Turkey on the Grill

I was aiming for dinner at 3:00. Timing of the meal is always a bit tricky when cooking turkey on the grill, but this timing worked pretty well 2 years in a row.

I started a chimney of charcoal at 12:15. While the charcoal was heating, I prepared the turkey, as I’ve already described. A few minutes before 12:45, the charcoal was ready. Using indirect heat, I put half the charcoal on each side of the grill and added about 8 briquettes on each side. I placed a drip pan in the middle and put about a third of a bottle of cheap apple cider in the pan. I put 3-4 soaked Hickory chunks on top of the burning charcoal.

Prepared Grill

Prepared Grill

I placed the turkey breast-side down on an oiled roast rack. Cooks Illustrated argues that turkey ends up moister when grilled breast-side down for the first hour. I’ve never challenged this assertion, and I’ve always been happy with the results. (See “Foolproof Turkey on the Grill”, from Cooks Illustrated in the November/December, 1999 issue. It’s worth the effort to track down the article and study it.) I closed the lid at 12:45.

Bird on the Grill

Bird on the Grill

On the Grill at 1 hour

On the Grill at 1 hour

At 1:45, I opened the grill. This is what I saw. I added about 8 to 10 charcoal briquettes to the fire on each side of the grill, and added a couple more soaked wood chunks.
I then carefully, carefully flipped the turkey over, so it was breast side up. I closed the lid.
Grill-Flip-the-Bird-300x199
Grill-Done-300x199
At 2:30, I opened the lid just long enough to put the probe of an electronic meat thermometer into the turkey. The initial meat temperature was 160°.

At 2:45, the temperature was 163°. A few minutes later, the temperature was 165°, and I pulled the turkey off the grill. I let it rest under foil until the rest of the meal was ready.
Grill-on-Table

Okay, it’s not as pretty as the turkey from the smoker. But the meat is moist and flavorful and tasty beyond belief.