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
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.