkey
- ♣ ½ tsp kosher salt per pound of turkey
- ♣ Pepper to taste
- ♣ 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ♣ Stuffins
- ♣ 1 loaf of French bread
- ♣ 2 eggs, beaten
- ♣ 1 stick butter, melted
- ♣ ¼ onion, chopped
- ♣ 1 tsp savory
- ♣ 1 cup of chicken broth
- ♣ Gravy
- ♣ 2 onions, quartered
- ♣ 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1” lengths
- ♣ 1 stick of celery, cut into 1” lengths
- ♣ 1 bay leaf
- ♣ 8 cups of hot water
- ♣ Backbone and neck of the turkey
To make the turkey:
- 1. Remove the turkey from its package. Remove any giblets from inside the cavity of the bird. Save the neck if it’s there.
- 2. Flip the bird over and using a good pair of kitchen shears, cut the backbone out of the bird. Turn the bird back over and lay it flat on the cutting board and press down on the breastbone until the bird is flat.
- 3. Evenly coat the outside of the bird with your kosher salt. Lay bird on a baking sheet in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
- 4. Prepare your grill to cook indirect @ 325°F.
- 5. Add the ingredients for your gravy into a disposable tinfoil pan and place underneath your cooking grate.
- 6. Remove your turkey from the fridge and coat in oil and fresh cracked pepper; place on the grill over the drip pan for the gravy.
- 7. Cook until internal temp in breast and thigh reads 165°F.
- 8. Remove from grill, carve and serve!
To make the Stuffins
- 1. Lightly toast each slice of your French bread and then cut into 1” cubes.
- 2. In a large bowl combine your bread, beaten eggs, a stick of melted butter, onion, savory, and chicken stock. Mix together well.
- 3. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- 4. Scoop out your stuffin mixture into buttered muffin tray. Pile it up high.
- 5. Bake for 15 minutes.
To make the Gravy
- 1. Approx. 30 minutes before your turkey is done, carefully remove your drip pan from the grill.
- 2. Strain the liquid. Discard of the neck, backbone, onion, etc.
- 3. Place the liquid in a pot on the stove, boil then reduce to a simmer and let the liquid reduce.
- 4. In another pot over low heat, make a roux with 2 tbsp. of butter and 2 tbsp. of flour.
- 5. Add 2 cups of the reduced liquid. Add more liquid if needed. Stir well to combine and add salt if necessary.