The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Turkey on a Weber Grill

Are you tired of the same old oven-roasted turkey every Thanksgiving? Why not switch things up this year and cook your turkey on a Weber grill? Grilling your turkey not only adds a delicious smoky flavor, but it also frees up your oven for all the delicious side dishes. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to cook a juicy, flavorful turkey on your Weber grill.

Preparing the Turkey

1. Choose the Right Turkey

The first step to a successful grilled turkey is choosing the right bird. When selecting your turkey, consider the size you’ll need based on the number of guests you’re serving. A general rule of thumb is to plan for about 1 pound of turkey per person. If you’re feeding a crowd or want leftovers, go for a larger turkey.

2. Brine or Dry Brine

Brining your turkey is a crucial step that adds moisture and flavor to the meat. You can either use a wet brine, which involves submerging the turkey in a saltwater solution, or a dry brine, where you rub the turkey with a salt mixture and let it sit uncovered in the fridge for a day or two.

3. Seasoning and Flavoring

Once your turkey is brined, it’s time to add some flavor. You can keep it simple with just salt, pepper, and butter, or get creative with your favorite herbs and spices. Some popular options include sage, rosemary, thyme, and garlic.

4. Trussing (Optional)

Trussing your turkey is not mandatory, but it can help the bird cook more evenly and maintain its shape during the grilling process. To truss, simply tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body.

Preparing the Grill

1. Choose the Right Grill

For grilling a whole turkey, you’ll need a grill large enough to accommodate the bird comfortably. Weber’s kettle grills, such as the Master-Touch and Ranch models, are excellent choices for this task.

2. Set Up for Indirect Heat

Setting up your grill for indirect heat is crucial when cooking a whole turkey. This means creating two zones: one with lit charcoal or heat source, and another without direct heat where the turkey will cook via convection.

For charcoal grills:

  • Light a chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes.
  • Once the briquettes are ashed over, create two piles on opposite sides of the charcoal grate, leaving a wide area in the center for the turkey.
  • Place a disposable foil pan in the center to catch drippings.

For gas grills:

  • Preheat the grill with all burners on high.
  • Once preheated, turn off one or more burners to create an indirect heat zone.
  • Place a disposable foil pan over the unlit burner(s) to catch drippings.

3. Add Smoke Flavor (Optional)

If you want to add a delicious smoky flavor to your turkey, consider adding wood chips, chunks, or pellets to the charcoal or smoker box of your gas grill. Popular wood choices for turkey include cherry, hickory, and apple.

Cooking the Turkey

1. Maintain Grill Temperature

The ideal temperature range for cooking a whole turkey on the grill is between 325°F and 350°F. Use the vents on your charcoal grill or the burner controls on your gas grill to maintain this temperature throughout the cooking process.

2. Cook Time and Temperature

The cook time for your turkey will depend on its size and the grill temperature. As a general guideline, plan for about 13-15 minutes per pound when cooking at 350°F. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching the bone) registers 165°F.

3. Baste and Rotate

For even browning and moisture retention, baste your turkey every 30-60 minutes with the drippings from the foil pan. You may also need to rotate the turkey occasionally to ensure even cooking.

4. Let It Rest

Once your turkey reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful turkey.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Use a grill-safe thermometer: Invest in a high-quality, grill-safe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of your turkey easily.
  • Replenish the fuel: For charcoal grills, plan to add fresh briquettes every hour to maintain the desired temperature.
  • Tent with foil: If the turkey is browning too quickly, tent it with foil to prevent over-browning.
  • Don’t overcrowd: Make sure your turkey has enough room on the grill to allow for proper air circulation.
  • Gravy from drippings: Don’t forget to use the flavorful drippings from the foil pan to make a delicious gravy!

By following these steps, you’ll be able to serve a delicious, smoky, and perfectly cooked turkey that will be the star of your holiday feast. Happy grilling!

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