How To Roast or Smoke Your Turkey When It's Cold

How To Roast or Smoke Your Turkey When It's Cold

Being in the Midwest, we understand what its like to cook a turkey in the elements. We have tips below on how to adjust your gas and charcaol grill for roasting your turkey and on how to smoke your turkey on your kettle or smoker. 

Roasting Your Turkey on a Cold Day
Here are a few tips to make things easier if you are barbecuing your turkey at a temperature range of 275-300 or 350 to 375.

Charcoal:
Follow our charcoal turkey step-by-step instructions here but use the tips below to adjust for cold weather grilling.

  • Make sure you have enough charcoal! If outside temperatures are below 40 degrees you will use ¾ of a chimney of lit charcoal.  If it is 40 degrees or higher ½ a chimney of lit charcoal. Have a chimney full of unlit charcoal on hand so that you can add 9 briquettes every hour on the hour.
  • You will want to start the process of preheating and cooking your food a little earlier if it is colder than usual outside. Just be sure you have enough fuel to get you through the entire cooking process.
  • Keep the vents at the bottom stationary at a quarter of the way open and the lid vent open halfway. Control the temperature throughout the process by turning the vent on the lid to being more open to get the temperature higher or closing it a little to cool it down. 
  • Check the temperature of the turkey halfway through the cook, three quarters of the way and then when you think it is done to make sure that you are on the right track. 
  • Follow our min per pound guide and add about 3 minutes per pound when it is cold.
  • If it is windy, you can turn the front leg of the kettle into the wind.

Gas:
Follow our gas turkey step-by-step instructions here but use the tips below to adjust for cold weather grilling.

  • Make sure you have enough fuel! You will want to start the process of preheating and cooking your food a little earlier if it is colder than usual outside.  Just be sure you have enough fuel to get you through the entire cooking process.
  • Follow our min per pound guide and add about 3 minutes per pound when it is cold.
  • Check the temperature of the turkey halfway through the cook, three quarters of the way and then when you think it is done to make sure that you are on the right track. 
  • Roasting on a gas grill is a little easier then a charcoal grill because the unit should stay at the perfect temperature throughout your cook.  This makes it easy and it's perfect for beginners who are trying to grill their first Thanksgiving Turkey.

Smoking Your Turkey in the Cold
Here are a few tips to make things easier if you are barbecuing your turkey at a temperature range of 225 to 300. 

Follow our charcoal turkey step-by-step instructions here and our smoker step-by-step instructions here but use the tips below to adjust for cold weather grilling.

  • First, make sure you have enough fuel, both dry and live. Usually about ¾ a chimney of lit charcoal and a chimney full of unlit charcoal is perfect to smoke a turkey. For a kettle, use about 30 briquettes of lit and add 9 every hour on the hour to maintain temperatures.
  • You will want to start the process of preheating and cooking your food a little earlier if it is colder than usual outside. Just be sure you have enough fuel to get you through the entire cooking process.
  • Keep the vents at the bottom stationary at a quarter to halfway open and the lid vent open halfway. Control the temperature throughout the process by adjusting the lid vent to being more open to get raise the temperature or closing it a little to cool it down. 
  • Check the temperature of the turkey halfway through the cook, three quarters of the way and then when you think it is done to make sure that you are on the right track. 
  • If you are using a kettle you will want to add 9 briquettes every hour on the hour. You won’t need to add charcoal to the smoker if you followed our tips here.

Before you carve into that beautiful bird, share your #BestTurkeyEver pictures with us! 

​Looking for more turkey inspiration?  Be sure to check out more tips here

 

What are your thoughts? (2)

12.26.16

Paul L

Cooked the Xmas turkey yesterday. First time effort turned out superb. The thermometer is essential to know it is done. I wrapped the Weber to assist heat retention & that worked great.

12.26.16

Kevin Kolman

Paul,
Congrats on a job well done!! Glad to hear you knocked this one out of the park. Keep up all the grate work and when you need help in the future you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s backyard and always Happy Grilling!!

11.23.16

Sean M

Hi Kevin, I'm looking forward to smoking my turkey this year. You've said check the temp half way and 3/4's of the way. What temperature should I be aiming for at the half way point? And the 3/4?

11.23.16

Kevin Kolman

Sean,
Good questions and Happy Thanksgiving!! I check half way through to give me an estimation for when it will be done. I look for about 120-125 half way through and about 150 ish at the 3/4 mark. Part of the reason why I check is because if its close to being done I can remove and not overcook it. That is unless I am using an Igrill which then I don’t need to check it because I can see the temperature throughout the cook. Hope this helps and if you have any more questions you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin Kolman’s backyard and always Grill On!!

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