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Author Topic: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?  (Read 1059 times)

moosehead

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Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« on: November 02, 2017, 01:48:42 PM »
I'm thinking about doing a small turkey on the grill this Thanksgiving. First time I'm doing this. Not sure if this is a good idea or not.

Background, I'm in Michigan no idea what the weather may be like on Thanksgiving.

Will be doing a medium turkey in the house traditional style. But wanted to try one on the grill.

How much is the weather going to affect my ability to cook the turkey. Thinking about doing a small 8 to 10 lb turkey either brining or a rub on it.

Usually do an 18 to 20 pound turkey in the oven which takes up to 6 hours sometimes. Hoping that by doing smaller turkeys one on the grill 1 in the oven that it will free up more time and space for the other side's.

I'm nervous about this because it could be mild 50 degree weather or 30 degrees and snowing. I've grilled steaks on the grill when it was in the 40s before but nothing like the time involved for the turkey.

Any help or hints would be greatly appreciated.

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addicted-to-smoke

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2017, 02:08:25 PM »
Just remember that your Weber is an oven, not incredibly different than the one in the kitchen. Main difference is that you control where the heat comes from, and may have to ensure it's not too direct. Oh, and it's a lot easier to add smoke flavor in the Weber, if interested. Search this site, and the web, for example cooks!

For colder temps have charcoal on hand, possibly adding it pre-lit if necessary. Otherwise, add 6-8 unlit briquets about every 20-30 minutes if you think it's too cold outside for too long. Don't add a lot of unlit or the nasty smoke as it starts up will hurt the food and/or snuff your existing coals.

I'd fix em both up the same way, so that the only variable is the oven. Next year, you can change that if people prefer different seasonings.

Set a cheap oven thermometer on the grate, away from heat.


meat_feet

  • Happy Cooker
  • Posts: 8
Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2017, 02:23:48 PM »
I did a half spatchcocked 14 pounder last year. It took maybe two hours.  I am definitely doing it again this year. I used the grillacue without any water and dry brined it for two days.


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moosehead

  • Smokey Joe
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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2017, 03:12:33 PM »
I did a half spatchcocked 14 pounder last year. It took maybe two hours.  I am definitely doing it again this year. I used the grillacue without any water and dry brined it for two days.


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I like the idea of doing spatchcocked, might try that.
I'm planning I direct in the center with 2 baskets on the sides.

Wouldn't adding coals every 20-30 mins fluctuate the temp too much?

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Travis

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2017, 03:13:13 PM »
Not crazy at all. I mean, you are on a site where guys prefer grilling over other methods.
I would consider practicing before the big day. If you have a roti, definitely go with that. Next level there. If you donít, I would seriously consider spatchcocking the bird so it cooks evenly. Getting your grill temp locked in and maintaining it is the key.


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meat_feet

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2017, 03:26:54 PM »
I did a half spatchcocked 14 pounder last year. It took maybe two hours.  I am definitely doing it again this year. I used the grillacue without any water and dry brined it for two days.


Sent from my iPad using Weber Kettle Club
I like the idea of doing spatchcocked, might try that.
I'm planning I direct in the center with 2 baskets on the sides.

Wouldn't adding coals every 20-30 mins fluctuate the temp too much?

Sent from my SM-G930V using Weber Kettle Club mobile app
I went minion method. I didn't have to add any that I can remember. I actually found it  in my pics.

vader06

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2017, 03:38:33 PM »
I live in Michigan and I grill or smoke every year.  I have done during blizzard condition s to when it is a nice 50 degree day which I prefer.  It is no different than cooking a turkey in the oven.  I have done the minion method and snake method grilling a 20lb bird with no problems. 


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Cellar2ful

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2017, 03:47:15 PM »
I cook a turkey on the Weber every Thanksgiving and several more during the rest of the year.  I use to cook them in a roasting pan on the cooking grate indirect.  The last few years I have spun them on the Weber using a rotisserie (thanks to urging and prodding by @Travis ).  The weather in California around Thanksgiving is usually in the 50's. I start out 25 lit briquettes in each charcoal basket.  I add 9 unlit briquettes per side every hour.  A 14lb bird will usually take about 2 hours on a Weber.  Figure about 11 minutes per pound in computing cook time.   Make sure your bird is totally thawed and remove it from the refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking. 

Also, arrange your charcoal baskets more to one end.




When you place your turkey on the grill, make sure the legs and thighs are closer to the charcoal baskets.  This allows the breast to be slightly further from the heat source and helps keep it from overcooking and drying out.  If you want some smoke flavor, add some apple wood chips or small chunks at the very beginning.  Using to much wood can turn the skin very dark. I like the skin to look like this



as opposed to this. I went overboard on the apple wood chunks on this one



As addicted-to-smoke suggested, do a trial run prior to Thanksgiving. Work out the bugs before the big day, plus you will have a wonderful dinner and turkey for sandwiches.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 03:54:14 PM by Cellar2ful »
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rfacko

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2017, 03:54:57 PM »
I grilled a 15 pounder a few years ago, with briquettes and a few pieces of wood. Two charcoal baskets pushed toward one side, spatchcocked, as described by others. Every year since then I've had requests for another grilled bird. It is great because not only is the bird much tastier, but it frees up the oven for sides and other such things.

All of this in unpredictable Chicago weather. Go for it!

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addicted-to-smoke

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2017, 04:24:12 PM »
It wasn't me who suggested doing a trial run but that's not a bad idea if you don't mind doing so, and/or freezing everything you cook if you don't want to land up on turkey dinners this month.

Again, my mention of adding a FEW coals throughout supposes the cook will take a few hours, during which temps will fall a little bit, AND mainly if it's super cold outside, which was a concern originally mentioned.

Here's the thing to remember. If you need some extra heat "now," it takes a good 15-20 minutes for unlit coals to catch and contribute. So unless you're doing a higher-heat snake or fuse method, which automatically keeps a set amount of coals going around the circumference of the kettle, you'll need to occasionally toss a few into the machine to keep it going over several hours.


Ken/Washington

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 50
Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2017, 05:22:53 PM »
I cook a turkey on the Weber every Thanksgiving and several more during the rest of the year.  I use to cook them in a roasting pan on the cooking grate indirect.  The last few years I have spun them on the Weber using a rotisserie (thanks to urging and prodding by @Travis ).  The weather in California around Thanksgiving is usually in the 50's. I start out 25 lit briquettes in each charcoal basket.  I add 9 unlit briquettes per side every hour.  A 14lb bird will usually take about 2 hours on a Weber.  Figure about 11 minutes per pound in computing cook time.   Make sure your bird is totally thawed and remove it from the refrigerator 2 hours prior to cooking. 

Also, arrange your charcoal baskets more to one end.




When you place your turkey on the grill, make sure the legs and thighs are closer to the charcoal baskets.  This allows the breast to be slightly further from the heat source and helps keep it from overcooking and drying out.  If you want some smoke flavor, add some apple wood chips or small chunks at the very beginning.  Using to much wood can turn the skin very dark. I like the skin to look like this



as opposed to this. I went overboard on the apple wood chunks on this one



As addicted-to-smoke suggested, do a trial run prior to Thanksgiving. Work out the bugs before the big day, plus you will have a wonderful dinner and turkey for sandwiches.
This is how I roll also... I spray my bird with cooking oil for extra crispy skin!😉


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Cellar2ful

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2017, 07:21:35 PM »

My bad addicted to smoke.  It was Travis (the guy who got me spinning) that suggested the trial run.
"Chasing Classic Kettles"

Mike in Roseville

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2017, 08:42:41 PM »
It will be fine. At the end of the day, turkeys are cheap this time of year. If you over cook it, make stock and soup with it. Or you can pick the meat to make tacos.

I will say this...go very light on the smoke wood. Only use a mild wood like apple, cherry, etc. (no hickory or mesquite). Have fun with it.
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Grillagin

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Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2017, 09:09:45 PM »
Good info here!  I was thinking about doing a bird on the rotisserie this year.

buttman

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  • Posts: 106
Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2017, 04:40:29 AM »
I did a turkey on the rotisserie last year and it turned out great. I used a Cajun dry brined recipe from Mike Vrobel's website. There's a lot of good rotisserie recipes there.

https://www.dadcooksdinner.com/rotisserie-index/