Your Thanksgiving Checklist

It’s just a few weeks until Thanksgiving and to me it’s a belt-busting bonanza of food that begins and ends with a grilled turkey. If you’re planning to join in the turkey festivities, here are few things to ponder:

Are you READY?
The turkey should be properly thawed, seasoned in and out or brined, and ready to be cooked.

  • TIP 1: Be sure the turkey fits your grill. The lid must be completely down to allow for indirect cooking, not resting on top of the turkey.

Do you plan to put your turkey in a roast holder inside a drip pan on the cooking grate? Or will you place the turkey directly on the cooking grate with a drip pan under the grate to catch the drips? This decision needs to be made before the grill is heated up.

Are you SET?
A gas grill should be preheated for about 15 minutes with all burners on high. Then turn off the center burner and set the outside burners on low, or if you have a two-burner grill, turn off the right-hand burner. Wait until the temperature reaches 325°F to 350°F.

  • TIP 2: Get the propane tank filled just prior to Thanksgiving so you know you will have enough to finish the meal.

A charcoal grill should have ashed-over charcoal separated into two piles with a drip pan in the center to provide a 325°F to 350°F inside temperature. To maintain the temperature -- add charcoal each hour, or remove charcoal if it gets too hot.

  • TIP 3: Buy a fresh 20 lb bag of charcoal so you know you’ll have enough
  • TIP 4: Use long-handled tongs and a barbecue mitt to put in or take out charcoal

Then GO!
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Center the turkey on the grill, close the lid, and set your timer. If you’re using a gas grill, keep the lid closed until you think it is done. Remember -- Lookin’ ain’t cookin’.

  • TIP 5: Clues to doneness – The drumsticks should move easily, the breast internal temperature should be 165°F, or check the thighs for 170° to 175°F temperature

Grill according to recipe directions, depending on weight. For instance, a 15-lb turkey will take 2-3/4 hours to 3-3/4 hours, just like in the oven.

  • TIP 6: At the end of the day, take a few moments to be thankful.

From all of us at Weber, Happy Thanksgiving Day. 

What are your thoughts? (11)

11.25.14

MARY Z

Question on turkey recipe "Buttermilk-Marinated Turkey Breast" posted on WEBER site. Special equipment calls for a large disposable foil pan. I own a Genesis S-330 gas grill. How do I modify given flavorizer bars are less than 2 inches from the grates?

Thanks. Mary

11.25.14

Kevin Kolman

Hi Mary,

Weber makes disposable pans that, with a little help, will fit under the grates on the Flavorizer bars. Before the grill is on and while it is cool, place the pan down, then return the grates to their position. The pan may get pushed down a little, but not enough to prevent it from doing its job. If you have any questions the day of Thanksgiving, you can find me on Facebook at Kevin’s Backyard.

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.22.12

Stewart G

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you read this before I start on the Turkey! In your recipes you have two different arrangements of the charcoal - semi circle and coals on each side. How do I decide? Should all vents be open? I frequently find that lower vent is very effective at controlling temperature but FAQ on your site says both wide open. First turkey needs to be perfect!

11.22.12

Kevin Kolman

Hello Capt.Stewart,


Great question on the set up of a charcoal grill for indirect grilling. The best way to set up your grill is with a semi circle of coals on each side of your kettle. The bottom vent should be open about 1/4 of the way, with the top being adjusted to lock in the 350 degree temperature for roasting. I like keeping the bottom vent stationary and using the lid damper to adjust temperatures when grilling. Hopefully your turkey came out great. What are you grilling for the rest of the holidays?


Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.20.12

Todd G

Kevin,


Sorry for all the questions. I want my first Thanksgiving grilled turkey to be a success. Can I leave the pop-up thermometer in while using the rotisserie?

11.20.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi Todd,


Do yourself a favor, if you want a moist and flavorful turkey, pay no attention to the pop-up timer. Calculate out how long the turkey is supposed to be on the grill (11-13 minutes per pound), and begin checking the internal temperature of the turkey starting about 1 hour from when it is supposed to be done. This will ensure you are taking it off at the proper 165 degree temperature. I never follow the pop-up temperatures, I only use a meat thermometer. If you want to be successful grilling your first turkey, using a meat thermometer will help with that. Keep the questions coming and do me one favor, let me know how the turkey comes out! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.20.12

Adam S

Kevin - does the 11 to 13 min per lb apply to charcoal indirect grilling as well?

11.20.12

Kevin Kolman

Hello Amshane,

Yes, the 11-13 minute per pound time applies to indirect grilling on both charcoal and gas. This time frame is when the grill is between 350 and 375 degrees. Hope this helps. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.20.12

Todd G

Kevin,


Thank you for your timely response. Another question, how long should I smoke the rotisseried turkey with my summit 670? Do I smoke the whole time?


Todd

11.20.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi Todd,
You are very welcome. Now, your question really depends on what type of wood you are going to use. If you are using hickory or mesquite, I would not smoke the whole time. These types of woods are very pungent and can leave a bitter taste on your bird. You want to use the smoke as a flavor, not "the" flavor. If you are using a light fruit wood, you can use this throughout the process. I would start off with soaked chips and then add every 30-45 minutes for the first two hours. After that, let your turkey cook. If this is your first time smoking a turkey you might notice the skin a little darker than you are used too. This is from the woods you are using for smoking. Hope this helps and keep the questions coming. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.19.12

Mark L

Hi, I've been cooking our turkeys on my charcoal preformer grill for many years and love it. Two questions:


1. I've been thinking about buying a rotissiere but read that the kit available does not fit the performer grill series. Is that still true?


2. In your checklist you mention placing the bird either in a pan on top of the grate, or directly on the grate with a pan below. How is the charcoal set up different?


Thanks


Mark

11.19.12

Kevin Kolman

Hello Mark,
The rotisserie will accommodate the Performer. You just need to make sure the box says "Performer" on its. The charcoal is set up the same, meaning 25 briquettes on each side of the kettle with an indirect area directly in the middle. Now, you have two options regarding placement of the turkey. Either place a drip pan on the charcoal grate in the middle of the kettle, or use a roast holder and place that inside the pan. Hope this helps. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.18.12

Todd G

Kevin,


I also have a Summit E-670. I want to grill our 18 pound turkey on the rotisserie. Do have a good recipes, timetables, and suggestions?


Thank you,


Todd

11.18.12

Kevin Kolman

Hello Todd,

I have all that you are looking for. Take a look at this recipe: (http://www.weber.com/grillout/recipes/poultry/brined-and-barbecued-turkey-with-pan-gravy). It will provide you with great flavor and a moist and delicious bird.

When using the rotisserie, take a look at this video for proper use instructions: (http://www.weber.com/blog/single/rotisserie-grilling-gas-and-charcoal). Just make sure that you only use the IR burner for 20-30 minutes for browning of the turkey. It then needs to be shut off and finished using indirect heat. Cooking times for a turkey at 350-375 degrees should be 11-13 minutes per pounds. Just make sure you take it off at 165 degrees on the thigh or breast. When checking for doneness, make sure you do not hit the bone. Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Happy Grilling!
- Kevin

11.17.12

LARRY D

Kevin, do you have a favorite rotisserie recipe?

11.17.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi Idickinson,

I don’t really have a favorite. However, keep in mind that any of your favorite recipes that use the indirect method are perfect for utilizing the rotisserie. The cooking times are the same, so pick your favorite recipe and use the rotisserie. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.16.12

A R

I have a Spirit E-210 and would like to grill my turkey for Thanksgiving. I have always grilled on a Weber charcoal grill with great success, but I am concerned that the E210 is too small. If I have to turn off one burner to place the turkey over for indirect heat, isn't the area too small? The E-210 has a top and bottom burner, not right and left. Am I over-thinking this? Or, is there a simple solution besides buying a bigger grill?

11.16.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi Retreat173,

Definitely don’t over think it. The Spirit E-210 has enough space between the front and back burner for a 16-18 pound turkey. I would recommend using a roast holder and placing it inside a foil pan. Keep in mind this should be done on the cooking grates and under a medium heat, which is about 350 degrees. No need for a larger grill, although there is never a bad time for a new Weber! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin

11.15.12

Gina S

I'm interested in grilling a 3 lb boneless turkey breast on a Sprit E-320 grill... I've never grilled a turkey before.. Would love your thoughts for a first timer and on using the grill properly.

11.15.12

Kevin Kolman

Hi Ginwoo,

I think the idea is perfect and once you do it the first time, you will never do a turkey in the oven again. In order to use the grill properly make sure you preheat for 10-15 minutes. Then set your grill to indirect heat (medium/off/medium). On average, the turkey breast should take 11-13 minutes per pound. Also, place a drip pan directly under the turkey breast to collect the drippings. This will also help to keep your grill clean. The whole process is pretty easy. Just make sure you keep the grill at a temperature of 350-375 degrees. Good luck and let me know how it comes out. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Grilling!
-Kevin