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Cooking & Food Talk => Charcoal Grilling & BBQ => Topic started by: moosehead on November 02, 2017, 01:48:42 PM

Title: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: moosehead 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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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: addicted-to-smoke 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.

(http://a1.images.reviewed.com/image/fetch/s--S8imNNCn--/b_white,c_limit,cs_srgb,f_auto,fl_progressive.strip_profile,g_center,q_jpegmini,w_972/https://reviewed-production.s3.amazonaws.com/attachment/c1223f8ad6204583/P1011047-final.jpg)
Title: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: meat_feet 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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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: moosehead 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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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Travis 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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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: meat_feet 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.


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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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I went minion method. I didn't have to add any that I can remember. I actually found it  in my pics. (https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20171102/350d16b5e4a2af5f3c8b5c0bb6d9783f.jpg)
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: vader06 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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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Cellar2ful 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.

(http://pics.weberkettleclub.com/images/2017/10/23/DSC04184.md.jpg)


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

(http://pics.weberkettleclub.com/images/2016/09/06/ChristmasEve2015025.md.jpg)

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

(http://pics.weberkettleclub.com/images/2016/09/06/DSC02110.md.jpg)

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.

Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: rfacko 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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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: addicted-to-smoke 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.
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Ken/Washington 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.

(http://pics.weberkettleclub.com/images/2017/10/23/DSC04184.md.jpg)


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

(http://pics.weberkettleclub.com/images/2016/09/06/ChristmasEve2015025.md.jpg)

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

(http://pics.weberkettleclub.com/images/2016/09/06/DSC02110.md.jpg)

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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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Cellar2ful 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.
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Mike in Roseville 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.
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Grillagin on November 02, 2017, 09:09:45 PM
Good info here!  I was thinking about doing a bird on the rotisserie this year.
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: buttman 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/
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Foster Dahlet on November 03, 2017, 06:06:19 AM
you are not crazy.  you will love doing it on the grill.  but, make sure you brine the turkey overnight.  if you brine it, the turkey will be more forgiving if you overshoot the temp....plus it will taste much better.... all the methods mentioned above will work.....you have lots of options.  practice it at least once before the big day.....it will make the experience much more relaxing on Thanksgiving, because you will know exactly what you are doing.
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: addicted-to-smoke on November 03, 2017, 07:15:17 AM
I need to look around and see what might be lurking in storage for a container. If nothing turns up I may get one of these: http://www.thebriner.com
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Schaefd2 on November 03, 2017, 09:29:58 AM
I am in Ohio and I have always used my cabinet smoker to smoke two medium turkeys. This year, I have two 22's so I am thinking about using the roti on one and spatchcocking the other. For the spatchcock one, I plan to snake my fuel to help cook the bird evenly. In the roti, I will just dump the coals on one side and let it spin.

I always stuff my birds with sliced apples and use apple wood. Every loves it. I even did one "beercan chicken" style except with Dr Pepper. People loved that as well.
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: FTTH on November 03, 2017, 10:30:19 AM
How do you prevent the oven thermometer from gunking up? Is there any trick to keeping it clean? Mine after a few cooks is illegible until I take some bartenders helper to it.


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Title: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Travis on November 03, 2017, 10:47:44 AM
How do you prevent the oven thermometer from gunking up? Is there any trick to keeping it clean? Mine after a few cooks is illegible until I take some bartenders helper to it.


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I scrape mine off with a razor. Just watch ye fingers!


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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: addicted-to-smoke on November 03, 2017, 02:30:31 PM
"Clean your thermometer with this one weird trick!"

At about $6-$10, I consider them disposable after awhile. Also, I've never successfully cleaned one but I might try Travis' razor trick.

Also, analog dial thermometers don't stay accurate forever, and will eventually read too low. Successful preservation will eventually work against you there.

Or you could invest in a digital thermometer set with two probes like the Maverick 732, 733 or the Thermoworks Smoke.
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Schaefd2 on November 03, 2017, 03:22:26 PM
Iíve done the razor trick on thermometers and on wood burning tips. Success in both applications.


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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: moosehead on November 03, 2017, 03:54:36 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to give a go on my weber.
Now I just have to decide on a brine, and a way to keep it cold. Fridge might be a little full.


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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Travis on November 03, 2017, 05:10:01 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to give a go on my weber.
Now I just have to decide on a brine, and a way to keep it cold. Fridge might be a little full.


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Ice and a cooler work well too


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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: 1buckie on November 04, 2017, 07:56:40 AM
How do you prevent the oven thermometer from gunking up? Is there any trick to keeping it clean? Mine after a few cooks is illegible until I take some bartenders helper to it.


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How do you prevent the oven thermometer from gunking up? Is there any trick to keeping it clean? Mine after a few cooks is illegible until I take some bartenders helper to it.


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I scrape mine off with a razor. Just watch ye fingers!


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Iíve done the razor trick on thermometers and on wood burning tips. Success in both applications.


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.....once you get it cleared, oil the glass BEFORE you cook.....wipes right off afterwards in most all cases....

I need to look around and see what might be lurking in storage for a container. If nothing turns up I may get one of these: http://www.thebriner.com


Go to your local grocery & ask the bakery dept. if they have any large size frosting or dough containers that they're going to toss or recycle......food grade plastic, usually with a lid !!!!
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: Foster Dahlet on November 05, 2017, 09:52:10 AM
I need to look around and see what might be lurking in storage for a container. If nothing turns up I may get one of these: http://www.thebriner.com
I got the Briner for my birthday.  It is very helpful....a lot easier than the XL Ziplocs

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Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: MacEggs on November 05, 2017, 10:01:45 AM
I need to look around and see what might be lurking in storage for a container. If nothing turns up I may get one of these: http://www.thebriner.com

Go to your local grocery & ask the bakery dept. if they have any large size frosting or dough containers that they're going to toss or recycle......food grade plastic, usually with a lid !!!!

A good idea Ö. Also, check a wine-making place.  They will have 5 gallon pails that they might give away for free.  Worth checking.


How do you prevent the oven thermometer from gunking up? Is there any trick to keeping it clean? Mine after a few cooks is illegible until I take some bartenders helper to it.

Spray-Nine is an excellent de-greaser.  I have used it for the above problem with no issues.

Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: mufffinman on November 12, 2017, 06:32:44 AM
Do mine with the SNS indirect spatchcocked and most important legs toward the SNS.  I have my probe in the breast and pull it when it gets to 160' the dark meat closer to the heat will be higher like you want it, but the breast will dry out at higher temps,  BUT DO GO LOWER THAN 160!!!!.  Amazing Ribs has a great article.
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: addicted-to-smoke on November 12, 2017, 07:47:19 AM
Why do you pull it at 160 but also say to pull it lower than 160?
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: SMOKE FREAK on November 12, 2017, 09:01:07 AM
I would definitely brine your bird before grilling or smoking...It's extra insurance in case you do overshoot the temp a bit...
Title: Re: Thinking about grilling a turkey this thanksgiving. Am I crazy?
Post by: apt323 on November 13, 2017, 09:11:53 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/
@buttman thanks for posting the link lots of good info .... Thanks again