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Learn how to grill a turkey for Thanksgiving with this easy recipe. Although not very traditional, cooking turkey on the grill is the best way to ensure tender and juicy meat and crispy skin every time. With minimal prep time and extra space in the oven for all your holiday sides, this grilled turkey recipe is one to try!

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
2 hrs
additional:
15 mins
total:
2 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
8
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If you've never made grilled turkey for Thanksgiving, this is your year! Trust us: Once you try grilling, you'll never go back to roasting. 

Why Grill a Turkey? 

The better question is: "Why wouldn't you grill a turkey?" Not only does this method result in wonderfully crispy skin and a smoky flavor that you can't get from roasting alone, it frees up oven space on the big day — so you'll have plenty of room to cook as many side dishes as you want.  

Grilled Turkey Ingredients

These are the ingredients you'll need to make the best grilled turkey of your life: 

· Turkey: This recipe calls for a 12-pound whole turkey. If your bird is larger or smaller, you'll have to adjust the grilling time. 
· Oil: Vegetable oil seals in moisture, while giving the seasonings something to stick to. 
· Seasonings: This grilled turkey is flavored with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. 

How to Grill a Turkey

The Greatest Grilled Turkey trussed and on a grill
Credit: Alport

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you grill a turkey: 

1. Prepare the turkey: Remove and discard the giblets. Turn the wings back to hold neck skin in place, then return the legs to a tucked position
2. Season the turkey: Brush the turkey with oil, then season the inside and outside with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. 
3. Grill the turkey: Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a metal grate inside a large roasting pan. Place the pan over indirect heat on the preheated grill and grill until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F. 

How Long to Grill a Turkey

This recipe should result in a perfectly cooked 12-pound turkey in about two to three hours. You'll need to adjust the roasting time for larger or smaller birds.

Of course, you'll need to take the turkey's internal temperature before serving. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh should read 180 degrees F.

What to Serve With Grilled Turkey

When you make this grilled turkey recipe, you'll have plenty of oven space to make lots of Thanksgiving side dishes. In need of a little delicious inspiration? Explore these mouthwatering collections:

More Turkey FAQs

Here at Allrecipes, we know a thing or two about cooking the perfect Thanksgiving feast — that's why we've made it our mission to answer your most burning turkey questions. Check out some of our best turkey tips, tricks, and guides from over the years: 

Explore our entire collection of Thanksgiving Tips and Tricks

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I will never cook a turkey any other way now," says one Allrecipes community member. "The grilling process made my turkey turn out absolutely delicious. I especially loved the smokey flavor and the caramelization."

"Great," according to BOOTS741. "I did two turkeys, one in the oven and one on the grill. The one on the grill got much better reviews. It cooked quicker than the oven and stayed very moist. I also added some apples and oranges to the cavity."

"Very helpful for large holiday dinners when oven space is crowded," says MAGPIE0_1. "Flavor is great! Keep fluid of some type in the roasting pan to make awesome gravy. The turkey was tender and moist."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams

Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect medium-high heat.

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  • Remove and discard giblets. Rinse turkey and pat dry. Turn wings back to hold neck skin in place. Return legs to a tucked position.

  • Brush turkey with oil. Season inside and out with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Place turkey, breast-side up, on a metal grate inside a large roasting pan.

  • Place the roasting pan over indirect heat on the preheated grill. Grill until the internal thigh temperature is 180 degrees F (85 degrees C), 2 to 3 hours.

  • Remove from the grill and let turkey stand 15 minutes before carving.

Tips

If you want to use the turkey drippings for gravy, place a metal pan under the turkey inside the roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup water to the metal pan, and more as necessary during grilling, to prevent the drippings from scorching. Remove the pan about 30 minutes before the turkey is done cooking.

Editor's Note:

Please note the differences in yield, as well as the addition of a honey-Sriracha glaze when using the magazine version of this recipe. 

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