How to Grill Your Turkey on a Gas Grill

September 17, 2012 72 Comments

How to Grill Your Turkey on a Barbecue

Something Different – Grilling Your Turkey

I wanted to share with you a novel way we cooked our turkey one year while we were still living in Park City, Utah. We grilled it on the barbecue.

Now I’m sure many of you are saying to yourselves, “RG, get real. We’ve been grilling our bird for years. Get with the times.”

But this home cook has been doing his bird in the oven for as long as he has been cooking turkey and gotten along very well thank you. So I’m reading this article in Cuisine, one of my favorite cooking magazines, that described the in and outs of grilling a turkey, and I asked my wife if she wanted to give it a try.

She agreed and we fired up the grill. That is, I turned on the gas. In fact, I don’t think I would attempt this without a gas grill because a 12-pound bird takes 2.4 hours to cook. I don’t know how you would keep the coals hot for all that time.

Besides not being dried out and having a wonderful hint of smoke flavor, the biggest advantage of grilling a turkey is it frees up your oven for all those other side dishes so important at every Thanksgiving meal.

You know how it is when you are trying to heat up your Scalloped Oysters and bake your acorn squash, and keep that pumpkin pie warm while at the same time juggling that basted butterball.

With all that extra room you will have in your oven, you can come up with a few more side dishes to amaze your family and friends. No one is leaving your table early this year.

Whether you are grilling or roasting a turkey, the trick is to cook the dark meat to a minimum of 170 degrees F without drying out the breast meat. Easier said than done.

Traditionally when cooking a bird in the oven, I use all sorts of tricks to prevent this from happening including basting, covering the breast with tin foil, or putting a layer of fat on top of the breast (bard).

Tips For Grilling a Turkey

What I learned from the Cuisine article is to use rotation. Start out cooking the turkey on one side, flip to the other side, then flip again so the breast is up and the legs point to the back of the grill, and finish with the breast up and the legs pointing to the front of the grill.

Easy enough but be careful. That gobbler gets hot.

Thawing Tip – Allow 6 hours for every pound of frozen turkey. A 12-pound turkey will take 72 hours, that’s 3 days. Another safety tip is to defrost your turkey or any frozen fowl in your refrigerator.

Trimming Tip – I’ve heard this in some other cookbooks and it makes sense. Cut out the wishbone for easier carving. I do this whenever I roast a chicken too.

Seasoning – This is the fun part. After you rinse the bird in cold water and pat it dry, you will want to season it. I like to slide a couple of fingers under the skin near the breast area and loosen it up until I can fit my whole hand under the skin. I work it around slowly and carefully until I have most of the beast skin loosened and then season it with your favorite family rub recipe. Don’t forget to season the turkey cavity as well. No stuffing please. Make it in your lonely oven.

Trussing (or tying up the bird with butcher’s string) Tip – One reason we truss chickens and turkeys is to make them look better when served and easier to carve at the table. Who wants to bring a turkey to the table that looks like it is trying to fly away?


You will need something to catch the drippings from the cooking turkey so you can use them for making a sauce and to prevent the drippings from staining your driveway. We just purchased a new Weber grill since we moved back East and I was thrilled to see they are now designed to hold a small tin foil pan to catch the grease.

I would still use a shallow roasting pan to catch the drippings. Check your grill to figure out what size you will need before you start or you will end up running to the supermarket that is most likely closed for the holiday. I’ve been there.

You will also need an instant thermometer to check the temperature of the bird since I’m hoping you are not depending on the pop up that comes with some turkeys. If you do decide to depend on the pop up, the bird will be so dry you better be sure to have lots of gravy.

And if your grill does not come with a build in thermometer, you will need to purchase a cheap oven thermometer to keep track of the grill temperature.

Grilling Technique

The way this works is by using indirect heat. That is, you only turn on one side of the grill and place the turkey on the other side.

By doing this, you are effectively slow-roasting the bird. You will be cooking the bird with the lid closed just like you keep your oven door closed when you roast a turkey in the house so it will be important to monitor the heat.

You will control the temperature by opening and closing the grill lid. If the interior temperature seems to be getting a little too hot, open the lid for a few seconds to cool it off.

I remember cooking our turkey on a crisp, cold day, running back and forth from the football game on television to the grill outside all the time thinking this is not going to work out but it did and we were thrilled with the results.

Timing the rotations

As I mentioned above, there is a lot of flipping and flopping and turning that goes on with this technique so be prepared with some oven mitts or gloves or something so you don’t burn your hands. The formula for determining when to rotate your turkey is thus:

Take the weight of the turkey and multiply it times 12 minutes per pound and divide by 3. Therefore a 12-pound turkey would calculate as follows: 12 lbs x 12 min./lb = 144 minutes divided by 3 = 48 minutes per rotation. well not really, but read on.

Start out by preheating your grill to 350° F.

Stage One – On the side of the grill that is not on (not hot), place the turkey on its side so the wings and thighs are touching the grill and the legs are pointing to the back of the grill. Close cover. Allow cooking for 48 minutes but being sure to monitor the grill temperature so it doesn’t get too hot or too cool.

Stage Two – When this is done, flip the bird over so the other wings and thighs are down and touching the grill with the legs now pointing to the front of the grill. Close grill cover and allow the turkey to cook for another 48 minutes while you are either watching the game or preparing one of your many many side dishes. Again, be careful to monitor the temperature.

Stage Three – Flip the bird so it’s on its back with the breast facing up and the legs facing the back of the grill. Close cover. In this position you will cook the bird for half the amount of time or 24 minutes and start your basting. I was so worried about keeping the grill at a constant 350° F and it turned out it just worked itself out perfectly.

Stage Four – Rotate the bird so its legs are facing the front of the grill and cook for approximately 24 more minutes. Baste and close cover. I say approximately because we want to start checking the bird with our instant thermometers and continue grilling until the breast meat reaches 165° F.

Adding Color To The Bird

To give the bird an incredible color, the recipe in Cuisine suggests you coat the bird with a cranberry glaze during Stage 4 but I started basting in Stage 3 and everything turned out fine. They warned me keep a close eye on it as to not darken (burn) the skin with the sugars from the glaze.

I’m not sure if it was the wine or an exciting football game, but the overall appearance was a little darker than I would have liked so be careful.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


Last modified on Sat 9 November 2019 2:31 pm

Comments (72)

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  1. Irene says:

    Greetings~ Yes, one more thing I have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving is finding your article about grilling a turkey. I’m 55 years old and have only attempted preparing a turkey breast a few times…with minimal success. This year, I bought my first gas grill and feeling ready to take on a real turkey, got myself a 15 pounder. Everything’s feeling good…except…I have no idea how to cook it. I surfed the web a bit before I came across your EXCELLENT article. I appreciate all the details and pictures you put in it.

    I’ll be getting the tools you suggested today and look forward to enjoying a wonderfully cooked turkey tomorrow. Thank you soooooo much for your article and all the time and effort of your web site… Irene

    • Colleen says:

      Hello Irene,
      Now – 3 years later, I am 55 – and grilling a Turkey for the first time! Great article, here I go! I’m using a mesquite rub that was absolutely fabulous with chicken this summer. Turning and Trussing were not in my plans, so good thing I found this!

      Happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. Steve says:

    Your article on grilling a turkey was awesome. I used it to cook a 22 pound turkey on a Weber natural gas BBQ. I have to admit I was extremely nervous since it was my first time grilling a turkey. If it wasn’t for your article, I would have been lost. Thanks again! Can’t wait to cook one again.

  3. Val says:

    I have a Weber gas grill – 3 burner style. I was thinking I would turn off the middle flame and leave the outside burners on. What I am confused about is a drip pan. Weber grills have those ‘flavor’ bars over the actual flames. Do I just put the drip pan directly on the flavor bars? And if so, will the drippings stay in liquid form? I can’t imagine having Thanksgiving turkey with no dripping-made gravy! Thank you for your help! Also, do you put any wood chips on the grill?

    • Nancy Pollard says:

      So happy to see the Reluctant Gourmet is alive and well. I am cooking a turkey on my new Weber Genesis this afternoon and have never done so, so I googled it and saw your site. Thanks for the tips, will let you know. Sending lots of love and hugs to you and Meg and family.
      Still in Park City 🙂

    • Glenn Varnon says:

      Just put the drip pan on top of the flavor bar and then put the grill over the drip pan. Set the turkey on top of the grill.

    • Jeff Taylor says:

      I know this is three years later but here’s an answer if anyone is looking. I have a four burner grill. I take a couple of sheets of aluminum foil, dump a couple of handfuls of wood chips in the center, then wrap the foil around it to seal it. Poke a couple of dime sized holes in the top then toss it on the grill over one of the burners. The wood begins to smoke but doesn’t get enough air to catch fire and will create far more smoke than you’d believe. One wrapped package will smoke for a couple of hours.

    • Michael OBrien says:

      I use a roasting pan

  4. dallas mcmillan says:

    Great way to cook bird. My grill is 4 burner with flavor bars, so I cook in the middle at 350-375 degrees, directly on the grate. put the drip pan under the grate on top of the flavor bars over unlit burners. only burners 1 and 4 are used, so you don’t have to rotate the bird. i season with butter and a home-made bbq rubinvolving sea salt, garlic and onion powder, a dash of paprika and either cajun seasoning or memphis bbq seasoning depending on my mood! add some hickory chip smoke and voila! Southern BBQ grilled turkey!

  5. Mark Stone says:

    followed these directions las time and the Turkey turned out better than any I had ever cooked, on the grill or off. Frankly, I think keeping your grill at 350 may be key to success….

  6. Matt says:

    Total perfection. I’ve done turkeys numerous times in the oven, with mixed results, and was nervous about making the switch to the grilling method. This is by far the most straight-forward, idiot-proof way of getting the perfect bird.

    Highly recommend brining for at least 12 hrs beforehand, then liberally putting olive oil and whatever rub one chooses. We took our bird out of the refrigerated brine about 45 mins before it went on the grill.

    We have a 3-vertical burner Weber Genesis, and only ran the far right-hand side burner. That alone kept the grill temp at 350, which was perfect. Also put a small aluminum tray filled with soaked hickory chips over the live burner, beginning at pre-heat, and added a cup of “fresh” soaked chips every 45 mins or so.

    The tip to use a roasting rack inside the aluminum drip pan is great advice — if the bird & grill sizes allow, highly recommend putting the bird/rack/pan combo on the grilling surface, to reduce exposure to direct flame. (We put the hickory chip pan directly on the “flavorizer” bars over the live burner, and removed the grilling rack above.

    16.3-lb bird cooked to absolute perfection based on the formula in the article, which worked out to be 65 mins, turn, 65 mins, flip, 32 mins, turn, and 32 mins to completion.

    Thanks again for helping grill a bird that some very exacting foodies deemed to be a wonderfully moist and delicious meal — easily the best we’ve ever done.

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Matt, hurry for your success and thank you for your informative comment. After reading this, I may just have to go back to the grill. Happy Holidays

    • Karen D., Michigan says:

      I learned about 5 yrs. ago from the Cooks Classic cookbook, to brine a turkey before it is cooked; oven, grill, or however; it always turns out tender and juicy.
      My brother, Steve, has roasted turkey on grill for years. So we always keep 1″ or so of water in bottom of pan so drippings don’t just burn. Keep grilling …Grilled turkey is our favorite way to cook it.

  7. Bonnie says:

    Our power has been out for the last 8 days due to an ice storm during this Christmas season, and still is out until who knows when! Yikes! Our Christmas turkey thawed and needed to be cooked. I looked on the trusty internet for information on grilling a turkey and found your site. Your directions were clear and easy to follow. So my husband and I decided to give it a try. We have a small gas grill so were a little concerned if it would work. I figured out the rotation schedule for our 16lb turkey and proceeded to follow your directions for each stage, adjusting the time to suit the low cooking temp. The grill didn’t hold the 350 degree temp, more like 250 degrees, probably due to the very cold weather and the wind. Also that little grill probably just doesn’t run as hot as a larger grill. I also added broth to the pan periodically during the roasting process. When the internal thermometer was at 165, I checked the other side in the breast and it wasn’t quite there yet, it was only at 152. I rotated the turkey again and kept roasting until the temp on that side was at 165 also. The whole roasting process took about 5 hours but the little grill did the job! And it was SO worth it! My husband and I agreed that this is the best tasting turkey I have ever made! In the past 43 years! We will definitely do this again even though we have power to run the oven. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Amy Levine says:

    Grilled my first turkey (21 lbs) last night for a group of 20+ people. Followed these steps precisely, and it was AMAZING! We have some finicky eaters amongst our friend’s kids, and even they said, “This is the best turkey I ever had!” Truly, the best compliment a chef can receive 😉 Thanks for publishing this.

  9. Jacquie says:

    How would you cook a half turkey? Same as for whole just adjust cooking times?

  10. Bill Grubb says:

    We cooked a 15 pounder on the grill this weekend. Cut it in half and put it in the turkey pan on the grill. I added a 15oz can of chicken broth. 2 burners on the opposite side struggled to stay at 350, but it cooked well at 300. At 2 hours, I took it out of the pan and put it on the heated side for about 10 minutes per side, then back in the pan. At 3 hours, a little melted butter over each one. Done in 3.5 hours. The skin was brown, the meat was moist and it had a very delicious flavor. I am going to do this again.

  11. Shannon says:

    Is stuffing the bird out of the question? I love the stuffing and it just doesn’t taste the same when cooked outside of the bird….

    • I’m not going to say stuffing is out of the question but you have to be very careful to make sure it is cooked completely and hits all the right temperatures. There is tons of information on the Internet with the pros and cons of stuffing any turkey whether you are cooking it in your oven or on the grill. I suggest reading as much as you can and then make a decision. Happy Thanksgiving Shannon.

  12. Shannon says:

    Also …. If I have three burners running the short way in the grill, would I turn off the middle one only or turn off the middle and one of the other side ones? Thanks for the help!!

    • If I’m picturing your grill correctly, I would turn off the middle and either the left or the right burner and have the bird on the other side. If you can’t get the grill to heat up to the correct temperature, you may have to use your middle burner but I don’t think that will be a problem.

      • Guy says:

        When looking at your phase 1 description of how to place the bird on the grill (on its side), you did not say as to whether the TOP or BOTTOM of the bird should face the side of the grill that has the burners lit. Also, when studying the flipping technique you have described in phase 2, it seems like the same part of the bird would still be pointed toward the lit side of the grill *as was pointed in phase 1). Is that indeed correct? And would you advise the top OR bottom of the bird be facing the lit side of the grill in both phase 1 and 2?

        • Hey Guy, I think what may be confusing to you is the photo which should have been a beauty shot at the end and I will try to retake this photo in the future. Better yet, I’ll take photos of each phase and post.

          Anyway, in phase 1, the turkey should be placed on it side with the legs pointing to the back of the grill. This means the turkey is literally on its side with the wing and thigh touching the grill. In phase 2, you flip the bird over so the other wing and thigh on now touching the grill and the legs are pointing to the front of the grill.

          In phase 3, you place the bird so the breast is facing up and the legs are facing the back of the grill. Finally in phase 4, you only rotate the bird so the legs are now facing the front of the grill and the breast is still facing up.

          Now that you ask, I’m wondering how much it would matter if instead of pointing the legs to the front and back of the grill, what would happen if you pointed them to the left and right sides of the grill. This may be the case if you have a small grill or an extremely large turkey. If anyone tries it that way, please be sure to let us know.

  13. Donna says:

    We raise our own turkeys and on Sunday we killed the smallest one and he dressed out @ 38#, yep, thirty eight lbs.! He is dry brinning in the fridge as I type. Problem is my oven nor any pan I own is large enough. That’s the reason I begun my search for a way to grill this bird on my Weber Genesis gas grill. It has 3 burners. The turkeys too big to think about being able to turn it front to back at all. Do you think it will dry out before it gets cooked through? Or should I just go ahead and plan on cutting it up before cooking?

  14. S Suppes says:

    Just wanted to say thanks. This is now the 3rd year in a row I have referenced your site before I cook “my” legendary grilled turkey. It makes my relatives love me and my neighbors jealous.

    Thanks for posting (and keeping this posted!).

  15. Michael says:


    Greetings from a bit down Parley’s! We had to move to a new home before the kitchen remodel was ready. As a result we have no range or oven and likely won’t any time soon. We have a frozen bird that thawed enough during the move that we don’t dare re-freeze it. We have a four burner grill. What would you think of firing the far left and far right burners to get the temperature to 350 and set the turkey over the middle two burners while leaving them off?



  16. Camille says:

    It was my intention to smoke a turkey yesterday however cold temps and rain prevented me from attempting that endeavor. I Googled “How long to bake a turkey in a gas grill” and your site came up. My choice was 4 hours in my gas oven or 2 1/2 on my grill. Fortunately I have a Redi Check thermometer. I was able to read in the house on the receiver the gas grill temp and the food temp. I placed the turkey on a rack on top of a roasting pan on the grill grates. Wood chips soaked in water for 1 hour were placed in a metal pan on one of the lit burners. I used a Weber grill with the two outer burners running and the one immediately under the turkey pan was off. I flipped the turkey as you recommended. My 12 pound bird was done in 2 1/2 hours. I brought it in and covered it with foil and placed dish towels on top for about 20 minutes to let it rest. The turkey was so moist and the flavor was amazing. My family requested I prepare it this way again. All I can say is thank you. Camille

    • Hi Camille, thank you so much for letting me know about your success. It’s always great to hear when a dish turns out like you want it to especially when trying something new and different. It’s even better when the family appreciates your efforts and request more. Best to you and your family.

  17. Bob says:

    I cooked a 13 pound turkey on my gas grill and it was the best we ever tasted. I Rubbed it with garlic butter after cooking it on both sides and I also put a cedar board I soaked in water on foil on the side of my grill that was turned on for the last hour and 15 minutes. It took about 3 hours rotating the bird every 50 minutes and 24 minutes to finish.No mess in the house either.

  18. Barb says:

    Hi, I am thinking of grilling a 12 lb turkey for Father’s Day but have an old Weber Genesis grill with burners running horizontal front to back. How would I manage to grill on indirect heat? Seems like part of the turkey would be over heat all the time? Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Barb, that’s exactly why I just asked and received a new Weber Genesis grill with 3 burners that run vertically from front to back for my birthday so I can turn two of them off and use one to keep the grill at a constant temperature while I roast the turkey. Basically, you are using your grill like an oven when you cook indirectly with the cover on. I’m not sure it’s possible to cook a big turkey on your grill without part of the bird being constantly exposed to direct heat. Chickens, a duck, quail yes, but turkey no although I can see you cooking a turkey breast or stuffed leg.

  19. Roseann Rice says:

    I will be grilling our turkey this thanksgiving as we can no longer afford the propane for our stove. We cook on the grill, and electric burners. Our grill doesn’t have the numbers to tell what temp to set, just lines! It does however have two sides that light. Do I just light one side and just guess at the temp setting and set the turkey in the pan on the unlit side?

    • Hi Roseann, yes, you roast the turkey on the grill using indirect heat so the oven essentially becomes your oven. I would suggest you purchase an inexpensive oven thermometer so you can monitor the heat under the cover. Remember, every time you open the grill cover, you are losing the heat. Good luck this Thanksgiving and please let me know how it works out for you.

  20. Paul says:

    Our gas line is down because of a leak and we were supposed to host a friendsgiving dinner. I came across your page after searching for advice on how to cook a turkey on the grill and all your tips are great! Our turkey was the best ive ever had and our guests loved it. It looked nice and brown, the flesh was moist and it had a delicious smokey flavour. It took slighky less time to cook than indicated (2.5 rotations, skipped the last bit) and i struggled a bit to keep the temp at 350 on my Genesis 3 burner, had to have the middle burner on halfway so the turkey had some direct heat but it did not seem to matter in the end. I threw an aluminum foil with a soaked cedar plank over the active burner and it added a ton of flavour. Also loved the rubbing under the skin. That’s it for me, thanks again for your great advice!

  21. MajorMike says:

    Hope someone sees this today. Was going to cook a 19# on the charcoal grill, but takes too long . I have a Charm-Glow 3 burner (vertical) propane grill. What temp should I maintain for how long. I read the turn info and calulated that.
    Also should I just turn on the left and right burner and leave the middle off and set the turkey on there. Only thing I am concerned about is this grill seems to get very hot. Thanks

  22. Drew says:

    This is my 3rd run at this and every single time I have felt like an all-star chef when it’s all done! I do have some cooking experience in my past and have always loved to BBQ, but the idea of being responsible for the Thanksgiving turkey seemed a little daunting when I considered trying this 2 years ago. My 1st time following these instructions was T-Day 2013 and now here we are 3 turkeys later and I really don’t want to eat it any other way!
    I am thankful to have a nice gas Ducane BBQ with a 3′ grill and 3 burners. I will say that being able to turn on the outside 2 burners and leaving the center one off is the way to go. I use a roasting rack to set the turkey on and then put it on the grill, after having followed the instructions above.
    I also use a glaze similar to the one suggested.
    Thank you all so much for this. My neighborhood friendsgiving is set!!

    • Thanks for coming back and letting me know about your experiences with grilling your turkey. We cooked two turkeys this year, one in the oven and a smaller one on the grill. I didn’t trust my instant thermometer or gut for that matter and tried using the times I suggested in the recipe and thought it was a little overcooked. You really need to trust your cooking judgement and your instant thermometer. So glad to hear yours was perfect. Thanks for sharing Drew.

  23. Ed Lopez says:

    Best recipe for grilling out the turkey!! I’ve followed on 4 occasions it to the letter as written, and every bird was perfect, thank you for the great post…btw, Merry Christmas.

  24. Steven P says:

    After 4 years in a row, I finally make a comment: Tonight was my most successful turkey venture yet. Using your grilling technique combined with a YouTube video from the culinary institute of America on carving, I knocked it out of the park.

    Tips: just follow the instructions and and start measuring the temperature as soon as you flip it on its back, it will be amazing.

    Thank you!!

  25. clive wickett says:

    This may sound a bit silly , but as a single Grandpa, raising my 14 year old grand daughter Catherine, I have made it our tradition to always have our holiday “bird”. I have a 3 burner Coleman B-Q with a heavy duty rotisserie, is there a way of using it to cook a small turkey , about a 7 to 8 pounder ?!!? I am also wondering , what you mean by “brining” and is this brining necessary ?!!?

    • Clive, not silly at all but I think you may have trouble with your rotisserie and a turkey because of the size. As long as you can get the rotisserie high enough so the turkey doesn’t hit the grill, you should be alright. I find when I do a rotisserie chicken, if the bird is too big I have a problem. Otherwise, I’m sure it would be delicious. As for brining, is it necessary? Not necessary but it does help keep the bird moist and adds a lot of flavor. See my post at

  26. First Timer says:

    Need to grill my turkey this Thanksgiving as we are in the middle of a kitchen reno and will have no oven. My question, what does everyone do about gravy?

  27. Rob says:

    Hello there. We will be grilling a Turkey for the first time this year, we are so excited and thanks for sharing this great article. I have a very basic question about indirect heat, and hoping you can help out. We have a 4 burner grill and I am unsure how to properly do indirect heat on a 4 burner. I have read in some places that I should turn on two adjacent burners on one side of the grill, leave the other two off and place the turkey over the two that are off. I have also read in other places that I should turn on the two outer most burners, leaving the middle two off and place the turkey over the middle two. Not sure which is the most appropriate method, hoping you can chime in. Thanks.

    • Great problem to have Rob. It means you have a huge grill. Yeah!!! I have always put the turkey on one side and used one burner on the other side to heat up the grill with cover down. That’s because I didn’t have a big enough grill to put it in the middle of two grills. I don’t think it matters as long as the heat is not directly under the turkey pan (direct heat) but I like the idea of having the lower heat source coming from both sides of the grill for more even heat distribution and cooking. I have never done it that way, so I can’t tell you for sure but that’s the way I would go and see how you do. Just make sure there is enough room so you are indirect heating only. And please take a photo of your set up and send it to me with you results so I can post them on this page for others to see. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.

  28. Shan Foisy says:

    Thanks for the in-depth tips! I’ve got a 20 lb bird this year (everyone got married and the family doubled!) I realize I am going to can through a lot of propane for that large of turkey. My biggest concern is whether attempting to grill a bird that large is a good idea. Our grill is pretty large and uses Infrared heat. Do you have any suggestions based on your experience? This is my first time trying the method.


    • Hi Shan, I do not have infrared heat so maybe someone with experience using them can advise you but I don’t think you are going to go through as much propane as you think. Once you get the temperature where you want it and don’t keep lifting the lid to take a peak, you may have the burner(s) on low to medium. Saying that, you might want to start with a full tank and if you did run out and I don’t think you will, you can always move it back into the oven in the house. Please take some photos and send them to me so I can share them with my visitors.

      • Shan Foisy says:

        Thank you! I will for sure share photos. My biggest concern was cooking time, but based on your calculations, it doesn’t seem that it is much different from standard oven roasting. I came out with 4 hours total with two 80 min phases and two 40 min phases. We are refilling the tank tonight and hoping for the best tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for your input and contributions!

  29. Don S. says:

    This technique is fantastic! I have used it to cook our Thanksgiving turkey since 2012, and every year the turkey is moist and delicious! As the recipe talks about, grilling the turkey frees up the oven for our other dishes. This allows us to get everything done at the same time. There is no need to keep things warm, while other dishes finish cooking.

    The equation to determine total cooking time and cooking time of each rotation was great advice. We cook a 20+ lb. turkey. The first year I followed the suggested time — in my case it was 80 minutes per rotation. The turkey was good, but it seemed like each side was a little over done. Since then, I decided to cut the rotation time in half and do eight rotations. For whatever reason, doing it this way works slightly better for me with the larger turkey. This is just a suggestion if you a cooking a larger turkey.

    Thanks Reluctant Gourmet for giving our family an excellent Thanksgiving tradition!

  30. len says:

    I tried grilling a turkey on a charcoal grill last year and needless to say, it did not tun out well—-Burned, Burned, Burned; and my cat and dog ate well LOL—This year I will be using my gas grill following these instructions and am wishing for the best this time around

  31. Heidi H says:

    This will be my first attempt at grill/roasting a turkey. I have a 4 burner infrared grill. If I use the two outside burners and leave the inner ones off, do I need to rotate the turkey? I plan to use a roasting pan.

    • Hi Heidi, I have never grilled with an infrared grill so I’m not sure I can answer your questions and hope one of our infrared grill experts jump in with an answer. Saying that, you are basically using your grill as an oven so as long as the grill gets hot with the cover closed and you can manage that heat, you should be able to roast your turkey in it. I would still use the two left or the two right burners for my heat source and place the turkey on the non heated sided. And yes, you still need to rotate the bird. If you are suggesting by placing the bird in between the two outside burners, you are getting heat sources from two sides so why rotate? Interesting idea and one that should be tested but not sure at this time. Thanks for that suggestion.

  32. Mike Roberson says:

    I grilled my first turkey today after carefully reading through the instuctions and notes above. Turkey was 16lbs and I used a 4 burner grill. Used outside burners only. I had no issues with maintaining 350 and I only lifted the lid to turn the bird. Seasoned and rubbed with butter, pepper seasoned salt, black pepper, and Grill Mates herb seasoning. 64 minutes at each stage. Turkey turned out perfect. Thanks for all the help.

  33. Dr.Adams says:

    Have been following your grill rotation advice for years.I don’t
    even use my meat thermometer anymore.Turns out perfect
    every time.Just keep an eye on grill temp!

  34. Dick & Jan Renard says:

    Hi Stephen!

    This is the 3rd year we’ve used your recipe and every year it gets better and better! We use a 4 burner propane BBQ and it’s perfect every time! It doesn’t matter whether it’s 80 degrees (Last year) or 50 degrees and raining (This year), our turkey just falls apart. We have cooked birds from 15 to 21 pounds and if you just follow the math and the temperature, it is truly amazing. Thanks so much, I’ll never cook a Thanksgiving turkey in the house again!

  35. Ellie Davis says:

    Thank you for pointing out that when you are cooking a turkey on a gas grill you want to make sure and have something to catch the drippings. My husband wants a gas grill and I want to make sure and find him the right one. I’ll have to do some research and find the best grill for him.

  36. Gene says:

    Many Thanx!!!! Best (7most sensible) directions I could find on line, by far…..Will try to remember to let you know how this works out!!

  37. rich says:

    instead of multiplying by 12 and dividing by 3, why not just multiply by 4 instead?

  38. Matt says:

    Been returning to this site every Thanksgiving for 5 years now. Invaluable resource for those of us who grill a turkey once a year but LOVE how it turns out. Thanks!

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